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Ashes 2019, England Vs Australia: How Brilliant Steve Smith Wrests Back Control Of Narrative – READ

By scoring a century at Edgbaston on Day 1 of the first Test of 2019 Ashes, Steve Smith saved Australia and wrested back control of his own narrative in a brilliant manner

Ashes 2019, England Vs Australia: How Brilliant Steve Smith Wrests Back Control Of Narrative – READ
Australia's Steven Smith celebrates after scoring a century during day one of the first Ashes Test cricket match at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, Thursday Aug. 1, 2019.
Ashes 2019, England Vs Australia: How Brilliant Steve Smith Wrests Back Control Of Narrative – READ
outlookindia.com
2019-08-02T16:33:25+0530

Ever since that fateful day at Newlands in March, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have come to be defined by the ball-tampering episode that marred Australia's series in South Africa.

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It is an unfair aspect of being in the public eye that one mistake can tend to overshadow the achievements that lead athletes to reach such a position of prominence in the first place and, having served lengthy bans, the Australia trio have had little opportunity to repair their images with stellar on-field showings.

Also Read: Steve Smith's Best Ashes Centuries

Warner did so somewhat in the Cricket World Cup and Bancroft has impressed on the significantly smaller stage of County Championship Division Two but for Smith, the most admired of the triumvirate prior to the saga that rocked Australian cricket, his redemption moment had not been forthcoming.

That was until Thursday, the opening day of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, where Smith brilliantly and at times brutally wrested back control of his own narrative with one of the finest and most memorable hundreds in the history of cricket's most prestigious series.

Also Read: Seven Umpiring Blunders Mar Ashes Day 1

Even as one of the best batsmen on the planet, it would have been easy for Smith to wilt under the pressure in front of the raucous Birmingham crowd, one keen to remind of him of the Cape Town incident at every opportunity, and he had plenty of chances to do so.

He could have done so at 35-3, with Warner and Bancroft having already departed and England smelling blood, as they were after the hosts ripped through the rest of the middle order to leave Australia 122-8.

Also Read: James Anderson Gives England Injury Scare

Nobody would have been overly critical of Smith had his resistance ended at that point. However, he was clearly in no mood for his innings to be in vain.

So often visibly angered by his dismissals during Australia's ultimately unsuccessful World Cup campaign, throughout his 219-ball stay Smith had the look of a man fuelled by desperation and determination for the focus to be shifted firmly back on to what he does best.

Also Read: Warner Receives Sandpaper Send-Off

That much was evident in the indignant look he aimed towards umpire Aleem Dar as Smith emphatically and correctly signalled for a review after being given out lbw on 34, and in the way he ruthlessly took the game to a tiring England attack late in the day, racking up 16 fours and a pair of sixes and showing little regard for the spin of Moeen Ali and Joe Denly.

What made his contribution even more impressive was the way he counter-attacked while perfectly managing the situation, farming the strike and forming partnerships of 88 and 74 with tailenders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to take Australia to 284 all out.

It was an innings befitting a captain. Though Smith no longer wears the armband, it was he who stood up and delivered when Australia most needed a saviour and, even in a stadium filled with boo-boys, there were few who begrudged him his moment when he brought up his 24th Test century with a glorious cover drive.

Also Read: Ashes Live Streaming, Full Schedule

For all England's admirable exploits with the ball, it is the image of Smith standing arms aloft soaking in the adulation that is the abiding one of the opening day of the series. For all the sandpaper cards, jeers and chants about him "crying on the telly", it is Smith's remarkable display of obduracy and craftsmanship that will claim the headlines in England and Down Under.

What happened in South Africa will always be a part of his journey but, with the spotlight now back on his batting brilliance, Smith is finally the author of his own story once again.

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