Australia vs England: Ashes Player of the Day - Steve Smith

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Smith's unbeaten 92 led Australia's charge on day two.

Just when one thinks Steve Smith cannot get any better, the Australian skipper produced another masterclass of an innings to give the hosts the edge.

The 29-year-old looked on song once again on the second day of the third Ashes Test at the WACA as he put together an unbeaten innings of 92 runs.

Smith’s superb knock put Australia in a strong position when stumps were called at the end of the day with the hosts well placed at 203-3 in reply to England’s first innings total of 403 runs.

The Australian captain and No.1 ranked Test batsman in the world was in full flow at the WACA as England’s bowlers once again failed to find any slight chink in his armour.

Here, we look at the key talking points of Smith’s display.

COUNTER-ATTACKING AT ITS VERY BEST

England’s total of 403 might have been a 100 runs short than what they would have wanted ideally but it was a daunting score nevertheless.

Australia were in a slight spot of bother early into their reply as they lost both openers in quick succession. With the hosts at 55-2, England were in with a chance to inflict further damage on the Aussies but Smith came flying out of the blocks as he counter-attacked England’s bowlers with gusto.

He scored at a strike-rate of well over 80 for the most part of his innings before playing with caution in the last couple of overs of Friday.

Smith was at his fluent best in a counter-attacking innings.

Smith was at his fluent best in a counter-attacking innings.

DEALING IN BOUNDARIES

The right-handed batsman was in cruise control throughout the day as he found boundaries at will. He launched into the cover drives when England pitched it up and pulled and hooked with aplomb when they pitched it short.

Out of his 92 runs on the day, 62 of them came in boundaries as he collected 14 fours and a sole six.

BACK TO WHERE IT ALL STARTED

Smith’s transformation from a leg-spinner who could bat a bit to one of the leading batsmen in the world has been nothing short of extraordinary.

He had a modest start to his Test career and it was in 2013 where there was a momentous shift in his batting.

Four years ago at the same venue, Smith incorporated a change in his batting technique against the same opposition as he racked up his second Test ton. The Australian’s slight shift to the off-side as the bowler releases the ball was first seen in that particular Ashes Test and he would go on to score 111.

Since then, there has been no looking back for Smith who has gone on to rack up 21 Test hundreds and is on course to make it 22 come Saturday morning.

Smith had changed his technique in the Perth Ashes Test of 2013.

Smith had changed his technique in the Perth Ashes Test of 2013.

SMITH’S AWARENESS OF MIND

The Australian skipper was on the receiving end of a nasty bouncer from Craig Overton early into his innings.

The delivery took off after pitching on one the cracks on the WACA pitch and hit Smith on the helmet. The blow caused Smith to lose his balance but even then the Aussie showed brilliant presence of mind.

The ball was rolling towards the stumps after hitting Smith and he struck out his bat mid-fall to avert the danger.

Smith prevents the ball from rolling onto the stumps.

Smith prevents the ball from rolling onto the stumps.

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