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Steven Smith Finds Comfort at the Top in Tests

Steven Smith had the perfect response to critics who declared he shouldn’t be opening for Australia in Tests.

Following a lackluster initial three innings in which Usman Khawaja replaced David Warner at the crease, the 34-year-old nearly guided Australia past the boundary to prevent the historic eight-run loss to the West Indies at the Gabba.

Smith, who has scored 27 of his 32 Test centuries at No.3 or No.4, insists he didn’t overthink his approach to opening.

After scores of 12, 11 not out, and six, the star batter belted an unbeaten 91 in Australia’s second innings on Sunday and feels “comfortable” as an opener.

Team-First Mentality

“A lot of people said I failed in two or three innings—I had a not-out and two low scores,” Smith said on Wednesday at the MCG. Now that I open, I’m averaging 60.

“It was just a different position; I’ve fought the new ball many times by coming in early.” I’ve liked the first two weeks, but if they decide to move me back down, I’ll do what the team needs.

Team-First Mentality

Steven Smith was the only player to handle Shamar Joseph, the West Indies’ newest fast bowler. He was the first Australian to carry his bat since Warner in 2011. The 24-year-old ripped through Australia, taking 7 for 68 as the visitors won their first Test match in Australia since 1997.

Joseph’s Heroic Bowling

Joseph, further cementing his place in history, suffered a severe toe injury while bowling in the second innings of his second Test. As a result, he is unable to participate in the ILT20 with Warner’s Dubai Capitals and must return to the Caribbean.

“I overheard a conversation, I think we were seven down just before lunch and I overheard him speaking to [West Indies captain] Kraigg [Brathwaite]… he’s [Joseph] like, ‘I’m bowling to the end, man’,” according to Smith.

“He is a rare talent, and I believe it’s fantastic for cricket that he witnessed the West Indies contend in the manner that they did.” “He simply kept coming in, and I believe he bowled faster in the end than he did at the beginning.”

Final victim

Hazlewood was Joseph’s final victim, sparking wild and joyful West Indies celebrations as they completed arguably the biggest upset in Test history.

“I’ve thought about it, whether we could do different things,” Smith admitted. “Maybe I could have taken five balls against Shamar; he was on fire. But then I run the risk of not getting a run off the last ball and ‘Hoff’ [Hazlewood] having to take all six from Alzarri.”

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4 Comments

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