Australia star batsman Steve Smith shut all critics and experts in style who were questioning his technique after dealing a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Test at Lord’s. Smith slammed a commanding half-century during the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, Manchester to put Australia in a good position. Smith registered a fourth fifty-plus score of the series to mark his return since suffering concussion. With this knock, the Sydney-born batsman has extended his Ashes run-spree against England.
The former Aussie skipper missed England’s dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley after being felled by a bouncer from Archer in the drawn second match of the series at Lord’s. Smith came in with Australia in trouble at 28/2 after winning the toss on the opening day of the fourth Test in Manchester, facing his first ball from Archer. He reached his fifty with his seventh four in 81 balls when he extravagantly cover-drove all-rounder Ben Stokes with a shot that saw the batsman end up on his knees.
Here’s how Twitter responded to Smith’s masterclass in Manchester:
That boundary took Australia to 142/2 in the 39th over of a rain-marred day. Marnus Labuschagne notched up his fourth straight half-century while Smith remained unbeaten on 60 as Australia reached 170/3 at stumps on Day 1 of the rain-affected fourth Test on Wednesday.
In the very little play that was possible after lunch, Labuschagne brought up his 50 off 88 balls and was looking good before Craig Overton (1/41) castled him to break the 116-run stand between him and Smith for the third wicket.
There was, however, no stopping Smith at the other end though as he marched on to his fifty by hitting Ben Stokes for a four in his unique fashion, groping at a length ball hanging miles outside off stump and knocking himself off his feet while driving the ball through the covers.
Smith, who this week returned to the top of the world Test batting rankings, is playing in his first series at this level since completing a 12-month ban for ball-tampering.
The 30-year-old former Australia captain scored 144 and 142 in his side’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston before making 92 at Lord’s.
The five-match series is all square at 1-1.