Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has been in awe of Steven Smith after his century in the first Test at Gabba and feels the young captain will rewrite the history books.
Waugh is the latest addition to the long list of former Australian skippers namely, Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, Greg and Ian Chappell, who have showered heaps of praise on Smith after his patient unbeaten knock of 141 in the first Test against a quality bowling attack.
The 52-year-old Waugh, who is the third highest run-getter for Australia in Test cricket, termed his successor as ‘incredible’.
“He’s almost going to rewrite the history books the way he is playing, 21 centuries in 57 Tests – and he didn’t do so well in his first 10 or so. He’s got an insatiable appetite for runs, a bit like (Sachin) Tendulkar and Ponting. The great players just want to keep scoring runs, they love batting, and that’s what he does well. He concentrates well, overcomes plans well and just when you think you’ve got him in a weak moment he’ll find a way out of it,” Waugh was heard saying to the reporters.
England was too defensive with Smith, as they bowled well outside the off-stump hoping that he will make some mistakes. However, Smith didn’t give a single chance and scored the slowest hundred of his career.
England’s prolific wicket-taker James Anderson admitted Smith made all the difference between the two teams and suggested some unique strategies to tackle him.
“You’ve almost got to take him out of the picture when you’re bowling. Because if your eyeline is watching him and what he’s doing then I think it really distracts you from where you want the ball to go. You’ve got to really try and almost blank him out and really focus on where you want the ball to go,” Anderson stated.
However, Waugh feels Australia could miss a seaming all-rounder at the end of the series.
“Ideally you would want someone who can bowl in the top six, That’s probably a bit of a gap, but the guys are resilient. I guess maybe the third, fourth, fifth Tests is where it might show up if the frontline bowlers are tired. If you’ve only got four bowlers, you’ve got to bowl the quicks at least 20 overs a day, and that’s a big ask. If England bat well and bat long, then the guys are going to be a bit tired. So you’d want some overs from Steve Smith or someone like that at some stage,”
Waugh concluded, whose medium-pace gave much-needed breathing time to the main bowlers.