Just when the talks started to circle around that the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Decade, Steve Smith, is having troubles scoring runs against India, the Sydney-born cricketer bounced back in fashion and how scoring a majestic 131 comprising 16 fours in the ongoing third Test at SCG.
Smith, who was averaging merely 3.33 in 3 innings with 10 runs under his belt, is now back in the batting charts in the concurrent edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, compiling 141 runs in 5 innings while averaging 35.25, and among the potential contenders to be the highest run-getter by the end of the fourth Test.
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The 31-year-old right-hander’s 27th Test ton puts him right alongside former Australian great Allan Border in terms of most hundreds for Australia in the longest format, and sixth in the list behind Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden, Sir Don Bradman and Michael Clarke.
The currently ranked No. 2 Test batsman in the world took merely 25 innings to score 8 Test hundreds against India, which is the joint-most tally alongside Sir Garfield Sobers (30 innings), Sir Viv Richards (41 innings) and Ricky Ponting (51 innings). Moreover, it was Smith’s first Test hundred in 22 innings outside an Ashes Test, since the ton at Dharamsala against India in March 2017, wherein he scored 111.
The last time he clocked a century in the purest format was during Ashes 2019, 211 in the third Test at Old Trafford, and since then it took him 14 innings – the most innings he had to wait before registering a ton in his Test career.
“I am reading lots of things people say about out of form, but think there is a difference between out of form and out of runs so it was just nice to score a few and maybe keep a few people quiet,” Steve Smith said after scoring the hundred against India in the ongoing Test at SCG.
At the end of Day 2, the scorecard reads 96 for 2, with India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on scores of 9 and 5 respectively, and the trail being 242 runs.
Openers Rohit Sharma (26) and Shubman Gill (50) stitched a healthy 70-run stand that brought down the trail to 268, but the former being caught and bowled by Josh Hazlewood, and then Gill being dismissed after scoring his maiden Test fifty off a Pat Cummins’ delivery that carried to the gully, shifted the momentum in the Aussies’ favor in the third session.
Earlier in the day, Smtih and Labuschagne started the innings with a dominant display and extending their partnership to 100 runs before the latter was dismissed by spinner Ravindra Jadeja while trying to punch a bit of bouncy delivery.
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Smith then forged small yet effective tallies of seven partnerships with the middle and tail of the Australian batting line-up that eventually steered Australia to 338 in the first innings, before being run-out on 131 courtesy a direct throw from Jadeja, while trying to steal a second run of a Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery.
Among the Indian bowlers, Jadeja grabbed the most wickets (4/62), followed by pacers Bumrah and Navdeep Saini, who picked two wickets each Mohammed Siraj bagged a solitary wicket of David Warner while Ravichandran Ashwin remained wicketless throughout his spells.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Steve Smith’s 27th Test hundred –