Whenever Steve Smith comes out to bat in the Ashes contest, it is expected that he will score a century. In the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval, with England dominating with the ball on day two, Smith was once again the lone warrior as he smashed yet another fifty and gave Australia hope. However, on 80, he missed a incutter from Chris Woakes and was trapped LBW and he was denied a ton. Oddly, such has been Smith's dominance in the series that his 80 is his lowest individual score. However, it was still enough to create a new world record. Smith's score was his 10th consecutive fifty-plus score against England and it is the most by any individual against a team. Before the Oval Test, Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan had nine consecutive fifty-plus scores against England from 2001 to 2006 and Smith had levelled the tally with his double century at Manchester.
Smith's run streak against England has been phenomenal and it all began from the 2017/18 Ashes contest in Australia. After a century in Brisbane, Smith was dismissed for 40 and 8 in the Pink Ball Test but from the Perth Test onwards, he was in sublime form. Smith blasted 239 in Perth, followed by 76 and 102* in Melbourne and 83 in Sydney. In Edgbaston, Smith hammered 144 and 142 followed by 92 in Lord's. After missing the Leeds Test, Smith smashed 211 before missing out on a century at The Oval.
During the course of his knock, Smith became the third Australian after Sir Don Bradman and Mark Taylor to smash over 700 runs in an Ashes series. After this innings, Smith has 751 runs at an average of 125. Mark Taylor blasted 839 runs in the 1989 series while Bradman's feat of 974 runs at an average of 139.14 in the 1930 series remains the highest-ever in history.
With one more innings to go, Smith has the potential to break Mark Taylor's record but it would require something special for Australia to avoid defeat at The Oval Test and ensure they win a series in England for the first time since 2001.
Jofra Archer was the star yet again while he was given good support by Sam Curran as England managed to bowl Australia out for 225 and get a vital 69-run lead. Archer took 6/62 while Curran picked up 3/46 as England looked to draw the series and end their summer on a high.