Putting all the demons of the infamous Sandpaper gate behind, Steve Smith produced a once-in-a-lifetime performance to help Australia reclaim the coveted urn in the ongoing Ashes series against arch-rivals England. Making comeback into his preferred format, Smith redefined the word – “consistency” with his wielding willow that conjured up 774 runs at an astonishing average of 110.57 in just 7 innings. He single-handedly powered Australia to emphatic wins in Edgbaston and Old Trafford and owned Ashes 2019 in one of the most dominating fashions.
The 30-year old Smith failed to break the Sir Don Bradman’s world record of 974 runs in a single Test series, achieved in 1930. But he finished as the fifth-highest run-getter in a single Ashes series behind Bradman (twice), Wally Hammond and Mark Taylor. However, Smith’s tally in Ashes 2019 matched that of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who scored the same number of runs in the five-Test series against West Indies in 1971.
Smith missed the third match due to failed concussion test after he was hit by Jofra Archer’s bouncer on his head in the second Test. He also didn’t come out to bat in the second innings of the Lord’s Test after scoring a hundred in the first innings. While Gavaskar also missed the first Test on the tour of Caribbean islands in 1971 but played a pivotal role the second Test at Port of Spain where he scored 65 and 67 to help India register a comprehensive win by seven wickets.
In the second innings of the Oval Test, Smith registered his first sub-50 score in the series as he was dismissed by Stuart Broad. With this, Broad also ended Smith’s streak of 10 consecutive fifty-plus scores in Tests. The England pacer bowled a pacy short delivery targetting Smith’s body which worked for the hosts. Smith glanced the delivery to leg gully only for Ben Stokes to complete the catch.
With three fifties and three centuries against his name, the Sydney-born batsman helped Australia retain the Ashes urn after 18 long years. During the second innings in 5th Test, Smith went past his own record of scoring 769 runs against India during the 2014-15 season.