Having amassed 751 runs in six innings of the ongoing Ashes series, Steve Smith has made a remarkable return to Test cricket. His scores in the series so far have been 144, 142, 92, 211, 82 and 80, clearly the English bowlers have found no way to dismiss him early in the innings.
Smith, who has scored more than twice as many runs as any other batsman in the series, on Friday, underpinned the visitors’ reply with more than four hours at the crease before being trapped lbw by Chris Woakes on 80 – his lowest score of this series.
Steve Smith misses a straight one.
No, you're not dreaming.pic.twitter.com/nT4NRGkBlC
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 13, 2019
The former Australian skipper built his innings cautiously, scoring nine fours and just one six, which came when he lofted a Jack Leach ball far over long on to complete his half-century.
It was Smith’s 10th consecutive 50 against England in Tests, the most in a row by any batsmen against any other nation in the longest format of the game.
Smith also managed to outscore Sir Don Bradman. He now has 1251 runs from his last ten Ashes innings, which is more than Bradman’s best total from ten successive innings of 1236 from 1937-46.
Most runs in 10 successive Ashes innings:
Steven Smith – 1251 runs (2017-2019)
Scores – 239, 76, 102*, 83, 144, 142, 92, 211, 82, 80
Don Bradman – 1236 runs (1937-1946)
Scores – 212, 169, 51, 144*, 18, 102*, 103, 16, 187, 234
Finally, SMITH beats BRADMAN! #Ashes2019
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) September 13, 2019
The 30-year-old can even surpass Bradman in another stat if he manages to score a double century in the second innings of the final Test. Smith needs 224 runs to go past Bradman’s record of 974 runs in a series, which he amassed during the 1930 Ashes series against England.
Smith’s heroics, however, were not enough for the visitors to take the lead at The Oval.
England pacer Jofra Archer took 6-62 as Australia was dismissed for 225 on Day 2 of the fifth and final Ashes Test.
England had a first-innings lead of 69 – after scoring 294 when they were put into bat first by the Australian captain Tim Paine – and reached Friday stumps at 9-0 in their second innings to lead by 78 runs overall.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit today. I’ve got a little bit of the flu,” Smith stated after the end of the day’s play.