Cricket Genius Steve Smith Is Putting On The Greatest Show In Sports

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Two

Steve Smith has destroyed England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

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A seemingly untouchable record in cricket could be broken in the final Ashes Test starting on Thursday. Sir Donald Bradman’s record of 974 runs in the 1930 Ashes is the most by any batsman in a Test series.

But it is under threat from Smith, who probably would have been within touching distance had he not missed three innings due to concussion. The 30-year-old requires 304 runs to better Bradman's mark having scored 671 runs at 134.2 this series.

To even think Smith could be a chance of breaking the record underlines his utter stranglehold over England, who are simply clueless on how to bowl to him. You can’t really blame them. Hardly anyone has had answers for the former Australia captain ever since he broke through with his maiden Test ton in the 2013 Ashes.

He’s got to the point when you just expect him to score a century every time he enters the crease. Once he’s on about 20, it’s inevitable. He’s going big. You can feel that dread of doom engulfing England and the crowd when Smith is settled.

He has completely broken them, which is a pretty remarkable effort considering England were on such a high after the ‘Headingley Miracle’. Of course, that third Test victory was achieved with Smith on the sidelines.  

I always wondered what it would have been like to watch Bradman. And just expect him to score a century every time he walked to the crease because, heck, his average was basically at 100. Now, I can relate. Smith has entered that surreal realm where he makes the difficult look incredibly easy. Every time.

Test match batting is not easy. The conditions have not been favorable in this series. This is not like batting in certain parts of the world, including Australia, where pitches can often be incredibly flat. And England’s attack is good. Stuart Broad has had a throwback series. He’s been excellent – as David Warner can certainly attest to.

Even though he has started to tire, Jofra Archer’s express pace is always a handful but once he started to flame out Smith pounced. Smith is doing something that is once in a lifetime. Bradman, let’s not forget, retired 71 years ago. Other players have had hot streaks before and we’ve seen marvels like Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara dominate but no one has quite deflated bowling attacks like Smith.

He’s worked out every inch of his game – you feel he honed it even further during his 12-month ball-tampering suspension. And he’s waited so long to vent his frustration and anger over the whole sorry saga. Unfortunately for England, it’s been unleashed on them. Smith is so focused and determined it’s almost jarring.

He’s in the zone – only it is lasting hours, days and months. Even when he mishits shots, his visible frustration is evident. He admonishes himself. He expects – demands – perfection. There are no limits. Smith is batting like nobody we’ve ever seen before, unless you saw Bradman.

And he’s still got one more chance to add to this series for the ages. Even though Australia celebrated heartily – maybe a bit too cheekily for some – the series hasn’t been won yet. Australia will feel somewhat hollow if they lose the fifth Test and the series is drawn 2-2.

But after the comprehensive victory in Manchester, it’s hard to see England having much to give. Their batting order is an utter shambles although Australia’s hasn’t been much better except for Smith, obviously, and his apprentice Marnus Labuschagne who has been the find of the series.

Having Smith back has papered over all the cracks. It’s a little bit like having LeBron James in the lineup, covering all the deficiencies of his teammates because he’s so good at every facet of the game.

Right now, Smith is simply must watch. He’s reached that special realm where you have to stop everything and just watch the man do his thing. Nobody is perfecting their craft better. Smith is almost making a mockery of batting and simultaneously mentally destroying England.

Just when you think he can’t outdo himself, Smith does the implausible. Like scoring a double ton – and then a whirlwind 82 when Australia looked for quick runs in the second innings – in the fourth Test after coming back from his scary blow to the head.

That’s why you would almost back Smith to break Bradman’s legendary 89-year mark. You know a sportsperson is doing something special when you just expect them to effortlessly break records.

It’s almost sacrilegious – like saying LeBron is better than Michael Jordan – but there is an argument to suggest he might even be better than Bradman considering Smith’s greater competition he’s faced and the increasingly grueling schedule these days. Bradman only played in England and Australia. With all due respect, I’m going to take a stab at it and guess that teams weren’t able to strategize much back in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Even with all the technology and expertise available, no one has a clue how to stop Smith. He’s that great. A master at the absolute peak of his powers.

Just sit back and enjoy the ride because Steve Smith is putting on the greatest show in sports.

Unless you’re an England fan.  

