A tale of two comebacks: Smith and Warner have had contrasting fortunes in the Ashes
After having brought disrepute to the game through Sandpaper Gate, Warner and Smith were keen on making amends in their comeback. The only way to put their horrendous mistake in the shadows was by making their bat talk. But while Smith has managed to do that brilliantly, it has been a sorry state of affairs for Warner.
Smith has shown that a comeback can be more memorable and greater than a setback. Whenever he takes guard, one can see the sparkle in his eyes that shows the hunger to perform well.
His batting may not ooze class. He shuffles across the stumps, plays unorthodox shots and looks fidgety at the crease. But his resilience, grit and perseverance take him miles ahead of the others.
"Complicated and organized mindset is what sets Steve Smith apart," as rightly said by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
Already possessing a Bradman-esque average of 94.65 in the first innings of Tests since 2014, Smith's numbers have grown manifold in this year’s Ashes. In five innings, Smith has scored a staggering 671 at a stupendous average of 134.20 with three centuries and the lowest score of 82.
Though cricket is regarded as a team sport, Smith has single-handedly taken his team to the brink of winning the series. His performance has overshadowed the disappointing returns of his teammate and partner in crime Warner.
Out of eight innings in this series, Warner has managed to cross single digits only once (a scratchy 61 at Headingley). He aggregates just 79 and averages a paltry 9.88, indicating that he is finding it very difficult to find a rhythm.
The three consecutive ducks that Warner suffered against Stuart Broad pointed out a flaw in his technique.
Though he is woefully out of form and short of confidence, Warner would be the first to thank his comrade Smith. When the English crowd booed him, Smith stood up in defiance, thereby quelling the noise a little even for Warner. And the more the English bowlers sledged him, the more resolute he became.
While the cricketing fraternity would be expecting another stellar performance from Smith in the last Test, nothing can quite be predicted for Warner. But he would know deep down that time is running out to prove his worth and make it big.
So far the comeback story has been a fairytale for one player, and a complete failure for the other. Warner would be hoping he can change that in the last match of the series.