The Ashes 2019 – Second Test, Day 3: SPD Smith transcends to Wonderland

“at any rate, there’s no harm in trying.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


It’s fair to say that SPD Smith, 13 not out, now operates beyond the reach of human influence. He bats now in a kind of “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” Double A Side zone. His behaviour at the crease has more than a bit of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart about it. A bit of “what-do-you-mean-you-can’t-hear-these-notes-in-your-head?” A bit of “I-might-just-compose-a-symphony-this-very-morning-what-about-you?”


Last night in wintery Melbourne we lay on the couch as the Australian men’s XI played the England’s men’s XI in Test match cricket at Lord’s.

A significant life joy.

Any story is as simple or as complex as you make it. For the buds, this was all about lying on the couch and laughing (“Who’s winning?!” “Is this live or a replay?” “If it’s summer why is he wearing a jumper?”). For others, this was Day 3 of the Second Test of six, with Australia leading the series 1-0. It was Australia resuming at 1/30 in reply to England’s 258. It was about CT Bancroft and UT Khawaja trying to survive the morning; trying to see off debutant JC Archer and the ever-young SCJ Broad. And it was mostly about batting Renaissance figure SPD Smith.

Last night we indeed got to see the great SPD Smith waddle to the crease.

And while SPD Smith’s fidgets and shuffles, his steps and flourishes have always been noteworthy, at Lord’s on Day 3 it appeared that he now lives on another level. How this has happened, who can say? Is it related to his international cricket ban? Who knows?

Living only with what is, watching SPD Smith leave the ball last night was mesmerising. He has only faced 40 balls for 13 runs, as rain washed out the second and third sessions of play. But I can’t remember a more entertaining nor telling 13 not out being played in Test cricket.

And yeah, he will be dismissed. Or not. For now let us watch genius at work. Genius that cannot be explained.

This is Leonardo da Vinci considering inventing a flying machine, or maybe painting a portrait.
This is Salvador Dali lying on his studio floor, surrounded by burnt out candles.
This is Alice slipping down the rabbit hole to her Adventures in Wonderland.

Play, SPD Smith. Play.


“How long is forever?
Sometimes just one second”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland




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About David Wilson

David Wilson is a hydrologist, climate reporter and writer of fiction & observational stories. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and likes to walk around feeling generally amazed. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. I have never seen Smith leave balls with such flourishes, like arrogantly waving a rapier in some kind of sword fight. Was he taking the piss?

  2. Perhaps he was conducting the Barmy Army. Were they there last night – I didn’t hear them or am I just plain deaf?

  3. BJ- it’s tempting to say it was “unbelievable.” But anything seems possible with SPD Smith. Extraordinary.

    Fisho- I very much enjoy the muffled background “rhubarbrhubarbrhubarb” of the Lord’s crowd so far.

  4. Calling in here two days later.
    With SPD Smith having been struck on the side of his head by a thunderbolt from JC Archer on Day 4.
    And fallen to his knees. And fallen then to lie face down on the ground.
    And to have retired hurt on 80*, and to have returned to the field to bat again.
    And to have stood plumb in front of his stumps on 92 and shouldered arms to a ball that would have hit middle stump half way up.
    And for SPD Smith to have been retired from the game due to delayed onset concussion.

    Cricket itself seems flippant and trivial.
    I am aware of gushing reports of the Lord’s Test – stories of drama and heroics. And yes, there was cricket drama and cricket heroics. But personally I am stuck on SPD Smith’s blow to the head and on SPD Smith’s wellbeing.


    I hope he will be alright.

  5. I too hope he will be OK. Those idiots that kept persisting in booing him should have been ejected from the ground – never to return. t’s just no cricket (booing that is)

  6. No ill will toward SPD Smith but I keep thinking of the England 75/76 team that Thommo and a young (pre back injury) Lillee reduced to jibbering fools. Dennis Amiss was a world beater until then.
    Smith might need to spend some time with Steve Waugh who had to learn how to cope with short stuff as there is no doubt he will be peppered now. Found the flaw in his technique which was all at sea against Archer’s pace and bounce. Will get himself seriously hurt if he keeps stepping inside, not moving and taking his eye off it.
    Siddle and Hazlewood are same same. Series will become a bouneathon, so we need to be able to fight fire with fire. Khawaja opens and Labuschagne plays. Need to find a new short leg.

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