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A seemingly untouchable record in cricket could be broken in the final Ashes Test starting on Thursday. Sir Donald Bradman’s record of 974 runs in the 1930 Ashes is the most by any batsman in a Test series.

But it is under threat from Smith, who probably would have been within touching distance had he not missed three innings due to concussion. The 30-year-old requires 304 runs to better Bradman's mark having scored 671 runs at 134.2 this series.

To even think Smith could be a chance of breaking the record underlines his utter stranglehold over England, who are simply clueless on how to bowl to him. You can’t really blame them. Hardly anyone has had answers for the former Australia captain ever since he broke through with his maiden Test ton in the 2013 Ashes.

He’s got to the point when you just expect him to score a century every time he enters the crease. Once he’s on about 20, it’s inevitable. He’s going big. You can feel that dread of doom engulfing England and the crowd when Smith is settled.

He has completely broken them, which is a pretty remarkable effort considering England were on such a high after the ‘Headingley Miracle’. Of course, that third Test victory was achieved with Smith on the sidelines.  

I always wondered what it would have been like to watch Bradman. And just expect him to score a century every time he walked to the crease because, heck, his average was basically at 100. Now, I can relate. Smith has entered that surreal realm where he makes the difficult look incredibly easy. Every time.

Test match batting is not easy. The conditions have not been favorable in this series. This is not like batting in certain parts of the world, including Australia, where pitches can often be incredibly flat. And England’s attack is good. Stuart Broad has had a throwback series. He’s been excellent – as David Warner can certainly attest to.

Even though he has started to tire, Jofra Archer’s express pace is always a handful but once he started to flame out Smith pounced. Smith is doing something that is once in a lifetime. Bradman, let’s not forget, retired 71 years ago. Other players have had hot streaks before and we’ve seen marvels like Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara dominate but no one has quite deflated bowling attacks like Smith.

He’s worked out every inch of his game – you feel he honed it even further during his 12-month ball-tampering suspension. And he’s waited so long to vent his frustration and anger over the whole sorry saga. Unfortunately for England, it’s been unleashed on them. Smith is so focused and determined it’s almost jarring.

He’s in the zone – only it is lasting hours, days and months. Even when he mishits shots, his visible frustration is evident. He admonishes himself. He expects – demands – perfection. There are no limits. Smith is batting like nobody we’ve ever seen before, unless you saw Bradman.

And he’s still got one more chance to add to this series for the ages. Even though Australia celebrated heartily – maybe a bit too cheekily for some – the series hasn’t been won yet. Australia will feel somewhat hollow if they lose the fifth Test and the series is drawn 2-2.

But after the comprehensive victory in Manchester, it’s hard to see England having much to give. Their batting order is an utter shambles although Australia’s hasn’t been much better except for Smith, obviously, and his apprentice Marnus Labuschagne who has been the find of the series.

Having Smith back has papered over all the cracks. It’s a little bit like having LeBron James in the lineup, covering all the deficiencies of his teammates because he’s so good at every facet of the game.

Right now, Smith is simply must watch. He’s reached that special realm where you have to stop everything and just watch the man do his thing. Nobody is perfecting their craft better. Smith is almost making a mockery of batting and simultaneously mentally destroying England.

Just when you think he can’t outdo himself, Smith does the implausible. Like scoring a double ton – and then a whirlwind 82 when Australia looked for quick runs in the second innings – in the fourth Test after coming back from his scary blow to the head.

That’s why you would almost back Smith to break Bradman’s legendary 89-year mark. You know a sportsperson is doing something special when you just expect them to effortlessly break records.

It’s almost sacrilegious – like saying LeBron is better than Michael Jordan – but there is an argument to suggest he might even be better than Bradman considering Smith’s greater competition he’s faced and the increasingly grueling schedule these days. Bradman only played in England and Australia. With all due respect, I’m going to take a stab at it and guess that teams weren’t able to strategize much back in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Even with all the technology and expertise available, no one has a clue how to stop Smith. He’s that great. A master at the absolute peak of his powers.

Just sit back and enjoy the ride because Steve Smith is putting on the greatest show in sports.

Unless you’re an England fan.  

Follow me on Twitter.

I am an accredited cricket journalist in Australia and have covered the sport around the world. Most notably, I reported on the 2017-18 Ashes – cricket’s greatest serie

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