Steve Smith has been enjoying an impeccable cricketing summer at home against India. The former Australian skipper scored back-to-back centuries in the first two ODIs against Virat Kohli & Co and currently the top-scorer of the tournament with 209 runs.
In the second ODI on Sunday, Smith smashed 104 off 64 balls and was adjudged as the Player of the Match after Australia outplayed India by 51 runs. It was the second time in three days that Smith had brought up a remarkable ton.
Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne was in awe of Smith’s batting and heaped praises on the latter’s match-winning knock. Labuschagne was surprised that Smith completed his century in 62 balls despite not taking any risk in the second ODI.
“That was one of the best innings I’ve seen in one-day cricket, not only from Steve but from anyone. I think the way he batted yesterday was superb. It almost felt like he didn’t give an opportunity, didn’t really take any risk, but he got a hundred off 62 balls. When someone’s doing that, that’s kind of scary,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Labuschagne as saying.
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The duo of Labuschagne and Smith had stitched a 136-run partnership for the third wicket which helped Australia piling up a mammoth total of 389-runs.
“It was really nice to build that partnership with him, 136. It was just nice to keep ticking it over and we were really busy through that middle part when we came together. Then towards the back end Steve really took the game on and that’s how we got 390. They’re two very big scores in the last two games, thanks obviously to Steve,” Labuschagne said.
Meanwhile, David Warner has been ruled out of the limited-overs fixtures against India due to a groin strain and will miss the remaining white-ball matches.
D’Arcy Short, who last played a T20I in February 2019, has replaced injured Warner in the T20I squad. The Big Bash League’s leading run-scorer in 2017-18 and 2018-19, Short has been brought into the squad as a like for like left-hand power opener for Warner.
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Also, pace spearhead Pat Cummins will miss the remaining of the limited-overs fixtures against India to have some rest until the opening long-from game at Adelaide Oval from December 17.
Australia gained a 2-0 unassailable lead in the three-match ODI series on Sunday and will next meet India in the dead rubber on Wednesday.
(With ANI inputs)