As Steve Smith tucks the ball off the back foot and scrambled through for a single, the crowd in the stadium erupted, the commentator on-air got excited, and the bowler patted on Smith’s back. No, it was not Smith getting to another milestone. It was Smith’s first run of the innings after playing 39 balls in the third test between Australia and New Zealand.
Coming into bat in the 28th over after David Warner’s dismissal, Smith stayed on nought until the 40th over of the Australian innings. Owing to the discipline shown by New Zealand bowlers, Smith could not score for 46 minutes and 38 balls. This was the by far the longest ever in his career. The last time he had to wait for a notable period of time before getting off the mark was back in 2014 against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 3, 2020
Smith eventually scored a hard-fought 63 off 182 balls, before Colin de Grandhomme dismissed him with the second new ball. His 156-run partnership with Marnus Labuschagne for the third wicket ensured Australia had a good first day. Labuschagne remained unbeaten at 130 at the end of the day along with Matthew Wade as Australia’s score read 283 for 3.
Steve Smith did a Rahul Dravid
Back in 2008, legendary Indian batsman, Rahul Dravid, had once taken 40 balls to get off the mark. In a series that is remembered for the monkey gate incident and the umpiring howlers, Dravid had come into bat at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and wasn’t able to get his first run. The crowd kept growing impatient, but Dravid remained as calm as you’ll ever see him, and got his first run off the 40th ball.