Perhaps some may be saying that it was Michael Clarke’s day. And I guess they would be right – he did lead from the front with yet another wonderful century. But he has had enough big days. I say let Steve Smith have a go. He personally routed the DRS. He survived both of England’s DRS opportunities and later, when they had nothing left, was given not out on an lbw that surely would have been overturned. And all he did was almost get out several times, while playing well in between, be lucky enough to be given “not out” three times in a single day and let England (and the umpires) do the rest.
After the first Test of this series, several people, including myself, observed that DRS was becoming a part of tactics. Also, that the inconsistencies and foibles of DRS were having as much of a negative impact on matches, as the bad umpiring it was supposed to be addressing. Is it a coincidence that the first day Australia enjoyed the better of these factors, was the first good day they have had in the series? Oh, and winning the toss might also have helped.
Ironically, the day started out looking like more of the same with the furore over Khawaja’s dismissal. But I would say it evened out by the end of the day. I will say for the record, that while England could consider themselves unlucky not to have Smith out, his two DRS referrals were fair enough. His lbw was “clipping” although it was a healthy “clip” but at least there is some understanding of the rules around Hawkeye and lbw. Smith could have considered himself unlucky to have been given out to a ball that spun three feet from over the wicket. And while my cricket instincts tell me that he probably nicked his catch behind, there was no forensic evidence to support it.
Australia also had some luck. Clarke exactly replayed his leg slip dismissal shot from Lord’s, expect for two things. One was that the bowler was Swann and more importantly, and incredibly, there was no leg slip. And when the leg slip was employed, he teased by deflecting a ball just out of reach of leg slip’s hands. It was given as runs but replays showed there was no bat, so thank goodness that one did not go to hand.
Onwards and upwards for Smith. The kids has pluck and deserves triple figures. He plays with enthusiasm and his whole heart, despite being on the fringe for many years. I think that he does have what it takes to be a Test cricketer and I hope succeeds.