Regarding exceptional fielding, Steve Smith’s name is always at the forefront. The Australian cricketer has earned a well-deserved reputation for his agility, athleticism, and ability to pull off stunning catches. Once again, Smith showcased his brilliance on the field during Day 2 of the second Ashes Test between Australia and England.
The moment occurred in the 46th over of England’s innings when Joe Root, the English captain, got a top edge off a short ball from Mitchell Starc. Initially, it seemed like the ball would fall short of Steve Smith, who was positioned at backward square leg. However, Smith displayed remarkable anticipation and sprinted forward to attempt the catch. With a diving effort, he caught the ball in his right hand. Although the ball momentarily popped out of his hand, Smith managed to clutch onto it and complete the catch.
The catch was referred to the third umpire for confirmation, and after careful deliberation, it was ruled in favor of the Australians. Smith’s incredible fielding skills again left spectators in awe of his abilities.
Australia tactfully capitalized on England’s commitment to playing aggressive cricket, particularly employing the hook shot, often associated with Brendon McCullum’s ‘Bazball’ style of play. The Australian bowlers strategically set a trap by bowling bouncers and placing four fielders deep on the leg side. This tactic was hard to ignore, almost like neon lights illuminated it.
Despite England initially being in a favorable position at 188 for 1, chasing Australia’s first-innings score of 416, they suffered a setback and slipped to 222 for 4. Australia’s disciplined bowling and smart field placements significantly influenced England’s downfall. Notably, Australia’s spinner, Nathan Lyon, was off the field due to a calf injury, further showcasing the team’s ability to adapt and maintain control.
At the end of Day 2, England finished at 278 for 4, still trailing by 138 runs. The match poised delicately, with Australia maintaining an advantageous position.