Steve Smith became the fifth Australian player to hit centuries in both innings of an Ashes contest. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Steve Smith enjoyed a tremendous resurgence back in the Australian Test team after being out for 15 months due to the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in March 2018. Smith blasted 144 in the first innings and rescued Australia from 122/8 to 284. In the second innings, Smith became the fifth Australian to score a century in both innings of a Test match and the first after Steve Waugh in 1997 to achieve the feat in England as Australia registered a remarkable turnaround and won the match by 251 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Smith's feat of scoring two tons in the same Test has helped him surge to number three in the latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen. He has also gone past 900 points and he is behind Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, who both have 922 and 913 points respectively. Australian spinner Nathan Lyon's nine wickets in the match have lifted him six spots to the 13th position among bowlers. Pacer Pat Cummins has consolidated his top position with a seven-wicket match haul that helped him reach a career-best 898 rating points, the third-best for an Australia bowler in the past 50 years after Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
Speaking after scoring his century in the first innings, Smith had said he did not believe he would play cricket again during the 15 months he was away from the game. "There were times throughout the last 15 months where I didn't know if I was ever going to play cricket again. I lost a bit of love for it at one point, particularly when I had my elbow operation. It was really bizarre that it was the day I got the brace off my elbow, I found a love for it again. I don't know what it was, it was like a trigger that just said 'right I'm ready to go again, I want to play and I want to go out and play for Australia and make people proud and just do what I love doing'," Smith said.
Australia won the opening Test of the Ashes for the first time since 2005 and they will be in good confidence heading into the second Test which will be played in Lord's on August 14.