The Ashes has heated up for all the right and the wrong reasons. While the first test saw a gritty Steve Smith making the greatest of the comebacks to the red-ball game, the second witnessed a fiery contest between bat and ball ending in a draw at the home of cricket. At an age where Test cricket is believed to be fading away from the glitz and glamours of the shorter formats, the nail-biting contests in Ashes come like a spark that lights up Test cricket all over again.
Rightly so, Sourav Ganguly, too, feels it on the same line. The former Indian cricketer took to his official Twitter handle to express that it is the Ashes that is keeping the spirit of Test cricket. Ganguly wrote, “The “Ashes” series have kept test cricket alive …. up to rest of the world to raise their standards.”
The ongoing series has already provided some riveting moments on the field. The first match was all about the determination and grit of Smith to re-establish his dominance in the longest format of the game. The crowd at Edgbaston weren’t too sympathizing and so was the condition. While all the other batsmen failed Smith produced a master-class innings of 144. He scored another century in the second innings of the match to help Australia take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
The second game at Lord’s was all fuelled up by the inclusion of Jofra Archer into the English squad and the Barbados-born pacer did not disappoint. The bowler produced one after another spell of fast-bowling, graced with fatal bouncers. However, it was again Smith who held the Australian ship from sinking as he battled Archer’s onslaught.
The batsman, though, was not lucky enough as he fell victim of the ruthlessness of the fast bowler and got hit on his neck from a sharp bouncer. He was ruled out of the second test on the final day and Marcus Labuschagne was named the concussion substitute. The match ended in a draw but the home team surely gained some momentum ahead of the next one at Leeds.