It is difficult to remember when was the last time Steve Smith was in bad form in Test cricket. At his lowest, Smith was still piling runs. After averaging 53.75 in 2021, Smith averaged 58.40 in the following year and in the New Year Test against Australia in Sydney, he piled on yet another one to ensure the legend about his consistency is grown even further.
On Thursday, Smith overcame the record of Sir Donald Bradman’s record of 29 Test centuries and is now level with Matthew Hayden and behind Ricky Ponting (41) and Steve Waugh (32) in terms of scoring Test centuries for Australia. While the high doesn’t seem to end, Smith stated that he is taking one series at a time and doesn’t even know for how long he would be able to continue.
“I really can’t say how long I’ll play for, I’m not sure. Take it one tour at a time, enjoy it, enjoy training and trying to get better. Whilst I’m doing that I’m happy playing, but don’t know how long it will last,” Smith said in the press conference following the second day’s play in Sydney.
“It’s [about] trying to get better, help the team win games of cricket. Think we’ve played some really good cricket the last 12 months…we’ve got two really big hurdles in front of us with India and the Ashes. For me, it is trying to get better and trying to help some of the other batters coming through.
“It’s not going to be perfect every time,” he said. “So when you aren’t feeling as good as you’d like you just try to grind it out, get through that initial period then hopefully things get easier. I didn’t feel great my first 60-70 balls, I reckon, then things started to click and feel a lot better. Pleased I was able to get through that initial period.”
With Australian cricket going through some sort of transition, they have a lot more young players in the squad and Smith has taken over the role of a mentor for them. Given he has been the designated vice-captain of the squad, things have been pretty much in sync.
“I still try to help Marnus [Labuschagne] as much as possible, [Travis] Head, Cameron Green, Matty Renshaw, Marcus Harris…try to impart as much knowledge of conditions and ways to go about. If I can say something and you see that lightbulb go on and someone figures something out I get a big thrill out of that. I’ll try and help them as much as I can,” Smith said.