Smith’s preferred away ground is where he has three centuries in four games. And he didn’t fall short on the big event.
Steven Smith The Remarkable Record at The Oval
The Oval is not technically where Steven Smith his career began—that was over the Thames at Lord’s in another neutral Test in 2010—but it is a venue that provided him with a historic moment. Here, he scored the first of what would eventually grow to be a staggering 31 hundred in 97 matches, with the promise of more to come.
Smith celebrated three figures for the first time during the 2013 Ashes in his 12th Test. The Oval was when the shift from leg-spinning-allrounder to batting hero went a significant step forward after almost missing out a few weeks at Old Trafford.
In 2015, when the Ashes were lost, he got back at it, compiling 143 in a dead-rubber victory. He completed his historic return to Test cricket four years ago with 80 in the opening innings of the series, which featured four matches and 774 runs overall. He had hardly slept during the series by the time that game ended, and he eventually let a leg go where many teams had predicted Smith might be weak.
This year, The Oval will serve as both the beginning and finish of what may be Smith’s final Test tour to the UK. However, when questioned about his future before the World Test Championship last in light of David Warner’s retirement intentions, Smith was playing the deadest of bats.
After a little jittery beginning yesterday on either side of lunch, he quickly entered his batting bubble. At one point, he was 36 off 127 balls as Travis Head rampaged at the other end, but after he calmed down, he wasn’t hampered much further than by a few edges that missed the slips. Smith is adept at using his gentle hands even there.
Not least for bringing up the century, which arrived with three straight goals over two days, he waited for the loose deliveries. He made a statement late in the first evening by striking Mohammed Shami’s penultimate delivery of the day superbly outside mid-off. On Thursday, he faced two deliveries from Mohammed Siraj, both mishandled and dispatched through the leg side.
Before the game started, Smith told Channel Seven, “I enjoy playing at The Oval; my record here is as good as any place in the world. It’s a good wicket to bat on since the square extends the entire field length, giving you value for your strokes.
Smith was also correct about the terrain. The Oval leads his averages among the venues where he has played more than two Tests.
Another modification to Smith’s game served to emphasise his skill further. For the last year, he had been standing considerably still in the crease, putting the excessive movement back and across onto—or outside off stump—away. It almost seems Smith effortlessly flipped the button to enable Test cricket in England.
Before Head ultimately went on 163 to India’s short-ball strategy with a tickle down the leg side, the fourth-wicket partnership increased to 285, moving into Australia’s top 10 for the fourth wicket. Soon after, Smith came along for a 268-ball 121 and played on to Shardul Thakur.
After the first day of play, Head had made the interesting remark that when an opponent puts so much effort into what they would do against Smith, it might aid the batter at the other end. Therefore, it makes sense that England will plan for Smith less this time, as James Anderson recently told the Age.
Head remarked, “I’ve always stated that I do love batting with Steve because of all the attention he gets. He is our best hitter and terrific in these conditions, and the opposition pays a lot of attention to him in terms of game planning and how challenging he is to bowl to. Because he has attracted so much attention, you can continue your business while remaining in its shadow. Felt the same way [on the first day], like he was never going to move.
Both parties felt this way. Before starting the second day, Smith stated, “I believed they were concentrating a lot on Trav, the way he was coming out and scoring so rapidly. “I was able just to play a little bit,” I had the impression that I was under less strain at that point.
Smith was playing with such comfort and control that it required a second look when he left, inside-edging a somewhat hesitant push into his stumps off the opening ball of the day from Shardul Thakur. Smith obviously couldn’t quite believe what had occurred as he tossed his head back.
“I enjoy performing here in England. It’s a fantastic location for cricket. I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful summer for me,” he remarked before the game. Smith may return for another season.
Explore Steven Smith’s remarkable journey at The Oval and witness his extraordinary performances. Read the full article now at Rajabets for more news update!