12 years after SCG gave another wall, Rahul Dravid, a standing ovation for breaking the duck after 40 balls, the folks from Sydney were at it once again, this time for one of their own. The crowd erupted after Smith finally took a run after 39 balls, with even the Aussie cheekily acknowledging it.
Milestones, especially for a batsman, are always fun, as more often than not, it invokes a fine round of applause from the crowd, who acknowledge the efforts the player has put in. But does it necessarily have to be scoring a fifty or a century or a double century? Well, not necessarily, at least for Steve Smith.
Heading into this Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, there was tremendous pressure on the Aussie maestro, who had registered scores of 85, 7, 43, 16 and 36 in the series, getting out to Neil Wagner on all four occasions. So unsurprisingly, as soon as he walked out to the middle, stand-in skipper Tom Latham threw the ball to the workhorse Wagner in hope of dismissing Smith cheaply yet again.
But as it turned out, Smith brought out to the middle a patience game that New Zealand were not prepared to play. First, he dodged bouncers from Wagner from all over the wicket, whilst keeping them to ground, something he’d not been doing all series. Then, he carefully negated the spin of both Todd Astle and William Somerville and on a few occasions, even missed out on putting away dollies. One dot turned into two, two turned into three and soon the count was up to THIRTY EIGHT. New Zealand waited and waited and waited hoping Smith would eventually lose patience, but he never did.
And the moment of reckoning for Smith finally came on the second ball of the 40th over – which was incidentally his 39th delivery – when he dabbed a Wagner delivery towards the on-side and took off for a quick single. As soon as the homeboy made his way towards the other end, the SCG crowd knew what’d just happened and in unison, erupted thunderously. A person just receiving just the audio feed might think that the reaction was invoked by Mitchell Starc taking a hat-trick but no, all there was to it was Steve Smith getting off the mark – after 39 balls.
And as the crowd erupted, Smith, too, saw the funny side of it and acknowledged them, invoking laughter throughout the ground. The bowler, Neil Wagner, let out a smirky laugh and gave Smith a tap on the shoulder. The incident was, in fact, reminiscent to Rahul Dravid receiving a similar round of applause at the very same ground back in India’s 2007/08 tour, when he got off the mark after 40 balls.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi