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"I am maintaining an average of 60 as an opening batsman": Steve Smith responds to critics following his impressive performance in the second Test.
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“I am maintaining an average of 60 as an opening batsman”: Steve Smith responds to critics following his impressive performance in the second Test.

Steve Smith had an impeccable comeback for those who doubted his role as the opening batsman for Australia in Test matches.

In the first three innings, while filling in for David Warner alongside Usman Khawaja, the 34-year-old nearly led Australia to victory and prevented a huge eight-run upset by West Indies at the Gabba.

Smith, who has achieved 27 out of his 32 Test centuries while batting at positions 3 or 4, maintains that he did not overanalyze his approach to opening.

The star batter performed well in Australia’s second innings on Sunday with scores of 12, 11 not out, and six, ultimately hitting an unbeaten 91. They also stated feeling “comfortable” in their role as an opener.

“At the MCG on Wednesday, Smith addressed the criticism of his performance, acknowledging that there was a lot of talk about his failure in two or three innings, despite having a not out and two low scores.”

“I am currently maintaining an average score of 60 as an opening batsman.”

“It was a typical situation for me, as I have faced the challenge of facing a new ball many times before, often coming in early in the game.”

“I have been enjoying the first few weeks of it… If they decide to move me back down, I am willing to do whatever is necessary for the team.”

Smith, who achieved the feat of being the first Australian since Warner in 2011 to carry his bat, was the sole player capable of handling the West Indies’ latest pace sensation, Shamar Joseph.

The 24-year-old dominated Australia with a 7-68 record, leading the visiting team to a remarkable first Test win in Australia since 1997.

In addition to his already impressive reputation, Joseph made his second appearance in a Test match, despite suffering from a painful toe injury. As a result, he has been forced to return to the Caribbean for treatment.

The right-handed fast bowler will also be absent from the ILT20 while playing for Warner’s Dubai Capitals.

During lunch, I happened to hear a conversation where we were seven runs down and Kraigg Brathwaite, the West Indies captain, was speaking to Joseph. According to Smith, Joseph said, “I’m going to keep bowling until the end.”

“I believe he possesses a unique talent and his contribution to cricket is commendable. It is truly a positive development for the sport to witness the competitiveness of the West Indies team.”

He continued to enter and towards the end, he probably bowled faster than he did at the beginning.

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Smith supported his choice to allow No. 11 Josh Hazlewood to face Joseph for two balls during the final over of the match.

Joseph’s last prey, Hazlewood, triggered exuberant and ecstatic celebrations from the West Indies team, marking what could be considered the greatest upset in Test cricket.

Smith acknowledged that he has considered the possibility of trying various alternatives.

Perhaps I should have faced five balls against Shamar, as he was clearly in top form.

“However, there is a possibility that I may not be able to score a run on the final ball and ‘Hoff’ [Hazlewood] may have to take all six wickets from Alzarri [Joseph].”

In the absence of Pat Cummins, Smith will lead Australia’s ODI team against West Indies at the MCG on Friday for a three-match series opener.

This will mark Australia’s first 50-over match since their memorable victory at the World Cup, where they shocked the home team India in the final.

Source: theguardian.com