Ashes 2023: R Ashwin Gives Verdict On Steve Smith’s Controversial Decision During 5th Test

The second day of the fifth Ashes Test between Australia and England at The Oval was an enthralling affair, marked by an attritional battle between the two cricketing giants. Australia adopted a patient approach, blunting the England attack to take a slender 12-run lead. However, Steve Smith’s talismanic batting truly shone as he led a lower-order effort to surpass England’s total.

Smith’s heroic innings were not without controversy, as he survived a contentious run-out decision that left the crowd divided. Nevertheless, his masterful knock and a spirited performance from Todd Murphy propelled Australia to a crucial lead in the Test match.

With the game finely poised, Steve Smith displayed his tenacity and skill at the crease. In a crucial partnership with captain Pat Cummins, the duo forged a 54-run standoff with 103 balls for the eighth wicket. Smith’s ability to anchor the innings and rotate the strike, combined with Cummins’ resilience, provided Australia with much-needed stability. However, a moment of drama ensued when Smith appeared to be run out, leading to contentious debates and divided reactions from fans and players alike.

During the 78th over, Smith tapped the ball to midwicket and attempted an ambitious second run. A sharp throw from substitute fielder George Ealham seemed to have Smith short of his crease. The England players and supporters erupted in celebration as Smith started to walk away, seemingly accepting his dismissal.

However, third umpire Nitin Menon reviewed multiple replays and concluded that Smith’s bat had crossed the crease before the bails were completely dislodged. The decision sparked a mix of boos from the home crowd and cheers from the Australian supporters.

The controversial run-out decision seemed to fuel Smith’s determination, and he continued his masterclass with the bat. Overcoming the setback, Smith scored a vital 71 runs off 123 balls before being dismissed by Chris Woakes. His calculated innings, full of trademark strokes, anchored Australia’s batting effort. However, the team received a further boost from an unexpected counter-attack by spinner Todd Murphy, who contributed a brisk 34 runs off 39 balls, including two fours and three sixes.

The contentious run-out decision caused quite a stir on social media, with the initial mocking of umpire Nitin Menon giving way to appreciation for his meticulous review process. Even star Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin lauded Menon’s decision, recognizing the task’s difficulty. The incident highlighted the importance of the third umpire’s role in ensuring fair and accurate outcomes in cricket matches.

Australia’s resilient batting effort, led by Steve Smith and bolstered by Todd Murphy’s late counter-attack, helped them post 295 in response to England’s 283. The closely fought contest between bat and ball set the stage for an intriguing third day of play in the crucial Ashes Test match.

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