If you thought Steve Smith’s ultimate insult was smashing the Poms all over the park across three remarkable Tests, you’d be wrong.
The Aussie superstar has lorded over the English bowlers throughout The Ashes series with a supremacy not seen since Bradman and, adding insult to injury, celebrated retaining the urn by taking the mickey out of bookish-looking tailender Jack Leach — in the middle of Old Trafford, no less.
At least that’s what it looked like. Encircled by his ecstatic mates, Smith donned a set of spectacles and shadow-batted left-handed, mocking the hapless No.10, who scratched and prodded around for more than an hour, facing 51 balls for 12 runs in a fruitless battle to save the Ashes.
Steve Smith just been taking the piss out of Jack Leach by putting on glasses and shadow batting left handed in the middle of the team huddle.
— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) September 8, 2019
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Leach, of course, infamously (or famously, if you’re English) helped teammate Ben Stokes manufacture a remarkable win in the Third Test with a 73-run unbroken partnership — of which he made a solitary run.
He went from hero to zero in the space of a Test, now famously (or infamously if you’re English) finding Smith’s edge in the first innings when he was 118, the Aussie gun gobbled up in the slips by Stokes. The only problem was, the spinner overstepped the mark and was called for a no-ball, Smith summoned back to the crease to continue on, plundering another 93 runs and set up the victory.
Leach is apparently aware of the optics (see what I did there) of his forays to the batting crease, often having to stop to clean his glasses as Cummins and co tried to take his head off.
“I know I look stupid when I’m out there,” Leach told Sky Sports after the Third Test.
“I had to make sure my glasses were clean, because I wouldn’t want to be facing up with the drips of sweat coming down.”
Of course, Smith has a few more follicles to soak up the sweat, a better eye — and a lot more batting talent.
Oh, and he’s clearly got more gags too.
For the record, Smith has hammered a remarkable 671 runs in just five innings at the ludicrous average of 134.2, with three centuries and two 50s.
He has more runs than any Test batsman in 2019 — 131 more than second-best Stokes, who has had nine more innings at the crease.
On to The Oval where hopefully there are more Aussie celebrations in store.