A beaming Steve Smith proclaimed with pride that his outstanding one-day batting performance against England was the best he has experienced in six years. Smith scored an unbeaten 80 from 78 balls at Adelaide Oval guiding Australia to secure a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against world champions England on Thursday.
Dawid Malan’s magnificent 134 off only 128 deliveries went in vain as all-round Australia produced a stellar performance to clinch the opening game against England by six wickets in the first match of the three-match ODI series here at Adelaide Oval on Thursday. Australia chased down the target in 46.5 overs, because of brilliant fifties from David Warner, Travis Head and Steve Smith.
“[It] was probably the best I’ve felt in about six years. I was just in really nice positions and I felt really good, I honestly haven’t felt that way in six years or so. It’s been nice to score some runs in that time and we’re always looking for perfection, and for me yesterday was as close to perfection as I will get,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Smith as saying. Smith attributed a year-long process to help him find his best posture and technique, which now sees him keeping more side-on to the ball and not making the dramatic hop over the crease.
He noted that his most recent effort felt a world away from his previous ODI innings, in which he hit a century against New Zealand in September. “[It was] much better yesterday. In Cairns on a slow wicket, I still felt a little bit rushed and wasn’t quite happy with the positions I was getting in whereas yesterday I just felt, a couple of the cover drives I hit, I know I’m batting really well when I’ve got my weight going through the ball,” he said.
Despite missing all but one game of the most recent T20 World Cup, Smith has managed to maintain an impressive record in ODI cricket. He has averaged 54.84 in ODIs since serving his suspension at the 2019 ODI World Cup, and since the start of 2020, his average has increased to an even more amazing 66.13. “I’ve been working on a few things, it’s almost been a six-month or 12-month process. At the start of last summer, I tried to get my hands back to where they were in 2015. I feel like I’m staying a bit more side-on now and I’ve got my feet and hands in sync together. [Thursday] was probably the first time I’ve actually had extended time in the middle with that change. It’s hard to base something on one innings but it felt as though things clicked for me as they did at the WACA in 2013. Hopefully, it’s the start of a big summer,” Smith said.