Playing in his first Test series after returning to international cricket from a year-long ban in March this year, Steve Smith has shown that the hiatus hasn’t left any sign of rust. The 30-year-old picked his third century in as many Tests in the ongoing Ashes series in England and missed the fourth by just eight runs.
On Thursday, Smith slammed 211 in the first innings of the fourth Test at Old Trafford after missing the third match at Leeds because of an injury caused during the second match at Lord’s. With his magical form, the former Australia captain also went on to topple India captain Virat Kohli from the No.1 position in Test batting.
Smith’s form has been so sensational that even the English media could not resist from singing paeans to him. He was uncomfortable a few times against speedster Jofra Archer whose bouncer had floored him in the second Test but yet nothing could move Smith who played 319 deliveries for his 211.
Can’t bowl Smith at his legs, warns Ponting
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was also impressed with Smith who has already collected 589 runs at a staggering average of 148 plus. He is the world’s leading scorer in Tests this calendar year despite playing just his first series. Ponting, who is working with the Baggy Greens, said that the concentration of Smith is too tough to crack and warned the bowlers against bowling at his legs. He also came up with a piece of advice for the beleaguered bowlers, saying bowling outside the off stump would be the best plan against him.
“You hear all sorts of words, ‘genius’ is one that comes to mind. A remarkable inning again. It’s his application to what he does. Steve Smith just doesn’t make any mistakes. His concentration levels are obviously unbelievably good,” the 44-year-old former champion batsman was quoted as saying to Cricket.com.au.
“He’s only been out nine times lbw in his last 99 innings, so you know if you’re bowling straight you’re not going to get him out,” he said. The one thing you have to do is try and challenge the outside of his bat. He doesn’t miss it on the inside.”
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