Steve Smith takes 39 balls to score first run of 2020

Australia batting star Smith struggled for 43 minutes before getting off the mark with a quick single that almost ran Marnus Labuschagne out.

Steve Smith takes a quick single to get off the mark in the opening day of the third Test against New Zealand in Sydney.   -  AP


Steve Smith struggling to score a run is a rare sight in international cricket.

On the opening day of the third Test against New Zealand in Sydney, the star batsman took 39 balls and 43 minutes to get off the mark; turning a lot of heads in the cricket fraternity around the globe.

He eventually registered his 29 Test half-century, and the first in 2020. But it wasn’t a usual Smith knock — 63 off 182 balls. Even his first run, a quick single off a Neil Wagner delivery by pushing it towards square-leg, almost ran the in-form Marnus Labuschagne out.

READ| Labuschagne, Smith put Australia in command

In nine-and-a-half-years of Test cricket, the only other time Smith struggled was against India in 2014. He had taken 18 balls to get off the mark in Melbourne. He had finished on 192.

Smith has hit the purple patch since his return from the ball-tampering ban. He dominated the Ashes in England, despite missing a Test with an injury. His tally of 774 runs in four matches was the fifth-highest aggregate ever in an Ashes series, falling 200 short of Sir Don Bradman’s tally in the 1930 series. Smith has 11 centuries in The Ashes. Only two batsmen have more hundreds in Ashes: Don Bradman (19) and Jack Hobbs (12). Smith has scored 11 tons in 48 innings and averages 65.11 in The Ashes. The modern day run machine has racked up more than 7000 runs in 73 Tests with 29 fifties and 26 hundreds.

At stumps, Australia was comfortably placed at 283/3 with Labuschagne unbeaten on 130.

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