Aussie cricket superstar Steve Smith has written another incredible chapter on his love affair with The Oval after blasting a 31st Test century at the famous ground to help his side take a commanding position against India in the World Test Championship final. Smith (121) and Travis Head (163) propelled Australia to 469 in their first innings, before the Aussie bowlers ripped through India's top order to leave them 5-151 at stumps on day two.
Smith had already broken several records on day one, with he and Head becoming the first batters to score a 100+ and 200+ partnership in the WTC final. He also took his Test average at The Oval past 100, joining Don Bradman and Rahul Dravid as the only three players to average more than a century (having scored 400+ runs) at two or more grounds. Incredibly Smith has achieved this at three.
On day two, more milestones came Smith's way, with the 34-year-old equalling Joe Root's all-time record of nine hundreds against India, having scored 2000 runs against the cricket powerhouse alone. Smith also matched the extraordinary feat of Steve Waugh by scoring a seventh century in England, with the incomparable Bradman (11) the only visiting batter with more tons.
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) June 8, 2023
Smith is now just one century short of Waugh's 32 Test centuries, with Ricky Ponting (41 Test tons) the only Aussie above them on the all-time list. The way Smith has started his campaign in England and with five Ashes Tests to follow the WTC final, few would bet against Smith at least equalling and perhaps passing Waugh's record on this tour.
The second day of the World Test Championship final was just three balls old when Smith clipped a second consecutive juicy leg-side half-volley from Mohammed Siraj to the boundary to complete another landmark in his remarkable career. It also saw him become the second-quickest player in Test history (170 innings) to score his 31st Test ton after Sachin Tendulkar (165).
Steve Smith's 'absurd' record in England
Smith's staggering record at England now stands at 1,038 runs at an average of 115.33, which includes seven centuries and three fifties. The remarkable display from the Aussie superstar - labelled by India rival Virat Kohli as the greatest Test player of this generation - was described as "absurd" and "incredible".
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 8, 2023
— CricBlog ✍ (@cric_blog) June 8, 2023
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 8, 2023
His test numbers are insane. Take a bow Steve smith. pic.twitter.com/j3TidLGbOr
— Divya (@_divyarathod) June 8, 2023
— Anunay (@Anunay_Aanand) June 8, 2023
Steve Smith's records in Test Cricket is just Unbelievable.
The GOAT of Test Cricket. pic.twitter.com/LVdkRJsLPu
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) June 8, 2023
Scott Boland 'legend' grows in blistering spell
Smith's heroics came as Scott Boland put forward an irresistible case for Ashes selection as the pick of the Aussie bowlers on day two. The Victorian finished the day with 1-29 from 11 overs, having nipped a ball back extravagantly from outside off stump to bowl Shubman Gill for 13 in the middle session
Boland, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Cameron Green and Nathan Lyon all took a wicket each for Australia on Thursday, giving them the clear upper hand at The Oval, but it was Boland who was Australia's best. He has been the most economical bowler in the world for the past two years, again sent down four maidens on day two and added to his legendary status.
The wicket was Boland's first overseas, with the quick bursting onto the scene during the last Ashes series in Australia, where he took 6/7 from just four overs against England in the Boxing Day Test. At The Oval, the wicket of Gill was the quick's 29th of his Test career and incredibly pushed his average back under 13. His incredible spell helped the Aussies take the upper hand in the final, with India trailing by 318 heading into day three.
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