[Watch] Bairstow Takes A Fantastic Running Catch To Send Smith Back To The Hut
Steve Smith departed after a valiant 71 (Twitter)
The Day 2 of the fifth Ashes 2023 Test at London's Kennington Oval saw the heroic performance of Australian batter Steve Smith meet an untimely end at the hands of England pacer Chris Woakes.
Smith departed after putting Australia in a secure position
Smith came into bat with Australia at 91/2 as the visitors sought to bridge the gap to England's total. The right-hander stepped up to the plate and his crucial innings was instrumental to their survival.
From the crack of dawn on Day 2, England pacers bowled relentlessly, leaving the Australian batters no respite. Against these odds, Smith stood tall and commenced his vigil at the crease, determined to lead his team from the front.
After the lunch break, however, the game took a dramatic turn. The dismissal of Usman Khawaja caused a worrying chain reaction, with Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, and Mitchell Starc walking back to the pavilion in quick succession.
This sudden collapse saw Australia teetering on a knife-edge at 185/7, staring down a 98-run deficit against England’s first innings total.
However, Smith fought back, stitching a 54-run partnership with captain, Pat Cummins which curtailed England's lead to a more manageable 44 runs. However, in a bid to take on the bowlers, Smith chose to play a high-risk shot in the over which led to his dismissal.
Woakes delivered a good length ball and Smith, in an attempt to launch the ball across the line, ended up hitting a thick top edge towards the slip cordon.
England wicketkeeper, Jonny Bairstow, chased the ball with exceptional agility running back and pouched it safely. Thus, the curtains fell on Smith's gallat 71-run innings off 123 balls, which included six boundaries.
At the time of this report, Australia is positioned at 241/8, still lagging behind by 42 runs. Cummins, steady at 25, and Todd Murphy, yet to get off the mark, hold the fort. Australia will be banking on their tail-enders to scrape together some pivotal runs, while England will aim to close out the innings promptly to secure a useful lead.