Nine years ago, had someone told us that a genuine leg-spinner could go on to smash several batting records, we would dismiss that person off with utter disdain. Fast forward to 2019, and here we have a man who loves defying the logic of cricketing by achieving the unthinkable day-in and day-out. Steve Smith, the latest in line from a long illustrious list of Aussie batting legends, has become a reliable run-machine as he continues to re-create the ‘Bradmanesque’ statistics for this era.
In just 67 tests, the right-hander has already scored 6870 runs at a staggering career average of 64.81. A key member of Australia’s victorious ‘ICC World Cup 2015’ campaign have smashed 26 centuries in the process and his hunger for runs seems anything but over. His consistency with the bat was first evidenced during 2014-15 season when he batted the touring Indian team out of the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Since then, the batsman has been the mainstay of Australian middle-order.
Smith’s career reached rock-bottom when three Australian players (including him) were found guilty of orchestrating a ball-tampering during his side’s lacklustre tour of South Africa in 2018. A one-year ban on the batsman briefly halted his career which also saw one of the worst phases in Australian Test history.
As the Aussie stalwart made his return for the 2019 Ashes tour, the batsman not only had to endure the English seeming conditions but also had to face the brunt of the Barmy army. The batsman bravely went on to score a match-winning 144 in the 1st Test itself. In doing so, he silenced his critics in the best way possible. As we head into the 2nd Day of the final Test, Steve Smith has already scored an astounding 671 runs across 5 innings at a Bradman-like average of 134.2.
The middle-order batsman now has the chance of breaking an 89-year old record of ‘most runs by a player in a single series’. Bradman’s aggregate of 974 runs during the 1930 Ashes remained unscathed till date. Smith however, has the guts and determination to break this unique record and retain the Ashes for his side.
As England struggled to survive on Day 1, visitors would be hoping for yet another Smith juggernaut to finish off the series with a 3-1 score line. The series win would also mark Australia’s first Ashes success on English soil since 2001.