Many former cricketers have raised questions on the decision but Munaf Patel feels if management has taken decided there shouldn't be any "ifs and buts."
Australian batter Steve Smith with his unbeaten knock of 85(149)* took him past many records on the first day of the second Test match of the Ashes 2023 series against England.
The 34-year-old batter completed 15,000 international runs today. Out of the 41 batters to have done so to date, his current average of 49.67 is bettered only by India’s stalwart batter Virat Kohli (53.44). He also completed second fast 9,000 runs in 174 innings in the Test format. Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara is on the top of the list by completing 9000 runs in Test with 172 innings. Current Indian head coach Rahul Dravid holds the third position by achieving the milestone in 176 innings. Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting are tied for the fourth position by achieving the milestone in 177 innings.
Although, Steve Smith is the fastest in terms of the number of matches taken (99), surpassing Lara, who had reached the mark in his 101st Test.
Finally, he completed another unique reward by achieving the most consecutive 50-plus scores at Lord’s in Tests. He has struck four 50-plus consecutive scores. He is now level with Frank Woolley (1921-1926), Warren Bardsley (1912-1926) and Nasser Hussain (2001-2002) who have also struck four consecutive 50-plus scores at Lord’s.
Coming back to the match, Smith started the session by smashing Ollie Robinson for a four on the very first ball. Smith-Labuschagne brought up their 100-run stand as well.
The partnership ended at 102 runs after Labuschagne was caught behind by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow on an Ollie Robinson delivery. He scored 47 in 93 balls, which consisted of seven fours. England was 198/3.
Australia crossed the 200-run mark in 56.1 overs with help of a cracking boundary from Travis Head. Head continued with his attacking game, smashing Robinson for four boundaries across his two overs. Smith brought up his half-century in 102 balls, his fourth successive fifty-plus score at The Lord’s and his 38th fifty in Tests. With Head smashing boundaries at the other end, Australia raced to the 250-run mark in 63.2 overs. Head-Smith also completed their fifty-run partnership.
Head got more aggressive after reaching his half-century, helping Smith and himself reach a 100-run partnership in just 104 balls.
Australia brought up their 300 runs in 71.3 overs. The 118-run stand between the duo came to an end after Head was stumped by Bairstow for 77 off just 73 balls, consisting of 14 fours. Joe Root got his first wicket. Australia was 316/4. Root got his second wicket in the over as he dismissed Cameron Green for a duck. Australia was 316/5 at that point. James Anderson took a catch at mid-off.
Alex Carey was next up on the crease. Carey and Smith made sure that Australia made it to through the day without any further loss of wicket. A 94-run partnership between Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne put Australia in a commanding position at the end of the second session during the first day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Wednesday.