Australia’s Great Obsessive has been suspiciously quiet. Steve Smith scored no more than 31 runs in the three T20 internationals against England, the opposite extreme to last summer when he overwhelmed England in the closest replication ever seen of Sir Donald Bradman.
Smith scored 774 runs in only four Ashes Tests – he missed a fifth because Jofra Archer knocked him down, though not out, at Lord’s. Smith did not dash English hopes, he steadily crushed and suffocated them. Anybody know how to get Steve Smith out? That was last summer’s cry, and now he is back at Old Trafford, where he scored 211 and 82 to prevent England regaining the Ashes.
T20 cricket is far too brief for Smith to indulge his obsession. He needs a whole day for fidgeting, for tapping his pads and gloves in cricket’s most eccentric routine, before jumping outside offstump and propelling a straight ball through mid-wicket along the ground – none of this high-risk hitting in the air.
In other news, England go into this ODI series in good form against Australia, though the three-match T20 series was fairly tight. England won a game Australia should have won easily and another tight finish followed in the final match of the series a few days ago.
England are a different beast when it comes to ODIs, though and Australia’s record in this format in England in recent times – including in last year’s World Cup – is not exactly great, having lost nine of their last 11 ODIs in England against them.