Steven Smith is magic; he wears a magic hat. When he saw the long-on fence, he said: "I'm having that."
When your middle name is something as great as Devereux, then you are surely destined for greatness. Although Smith started off as a bowler who was also a handy bat, his bowling has taken a big backseat in recent years.
He brought up his maiden ton off 241 balls on Thursday, it took him almost nine-and-a-half hours to get there, but it was so worth it. Smith's approach is everything but conventional. From the aggressive slogging, including the heave for six to bring up his ton, to the sheer disregard for everything that traditionalists like to see. Smith was helped by a lot of poor bowling from England, but he is starting to show that he is an invaluable asset to the Aussie team.
Consistency in selection is something which surely has helped Smith. Despite not even featuring in the original Ashes squad, Smith has now become somebody you cannot imagine the Australian team without .
Much like Shane Watson on Wednesday, Smith found the right mix of leaving the bad balls, rotating the strike and whacking fours and sixes off anything that was remotely bad. His knock is perhaps not that much of a surprise, though.
Smith already has five 50s in 11 Tests, and he's scored seven tons in first-class cricket, where he averages 41.81. There is nothing extraordinary about him, and he has often been ridiculed during the Ashes, with a few pundits saying that "he is not a Test match player." Yet only Michael Clarke has passed 50 more in Tests this year than Smith.
Smith is averaging 42.25 on this tour already, one of just four Australians who have managed to achieve that feat. He's also one of just five players to manage that. England have just one batsman—Ian Bell—who averages over 40.
Entertaining, naive and somewhat reckless at times, Smith's knock was pure fun. And since he is apparently quite the joker in the team, that perhaps isn't too much of a surprise.