Steve Smith’s redemption song: Hundred in the first Ashes Test was pure grit, determination, and passion
Former Australia captain Steven Smith, playing his first test match after the ignominious suspension owing to ball-tampering, scored a scintillating hundred against England at Birmingham on the first day of the Ashes 2019 series. It was a remarkable show of grit, determination, and passion.
But above all, it was a well-deserved redemption song for the much-maligned cricketer.
What he did during the tour to South Africa in March 2018 has probably earned a permanent blot on his career. The punishment given to him considered too harsh by some, side-lined him from international cricket when he was at the top of his game. Along with Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson, he was part of the fab four in modern cricket at the time.
With a year spent in oblivion, everyone was curious to see whether he would get back to similar dizzying heights on his comeback. Yes, he was good in his comeback to the one-day format, but Test cricket was expected to pose a different kind of challenge to him.
The fact that this comeback was going to be against their arch-rival England on their own home turf, along with the expected hostile reception from the English crowd, was going to make the challenge even more difficult for him.
To compound to his worries, Australia got off to the worst possible start, where the top and middle order simply crumbled against the English bowlers. He must have also seen the way the English crowd reacted to the dismissals of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, by waving sand-paper.
However, against all odds, he rose like a phoenix. He seemed to carry on from where he had left off, before his ban. This particular hundred will be extra special for Smith not just because of the extraneous circumstances mentioned above, but also because of the match situation where he more than doubled the team score in the company of the last two batsmen.
Regardless of the eventual outcome of this test, this may be the finest knock played by one of the greatest modern day batsmen, yet.