What’s the story?
Australian coach Darren Lehmann has expressed his elation at the way his men fought against the No. 1-ranked Test side in the recently-concluded series. Lehmann heaped praise on the Australian team, specifically on the Aussie captain, Steven Smith, and complimented his recent batting exploits by calling it ‘Bradman-like’.
"He's been brilliant. He's been unbelievable. He's been Bradman-like with the bat but all the stuff behind the scenes has been exceptional. Really pleased for him and what he's brought to the team as a leader. The way they've gone about it has been impressive,” Lehmann was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
In case you didn’t know...
Before the commencement of the series against India, the team from Down Under was totally written off by most of the critics in spite of them heading into the series on the back of a 3-0 whitewash over Pakistan.
In the series against Pakistan, Smith top-scored with 441 runs which included 2 hundreds. He extended that run of form against the Indians as he churned out three tons in four Test matches to become the highest run-getter of the series with 499 runs.
The heart of the matter
Smith has scored six centuries in his last eight first-class appearances, however, despite his scintillating form, the Aussies were edged out 2-1 by hosts India in one of the most enthralling Border-Gavaskar series of recent times.
Coach Lehmann, who has been in charge of the Australian team for nearly four years, has seen Smith growth as a cricketer. In addition to his batting exploits, Lehmann was impressed with the way the Aussie skipper marshalled his troops on the field, claiming that the 27-year-old is different from the rest of the captains as he has his own identity.
After the end of a long home season, the attention will now turn towards the shortest format of the game with the IPL set to begin from the 5th of April. To everyone’s surprise, captain-cool MS Dhoni was axed as the captain of Rising Pune Supergiant and replaced by Smith. The Aussie will be determined to overturn his IPL fortunes and taste success in his first stint as captain.
The 27-year-old Smith has already notched up 20 international Test tons and has performed admirably against all opposition. Smith, along with Kohli are the only two players who have attracted comparisons to the game’s legends lately. While the former’s run with the bat is exceptional, it is still far from being ‘Bradman-like’.