November 18, 2018
Europe

‘I just love batting’: Skipper Smith shines through Ashes tedium

If you think Steve Smith looks like a man obsessed with batting, you would be right.

The Australian captain, fresh from yet another century, was content with his team's draw, frustrated with a pitch that offered nothing to anyone and — like all of us — enamoured with his own game.

Smith batted for the entirety of day five, closing play at 102 not out after a score of 76 in the first innings and a mountain of runs already this summer.

And his love of the craft is evident.

"I'm enjoying my batting, I just love batting at the moment," Smith said.

"I was pretty chilled out today. It was a bit of a shame really we had to call it off really, I was enjoying it out there.

"I'm in a nice place mentally, I'm comfortable with my game.

"I'm mixing up a few different things with my feet and hands every now and again to different bowlers and just ensuring I have really good plans to each of the bowlers."

Smith became the third century maker of the Test after David Warner's day one effort and Alastair Cook's record-breaking double century.

MCC issues statement after pitch criticism

Stuart Broad looks on as Steve Smith urges against a run at the MCG.

The Boxing Day Test of 2017 will be remembered as a tedious, non-competitive affair due almost entirely to a pitch that refused to relent to the pressure of five long days of Test cricket, remaining a dream for batsmen and a recurring nightmare for bowlers.

So scathing was the criticism, the MCC was forced into making a statement to address the issue after play.

"While this pitch did produce a good contest, it has not contained the bounce and pace that we expected," MCC chief executive Stuart Fox said in the statement.

"As the game progressed, the surface did not deteriorate nor bring the level of unpredictability that was anticipated.

External Link: Ashes top scorers

"We will take on board feedback from the players, umpires and cricket bodies, as well as our own observations."

Smith joined in the chorus of frustration around the wicket, even though it helped him add to a sparkling batting record.

As Smith correctly pointed out, his innings could have continued for many days on a pitch like that.

"I think it needs to have at least something in it, a bit more pace or the ability to break up so it spins, just something," Smith said.

"It was just completely flat for five days, and I think if we played the next two days it would have played the same again.

"The only thing that came into play was reverse swing but the ball just got so soft so quickly, it was so hard to get people out."

External Link: Fourth Ashes Test, Australia v England scoreboard

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