In the past one month or so, there was only one question doing rounds on every Englishman’s lip: How to dismiss Steve Smith!
Smith just went through a disastrous year after being caught in the Ball-tampering scandal and rightly dropped from the team. His batting average had also dropped in that series against South Africa. Everybody knew that making a comeback from that situation is very difficult and maybe the golden phase of the Australian middle-order batsman is over.
Honestly speaking, as an Indian I was happy in a way now that Virat Kohli had no one else to compete with.
But nobody knew that the Golden phase was yet to come.
During the 1st Ashes Test, he stepped into the Birmingham cricket ground amidst a lot of “Boos” from the “sporting” English crowd. It was harsh to see that happening as the guy had suffered a lot for the crime he committed and now it was time to move on.
However, Smith had other intentions. From one end the wickets were tumbling, but he maintained his ground well. Not only did he score a century, but he also took the attacked the English bowlers when the time came.
He went into the 2nd innings with the same momentum, scoring another century and handing Australia a comfortable victory.
England was now in a spot of bother as they were not able to find a way to break into Steve Smith’s defense. In the 2nd test, they found one unorthodox way to send him back to pavilion, thanks to paceman Jofra Archer, whose bouncer struck Smith in an unprotected area of his neck. Still, the batsman came back to bat, after suffering from the deadly bouncer and missed his well-deserved century, just by 8 runs.
Australia had to play the 3rd test without their in-form batsman and this cost them dearly as the hosts won the match by just 1 wicket.
The 4th test again saw the return of Smith and the world waited for the Archer vs Smith contest. But someone rightly said that “Form is temporary, Class is permanent”. Archer had lost the pace considerably and never proved any threat to any of the Aussie batsmen. On the other hand, Smith continued his golden phase, scoring a double century in the 1st innings and 82 in the 2nd innings, handing Australia their 2nd victory in the series and thus helping them to retain the Ashes in England for the 1st time since 2001.
So even after 1 month, England is yet to dismiss Steve Smith early in his innings. It is clear that the hosts are yet to solve the Enigma of Steve Smith’s batting and it can be said that The Ghost of Sir Donald Bradman has arrived in England.