Steve Smith is on the verge of his worst Test summer in 13 years having been dismissed for just six runs against the West Indies as Australia's top order was rattled on Friday. Australia cleaned up the tail of the West Indies on day two of the day-night Test at the Gabba, with the visitors posting a strong 311 total.
And while many would have expected Smith to bounce back after a lean run of form this summer, the newly crowned opener was walking back to the pavilion having scored only six runs. Smith has endured a below par summer for his standards having only scored 206 runs at an average of 34.33 across five Test matches.
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Smith made the daring move having taken David Warner's position as opener in the series against the West Indies. However, he hasn't impressed so far having scored 12, 11 not out and six. Smith has only scored one half-century this summer (50 in the second Test against Pakistan), and if he isn't able to pass 54 in the second innings in Brisbane, it will mark his lowest best score for an Aussie summer in 13 years.
Unfortunately for Smith, he might not even have the chance to bat again with rain expected to impact play over the weekend. Smith's average has also dropped to 57.48, which is the lowest it has been since 2016.
To make matters worse for Australia, Smith's move to allow Cameron Green to bat at No.4 also hasn't added anything to the team with the all-rounder also struggling. While Smith has struggled, the rest of the Aussie team has not fared any better with the top order crumbling against the West Indies attack under lights.
Smith moved too far across his crease and was given out lbw on review to the last ball of Kemar Roach's first over. Then Marnus Labuschagne was out for three when he was caught the very next over by a diving Kevin Sinclair catch at fourth slip off Alzarri Joseph.
Roach then dismissed Travis Head down the leg-side for a golden duck, before Green drove a ball straight to Kraigg Braithwaite at cover. Australia were 4-50 and struggling, and although Usman Khawja, Mitch Marsh and Alex Carey found some runs, they were still well behind at 7-161 at tea.
Marsh went for 21 off 20 balls, before Carey made a quick-fire 65 off 49 before holing out in the deep. Cricket fans were left pondering whether Smith would stay at opener and Green at No.4 heading into the New Zealand tour next month.
The Steve Smith / Cam Green experiment has about 48hrs left#AUSvWI
— Thomas Orr (@iamtomorr) January 26, 2024
Steve Smith and Labuschagne.
Their averages will drop to 40s at this rate.
— yang goi (@GongR1ght) January 26, 2024
No disrespect to Steve Smith, but clearly the selectors have got it wrong to open the batting! Should of put Bancroft in - time for new selectors that actually have a clue
— Drew Semmens (@drewie_5) January 26, 2024
Steve Smith is not an opener and Cam Green is not a number 4.#AUSvWI
— Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) January 26, 2024
Steve Smith can’t open the batting, he’s better off at 4 and that’s what you get for overlooking Bancroft.
— Michael Soh (@mick_soh) January 26, 2024
The end came quickly for a guy very reliant on hand-eye like Michael Clarke, is the same going to happen for Steve Smith?
That wicket was very very ugly #AUSvWI
— Sam Walker (@samuelsays11) January 26, 2024
I thought Australia should have picked a real opener in Cameron Bancroft however I thought for sure Steve Smith would make 1000 runs in this series. #AUSvsWI
— David Lithgow (@lithgowflashman) January 26, 2024
— CricExpert (@_cricexpert) January 26, 2024
Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc hit out at pink ball
The Aussie bowlers appeared frustrated on day one with the pink ball, which left Nathan Lyon calling for day-night matches to be limited to the Adelaide Oval. "This is just my opinion, I feel like the right venue for pink Tests is Adelaide Oval...this wicket, I think it'd be a brilliant red ball wicket," Lyon said.
Lyon wasn't the only one who commented on the ball and pitch. Starc admitted Adelaide appears to be the ideal location for the day-night conditions. "The ball is what it is; I think it comes down to the wicket, which I think Adelaide has got right," Starc said of the South Australian venue.
While the Aussies appeared frustrated, the West Indies bowlers appeared to have no issue on day two having ripped through the top order. Joshua Da Silva admitted he was surprised the ball remained rather subdued for the most part on day one. "The pink ball does funny stuff," he said. "It may not have not done much today, but it does funny stuff at times. You never know what could happen."
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