‘Smith wasn’t treating Stokes right’

Overton bowls a back of a length delivery. The delivery was good, but you cannot call it great. Labuschagne knows it’s good for him as well. He waits on it, slams. A beautiful late-cut behind square. It was a shot of confidence. The man who has left most of the deliveries made up his mind to go for it. A beauty.

A small meeting between the players of England while Labuschagne points out something to Smith. Maybe he was telling Smith to hit through the covers. Maybe they were betting on themselves, challenging each other. You should have seen them both play and you’d agree too.

***
Smith wasn’t treating Stokes right. Every time Stokes walks in, to bowl, Smith would go across, way too much. He takes the strike from 5th stump and still picks the gap everywhere on the field. Stokes isn’t perfect to bowl him as well or was he absorbing all the mistreatment just to give it back?

***

Smith takes the strike now. Against Stokes. Stokes runs, comes close to the stumps. Smith, who was watching Stokes with the bat on-air, starts to move across. When Stokes bends down to bowl, Smith reaches the fourth-fifth stump. His right leg is facing the point with the back end of his shoe is in line with the off-stump. The left shoe is facing the covers, moves a bit forward when Stokes delivers the ball.

The ball comes to Smith as if it was dead already. There was nothing. Planned by Stokes, it looks as if it is escaping from Smith. I mean how much the ball can take too?

Smith squats, sees the ball. The ball falls just a few inches inside the pitch. It is not going to be easy for a normal batter to reach there, but it’s Smith. He is ready and has already triggered his bat. He was waiting.

As the ball slowly comes towards him, Smith releases the trigger, bends his bottom hand, goes out to reach the ball. As he drives, the ball takes away his balance. Through the movement, his right leg moves from facing the point to the covers. His left moves towards the mid-off. Then comes off, goes in the air, makes an almost ninety-degree movement. The leg now points the mid-wicket. His right leg goes down, on his knee, reaches the ground as he watches the ball goes past the fielder.

As he goes down on his right knee, his hands move up, ends where it started, behind his helmet. Watching the ball kissing the boundary line, he loses his balance, falls front and his hands touch the ground. Smith stands up, goes to Labuschagne who is all smiles. Smith wasn’t. He looked as if it was just the beginning. He looked at his dressing acknowledged by shaking his bat, telling them that how you get things down and shakes hands with Labuschagne who is doing the same as Smith.

Smith did not stop there. He goes past his minimum score of 100 once again the next day. Possibly on this teacher’s day, he is teaching everyone a lesson of how to take on the England bowlers at their den. He doesn’t sit on the top of rankings for nothing, right?