Steve Smith was the man to lead the team in the absence of regular skipper Pat Cummins, who went home to support his ailing mother. And on a track where the home side fell flat, Smith’s men emerged triumphant.
As it is known already that Smith is not captaining the national team for the first time. He led the Baggy Green team to 34 Tests between 2014 and 2018 before the infamous ball-tampering saga perplexed Australian cricket. He was removed from the leadership role but after his return, he was given the job of vice-captain.
Since Pat Cummins’ handling the captaincy role, Smith has led twice in Tests and added while captaining the side in Indore. Whether Cummins will return or not is still unclear, if he does not, then Smith will be doing the job again. The third Test without a win would have made their passage to the World Test Championship final a bit difficult. But as expected, they became the first team to qualify as a finalist.
Knowing how Australia faltered badly in the first two Tests, the third Test also did not go according to the visitors’ wishes, at least for a while. Smith lost the toss and Rohit Sharma’s men batted first. In a nick of time, Australia skittled out the batters, then they themselves faced another collapse before Nathan Lyon‘s eight-wicket haul saw the Aussies marching bravely back to the game, for they had to chase 76 runs only, which they did quite easily.
What stood out in the third Test, apart from Lyon’s 11 scalps, was Smith’s captaincy. He is certainly one of the shrewdest thinkers of the game.
“I really enjoyed this week. I like captaining in this part of the world. I feel like I understand the conditions really well and the intricacies of the game,” Smith said in the post-match presentation.
When the reporters insisted he should say something about captaincy after the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Smith said: “My time as captain is done. This is Patty’s team.“
The 33-year-old then said his favorite place to captain his side in India. “Look, India is a part of the World I love captaining. “It’s a game of chess, every ball means something. It’s good to just move people and try to make the batter do something different and just play games with them. It’s probably my favorite place in the world to captain.“
Smith became the only fourth captain apart from Ian Johnson, Richie Benaud, and Adam Gilchrist to win matches in India. His first Test as a captain also come against India over eight years ago. Australia have a chance to tie the Test in the fourth one, starting March 9.
Gouri Das is a cricket writer at FirstSportz. Despite always being a sporty kid, she disliked being inactive in one place for a long time to watch a match. But after the Ind vs Pak match of the 2016 Asia Cup, she rather got glued to the TV screen. That year she watched the major cricket tournaments, WWE matches, and the Olympics (especially Usain Bolt's races). After reading about the big names in tennis and becoming an ardent follower, she dreams of visiting Wimbledon one day.
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