Will the 19 years wait comes to an end today? A question on everyone’s lips. Seeing the first day, who would have thought that England vs
Australia, the first Ashes Test in Edgbaston, will pan out like this. England had it in its grip, but it has let it slip.
Credit: The Quint
For the first time in years, at home, England has looked out of sorts. The absence of swing in the atmosphere coupled with Jimmy Anderson’s calf injury is hurting the World Cup holders. It is funny to see how a month gap can change the complexion of a team. From being the best in the world to getting all-out on a poultry sum of 85 against a resolute Ireland to toiling hard against Australia to save an unpredictable test match; It has been a roller coaster ride for this team. It will take a considerable effort from the Three Lions batsmen to get the team over the line. With the pitch deteriorating and spongy bounce on offer, the game is Australia’s one to lose.
However, the real highlight of the first ICC Test Championship has to be Steve Smith. A wise man once said that champions are hard to keep down; and, the way Steve Smith has performed is proof of that. Back in the Baggy Green after 16 months following the ball-tampering controversy, Steve Smith made sure that Australia remains in the game despite losing wickets on the other end.
Credit: Stadium Astro
He was the guiding force behind Kangaroo’s modest 284 total in the first innings, and, in the second innings, he unleashed himself in almost similar circumstances to reach his record-breaking 25th test hundred. It is fair to say that both the innings are of the highest order.
Not only that but also, he has now put Australia in the pole position to win the game. A mammoth total of 39
8 with hunting Aussie bowling line await the host. Though Smith got substantial support from Mathew Wade and Travis Head in the second innings yet this match will be seen as Steve Smith’s heroics in the days to come; if Australia wins this test match in Edgbaston then certainly, Steve Smith’s name will be written in gold in the elite list of Baggy Green holders.
It is always difficult for a player to return from a ban and perform this way. The hostile English crowd was at its best. Booing, showing the sandpaper and of course, the sarcastic banners; David Warner succumbed to the hostility but not Steve Smith. He grinded himself, for every run he stole. It will be fair to say that Steve Smith has written his own manual of boos to hoots in a very unique fashion. Commendable, isn’t it?
Now, the more realistic task in front of England is to bat right through for a draw, with first-innings centurion Rory Burns and Jason Roy successfully navigating seven overs before stumps. Howbeit, Australia is riding high on Smith’s hundred and will be eager to finish the task of winning a Test in Edgbaston after 19 years.