The Ashes 2019 – First Test: Has Steve Smith Won Our Aussie Hearts back?

Ask me last year, what I thought of Steve Smith and I honestly would have turned my back on you.


In an article that I wrote for MCC Balcony Banter “BOXING DAY TEST- DAY 2, 2018: The Cape Town Three and the MCG” I attempted to put my pain into words and sum up exactly how many Australian felt in the midst of darkness last year:


“Australian Cricket hurt me. It hurt more than just me. It hurt every one of us who for years and generations, have proudly respected and supported the sanctity of the Baggy Green.


The actions of “The Cape Town Three”, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft damaged the great name, history and tradition of our team and all that has been good in Australian cricket.


Nine months ago, if you had asked me, I would eulogise about former-captain Steve Smith. I would’ve told you how his leadership was something all Australian’s should aspire to. I’d say things were finally on the right track; the Australian team seemed to be clicking well, Smith and Warner were the best third-wicket batting partnership in world cricket and we played the right way, in the right spirit.


Sure, things weren’t perfect, but we played the game hard but fair.


Or so I thought…


So, I lost faith. We all lost faith…”


I wasn’t wrong. That was my raw emotion in words. I was bitterly disappointed, I felt like we as a collective nation should break away from those actions, create a clear division between us and them.


And it’s been a hard few months for the state of Australian Cricket. There has been hesitation and disappointment- from welcoming the Cape Town Three back all the way to the upsetting end to the World Cup.


We lose Warner early. This cannot be an early omen. He should’ve reviewed it, it was absolutely down leg side. It was missing stumps. Australia collectively slumps.


Bancroft follows shortly after, caught behind by Broad. Then Khawaja. What is going on?


Enter Steve Smith. He is drowned out by boos and I understand why. If anyone from England did what the Cape Town Three did, we’d be on their backs just as hard, if not harder.


He looks unsettled, but for a mere few minutes. The crowd seems to settle and Smith just ploughs away.


Everyone seems to fall around him. But he is stable, his bat is secure and suddenly we Aussies see some glimmer of hope.


He belts 16 fours and 2 sixes. He plays with ease, as if everything that has torn him down over the past year has finally begun to build him up.


103 off 184 balls. His 100thrun comes of a beautiful shot for four. That’s the old Smith. Our Aussie boys jump up in jubilation and relief.


The camera pans to Smith, his chin down, taking deep breaths, before he jumps and swings his bat in glorious fashion.


I can’t help but smile.


He has single-handedly rescued our floundering side on day one of the Ashes at Edgbaston.


Sure, it’s the start of the whole series and yes, there’s still a long way to go.


But witnessing what we all did last night, with Steve Smith doing what he does best, I can’t help but wonder…


Has Steve Smith won our Australian hearts back?




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About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for AFL VICTORIA and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media), the Mongrel Punt and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. She also appears on North West FM 98.9 radio show. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!


  1. Ben Guidera says

    Good stuff. It was certainly a great innings by Smith!

  2. Anna, after Warner and Bancroft shared the BOOby prize, it was Smith to the rescue. After a slowish start, and with a little help from Head, Siddle and Lyon,Smithy did his side proud. Now its up to the bowlers – I can’t wait for tonight to see what Cummins, Pattinson and co can come up with.

  3. Mark Duffett says

    I think the answer’s yes, Anna. He’s back. Even if you thought it would take something extraordinary for that to happen, that’s what last night was. Sean Mortell is not wrong in assessing it among the greatest Test hundreds ever made.

    Having said that, he should still never captain again.

  4. Keiran Croker says

    Yes Anna. From over here at Edgbaston it was a privilege to see a remarkable innings from Smith … one of his best. I don’t think he should ever captain us again though there are many ways to show leadership. And yesterday to stood up and delivered.

  5. If not in the first innings, then surely in the second? A feat achieved by only 4 other australians! How good that?

    He has paid a much higher price than any other ball tamperers from South Africa, England and West Indies (bottle top scratchers, mint in mouth, dirt in pocket et al). He has done the crime, served the time and, in my view, that’s it. the penalty does not have to go on for ever. Even jailbirds get released, papers stamped, all over. He didn’t even actually tamper with the ball, he apparently walked past the plan to commit the crime, for which I agree he should be punished.

    Hands up all those who have never made a mistake.

  6. Great comments Bucko, I agree 1000 percent. I couldn’t have put it better – go to the top of the class. The Barmy Army should stick to their booze and forget their boos.

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