Steve Smith was happy to step up once again when his side needed him in the ongoing fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Saturday. Despite being the dominant side, Australia were struggling at 44-4 in their second innings on Saturday. Smith scored a 92-ball 82 in their second-innings in which Australia declared at 186-6. This left England with a huge target of 383 to win the Test as well as to keep the hopes alive of winning the Ashes series.
“When it is tough you want your experienced players to step up,” Steve Smith said to the reporters after the fourth day. “I have played quite a lot of cricket now. I like to get in those situations and try to be the one to take the team through.”
England’s second-innings faced an early setback when Australia speedster Pat Cummins took two wickets in two balls to remove Rory Burns and captain Joe Root in the ducks. While England were 18-2 at the stump, Australia need eight more wickets to win. If they win, they will retain the Ashes as well.
Smith, who scored a double-century in Australia’s first innings of 497-8 declared, has now scored 671 runs in five innings of this ongoing Ashes, at an average of 134.2 which included three centuries.
“My first 20 or 30 balls, I felt pretty vulnerable when they (England) were bowling that good length,” he expressed. “Patty hit it beautifully tonight, I think that ball to Root is a blueprint of what we need to do tomorrow, first thing in the morning, and the quicks to keep hitting that top of the stump length and let the pitch do its thing.”
On the other hand, England coach Trevor Baylis said England have the ability to keep the series alive. However, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they are able to do it as Ben Stokes‘ heroics sealed the deal for them in the last game.
“It’ll take a couple of our guys to make good hundreds but, as we saw in the last Test, anything is possible,” he added. “I’m always positive, I think we can do it. We’ve had a chat in the changing room, we’re certainly not going out thinking it’s all over. They believe they are good enough to bat for 98 overs and save the game.”