Smith’s lowest score this series earns another record
Australia’s star batter is again their saviour at The Oval, posting his 10th consecutive score of 50 or more against England
Sam Ferris at The Oval
14 September 2019, 07:41 AM AEST
Steve Smith's domination over England has reached new heights after he re-wrote the record books again with another defiant innings in his extraordinary Ashes campaign.
As wickets fell around him on Friday, Smith scored a team-high 80, his tenth score of 50 or more in his last 10 innings against England to set a new world record.
Smith now owns the record for the most 50+ scores in consecutive innings against a single opponent, eclipsing the mark of nine set by former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq against England from 2001 to 2006.
Smith's epic steak began in the third test of the 2017-18 Ashes series in Perth, where he scored a career-best 239 in Australia's innings and 41-run win that regained the urn.
He followed that knock with scores of 76 and 102 in Melbourne and 83 in Sydney before having to wait until Birmingham this year to get another chance to dine out on England's attack.
In his first Test back since serving his 12-month suspension, Smith scored 144 and 142 at Edgbaston to become the first Australian to post twin tons in an Ashes Test in England since Steve Waugh in 1997.
The 30-year-old made 92 at Lord's in the second Test of this series and then, having missed the second innings of that match and the subsequent Test at Headingley due to concussion, he scored 211, his third Ashes double hundred, and 82 at Old Trafford in the 185-run win that ensured Australia would retain the Ashes.
His 80 on Friday was not his most fluid innings (he admitted after play he was suffering from flu) but it was once again the cornerstone of Australia's innings.
His dismissal – lbw to Chris Woakes, as he had been at Lord’s – stopped his run-scoring spree at 751 for the series, the 10th highest series aggregate in Test history by a visiting batter and the 7th most in an Ashes series.
Smith's prolific output with the bat has seen him compared to Sir Donald Bradman, who is quickly becoming - if he’s not already - his only peer as a Test batter.
While Smith averages in 64.95 in 68 Tests, a number bettered only by Bradman's 99.94, he is averaging 125.16 this series and has more than double the runs Australia's next best batter, Marnus Labuschagne with 339.
But those comparisons do not register with Smith, who says he is not fazed by the records he breaks or perception of him as a player.
All he cares about it batting, scoring runs and winning games of cricket for his country.
"I just do my thing and what people say, it doesn't really bother me," Smith said after play.
"It's just each time I go out to the middle I love batting and I just want to bat and score runs and help out the team.
"People can say whatever they like; nice things, bad things, whatever, it really doesn't bother me.
"It's just about going out there and doing my thing and that's scoring runs and hopefully helping Australia win as many games of cricket as I can."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: Australia won by 185 runs at Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval