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Ashes: Australia teammates, rivals marvel at ‘freakish’ Steve Smith

Australia captain Steve Smith remained unbeaten on 65 on Day 1 of the fourth Ashes Test being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

cricket Updated: Dec 26, 2017 18:54 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Melbourne
The Ashes,Australia vs England,Steve SMith
Australia captain Steve Smith plays a shot during the first day of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Melbourne.(Reuters)

David Warner says in-form Steve Smith is a freakish talent while England’s leading bowler James Anderson says the Australia skipper is in the form of his life. (Day 1 scorecard)

Smith was well on the way to posting his fourth consecutive century in the showpiece Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after an unbeaten 65 in Australia’s 244 for three after day one Tuesday.

The quirky Smith hasn’t been dismissed in a Melbourne Test match since Boxing Day 2014 and was on track to repeat the feat on a bat-friendly MCG pitch.

READ | The Ashes: James Anderson ‘gutted’ for hapless debutant Tom Curran

In the last three showpiece Boxing Day Tests, Smith has scored 192 against India, 134 not out against the West Indies and an unbeaten 165 last year against Pakistan.

So far in this series Smith has amassed 491 runs against England at a stunning average of 163.66 from five innings.

“I think we all wish we were half the batter Steve Smith is at the moment because he’s seeing them like watermelons, but he makes the game look so easy,” said team vice-captain Warner, who scored his 21st Test century with 103 on Tuesday.

“He’s just a freak... I don’t know how he does what he does.

READ | The Ashes: David Warner enjoys late Christmas gift on Boxing Day

“He’s very mentally strong, we always talk about the way that he prepares. He likes batting time in the nets then out in the game he just seems to be hitting every ball out of the middle.

“England said that they had come up with a game plan to get him out and obviously it hasn’t worked so far in this game.

“He’s got a unique technique that you wouldn’t coach any other kid.”

England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker Anderson, who has had a running battle with Smith during the Ashes series, said it was up to the bowlers to figure a way to get him out.

READ | The Ashes: David Warner, Steve Smith take honours in Australia’s solid start vs England

“I won’t say I’m sick of the sight of him, I would like to get him out but every now and then you come up against a player who’s in the form of his life,” Anderson said.

“He’s the leading runscorer in Test cricket this year and obviously he’s in a hot streak.

“As a bowler it can be tough coming up against someone like that, but it’s our job to try and figure on ways of getting him out.

“When someone’s in that kind of form you just got to hope that he makes a mistake or just hope you bowl a ball that’s good enough to get rid of him.”

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 15:53 IST