‘That makes him a modern great’ - Sanjay Manjrekar explains Steve Smith’s biggest strength

"Steve Smith has just one overwhelming & unique strength that makes him a modern great. Sensational ‘ball sense’," Manjrekar tweeted.

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Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo Source: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Steve Smith has saved Australia from many precarious situations in the past and Day 2 of the fifth Ashes Test at Kennington Oval was no different. After England were bowled out for 283, Australia looked good to get a decent first innings lead as they were placed at 91/1. However, wickets fell quckly as the tourists found themselves reeling at 185/7.

The onus was once again on Smith, who played a tremendous knock under pressure, registering his 38th Test fifty. He formed a crucial 54-run partnership with skipper Pat Cummins before departing for 71 off 123 balls. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar noted that Smith's sense of where the ball is coming makes him one of the greatest batters of the modern era.

"Realised again, watching him bat yesterday. Steve Smith has just one overwhelming & unique strength that makes him a modern great. Sensational ‘ball sense’. The bat finds its way down at the right time & place to make a glorious connection no matter where his feet are. #Ashes," Manjrekar tweeted.

Steve Smith's controversial run-out call

Meanwhile, Smith survived a tight run-out call when he was on 44 on the second day. Attempting a risky double, the batter had to put in a big dive as Jonny Bairstow dislodged the bails, with the third umpire referred to make the decision. Smith started walking towards the pavilion after seeing the replays on the big screen.

However, third umpire Nitin Menon eventually deemed that the bails did not come off the groove completely. Notably, it seemed that keeper Bairstow had disturbed the bails before collecting the ball properly. As a result, Smith survived and went on to add 27 more runs to his score before being dismissed by Chris Woakes. Later, Pat Cummins and Todd Murphy forged a vital partnership of 49 runs before the latter departed as Australia ended up taking a 12-run lead.

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