45 minutes, 39 balls: Steve Smith receives standing ovation after getting off the mark - WATCH
On Friday, Smith did something unusual. He took 45 minutes and 39 deliveries to get off the mark on Day 1 of the third Test against New Zealand.Updated: Jan 03, 2020 10:51 IST
Australia’s Steve Smith is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world in Test format. The right-handed batsman is currently placed 2nd in the ICC Test Batting Rankings, only next to India skipper Virat Kohli. The 29-year-old is known for batting long innings on the crease, and he usually goes about it at a good strike rate. But on Friday, Smith did something unusual. He took 45 minutes and 39 deliveries to get off the mark on Day 1 of the third Test against New Zealand.
Smith came out in the middle after the departure of David Warner, who was dismissed by Neil Wagner in the first session. He stitched a partnership with Marnus Labuschagne, to settle down the side after the huge dismissal. Early on in the partnership, Labuschagne did most of the scoring, while Smith was happy to defend and get himself settled.
He finally got off the mark off Wagner, as he took a quick single after dabbing the ball towards a fielder inside the circle, on his 39th delivery. The SCG crowd, who were anxiously waiting for Smith to get off the mark, rose on their feet to give him a standing ovation. Smith himself raised his hand to acknowledge the crowd. The Kiwi bowler also engaged in a cheeky banter, as he patted Smith’s shoulder while walking back to his run-up.
Meanwhile, Labuschagne hit his sixth half-century in seven innings to guide Australia into a powerful position against virus-hit New Zealand on the opening day of the third Test in Sydney on Friday. The rock-solid No.3 was unconquered on 73 with Steve Smith on 42 as Australia reached tea at 182 for two.
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It was Labuschagne’s eighth half-century in 14 Tests as he closed in on his fourth hundred of the home Test summer. Smith, who took 39 balls to get off the mark, shared in an unbroken 87-run stand with Labuschagne after the loss of David Warner just after Lunch. Warner fell again to the leg-side trap on the third ball after the interval when he was caught by Colin de Grandhomme at leg gully off his nemesis Neil Wagner for 45.