27 March 2015
Smith shines as Australia’s new Star
Smith’s summer has seen him captain his team at both ODI and Test level, break a long list of batting records and win Australia’s top individual honour, the Allen Border Medal
Smith never offered a chance as he seemingly cruised his way to fourth ODI ton off 89 balls – his seventh century in any format since November last year.
While other batsman at times scratched for runs, contended with ferocious fast-bowling spells and handed wickets away through the tournament, Smith has looked as though he was batting on a different wicket to anyone else at more than one stage.
Again, at the SCG in the semi-final, Smith never offered a chance as he seemingly cruised his way to fourth ODI ton off 89 balls – his seventh century in any format since November last year.
Even when in the ‘nervous nineties’, a time during which other batsman might slow down and approach a milestone with care, Smith blasted a six and a four to bring up three figures.
It was a knock which earned the praise of skipper Michael Clarke after Australia’s commanding 95-run victory that set up a trans-Tasman show down with the Black Caps on Sunday.
“I can't speak highly enough for the way he's batting at the moment,” Clarke said.
“He's showing his class.
“But most importantly, I think the one thing I've learnt through my career is getting into good form and scoring runs is a fantastic feeling, but still, to go to training the next day to work on your game, to try and become better, is one of the hardest things to do in this game.
“That’s what I've been really proud of. He's still training extremely hard, still getting there early, still doing the work even though he's batting so well.”
The century added another chapter to Smith’s fairy tale summer.
Smith’s summer has seen him captain his team at both ODI and Test level, break a long list of batting records and win Australia’s top individual honour, the Allen Border Medal. Considering Smith was left out of Australia’s playing XI for its first ODI of the summer, it is an exceptional rise.
He posted centuries against South Africa in November and England in January,as well as four centuries during the Test series against India.
His World Cup has included knocks of five against England, batting at No.4 in the absence of Clarke, and four against New Zealand at No.5, before he moved to No.3 for Australia’s clash with Afghanistan. Since then, he has scored 95, 72, 65 and 105.
In his last 12 ODI innings, Smith has scored 812 runs at 81.2 with a strike rate of 96.4.
When a place in the World Cup final was on the line on Thursday, the 25-year-old never faltered.
Coming to the crease with Australia in a spot of bother at 15-1, he looked calm and confident as he scored 11 fours and two sixes on his wayto his first World Cup century.
“I'm just happy where everything is at the moment,” Smith said after the match.
“I guess preparation has been key. I'm doing the same thing over and over again, and trying to stay on my innings the same way every time.
“It's working at the moment and hopefully continues to do that on Sunday.”
With Australia’s last and biggest test of the summer still to come in Sunday against a rampant Black Caps outfit, it goes without saying Smith will be called upon to step up again.
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