Australia skipper Steve Smith brushed his shoulders with Sir Donald Bradman and could be on his way to share more records with cricket’s best ever batsman after another productive show. The hosts are on top in the ongoing fifth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and have dominated play on Day Two.
Smith saw himself being unbeaten on 44 runs at stumps and alongside him was the star of the show Usman Khawaja, who is nine runs short of a first Test hundred in this series. With the scorecard reading 193/2 in reply to England’s 346, the Aussies could be in for something big and special to put the tourists under the mat in this dead-rubber Test.
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Australian skipper Smith needs to be lauded as he reached another milestone to be in special company. He became the second fastest batsman to reach 6,000 Test runs in his 111th innings, second only to the legendary Don Bradman. Also he is in store for some more grand records as the Test match progresses. Smith has three centuries in this five-match series, and could be on his way to a fourth if he manages to score another 56 runs on Day 3.
If the World No. 1 Test batsman does get to his 24th Test ton, he will not be second to Bradman but will join him, and some other former England greats like Wally Hammond and Herbert Sutcliffe to have four centuries in a single Ashes series.
Batsmen with most centuries in an Ashes Test series.
- Sir Don Bradman (1930): 4
- WR Hammond (1928-29): 4
- Herbert Sutcliffe (1924-25): 4
- Steve Smith (2017-18): 3
It doesn’t end just there. Smith with his unbeaten 44 runs has reached 648 runs in this series and crossed former Aussie skipper Greg Chappell and Michael Slater in most runs amassed. He is slowly reaching the heights to next cross Bradman’s 680 runs achieved in 1946-47.
Here is the list of Australian batsmen with most runs in an Ashes Test series.
- Sir Don Bradman (1930): 974
- Mark Taylor (1989): 839
- Sir Don Bradman (1936-37): 810
- Sir Don Bradman (1934): 734
- AR Morris (1939): 696
- Sir Don Bradman (1946-47): 680
- Steve Snith (2017-18): 648
This has been Smith’s impact to make him a superstar in this format and he has ruled against the English bowlers to be in such a composure only few in the modern day achieve. The Aussie skipper has led his side from the front and a lot of credit goes to his score conversions that has helped his side on the large to swing the momentum in their favour.
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Australia need to be lauded for their hunger in this dead-rubber Test despite already sealing the series 3-0. It all started with Pat Cummins, who grew as the game progressed and impressed with figures of 4/80. The pacer has finally found his groove and has made a sound return since his comeback from injury in Test cricket after a period of six years. Cummins’ pace and knack of taking wickets make him a great player to have in the team.
No wonder the Aussies lead the proceedings with the most wickets in the series that see their trio of pacers top the show. They share an impressive 60 wickets between them in the series and like Smith, they are equally responsible for the domination.
The star of Day Two was Usman Khawaja, who smashed an unbeaten 91 runs and finally showed the fans why his side keeps persisting with him at No. 3. The 31-year-old appeared vulnerable to spin at the start of the series but this time at the SCG he got his feet moving against English spinners Moeen Ali and debutant Mason Crane.
He never allowed them to settle and was part of two constructive partnerships. He added 85 runs with David Warner for the 2nd wicket before stitching another 107 runs with skipper Smith. Khawaja’s work isn’t done here just yet. He will be hoping to make the most of his hardworking attributes and get on to a big score on Day Three.
The best moment in his knock came when he brought up his half-century by lifting Moeen down the ground for six. That highlighted a speciality of his comfort against the slow bowlers.
Brief Score, 5th Test, Day 2: England (1st innings) – 346/10 (Root 83, Malan 62) in 112.3 overs lead Australia – 193/2 (Khawaja 91*, Warner 56) by 153 runs.