Steve Smith's consistency has simply been amazing in the ongoing 2019 Ashes series. In the entire series, his lowest score has been 80 and it happened in the last match at The Oval when he was trapped LBW by Chris Woakes. In the second innings, with Australia requiring a mammoth 399 runs for victory, Broad got the wickets of David Warner and Marcus Harris. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne looked to stitch a solid stand but Jack Leach had Labuschagne stumped. At lunch on the fourth day, Australia still had Smith at the crease and they were hoping for a miracle.
However, Broad produced a ball that ensured the series would be drawn 2-2. After seven innings, Smith was finally undone for a score less than 50 and his streak of 10 consecutive fifty-plus scores had come to an end. Batting on 23 and facing Broad in the 27th over of the innings, the bowler bowled a short ball at the ribs of Smith. This bodyline tactic hurried Smith and he glanced the delivery to leg gully only for Ben Stokes to take the catch.
Thus, Smith ended the 2019 Ashes with 774 runs at an average of 110.57 with three fifties and three centuries. In the first Test at Edgbaston, he had hit 144 and 142 while in Lord's, he managed 92 after battling out with Jofra Archer and being forced to retire hurt after being hit on the side of the neck.
After missing the final innings of the Lord's Test and the Leeds game due to a concussion, Smith returned and managed to score 211 and 82 in the Old Trafford Test as Australia won the match and retained the Urn. In the final Test, he was dismissed for his first score of under 50 but he has created plenty of records in the process. Smith ended up as the fifth-highest run-getter in a single Ashes series behind Sir Don Bradman (twice), Wally Hammond and Mark Taylor.
Bradman's world record tally of 974 runs was achieved in 1930 and it is unlikely this record will be broken. Hammond smashed 905 runs in the 1928/29 series Down Under while Taylor smashed 839 runs in his very first series in England in 1989. Bradman was at the forefront again with 810 runs in the 1936/37 series which Australia won 3-2 after trailing 0-2.
However, his tally of runs has matched that of former India great Sunil Gavaskar, who hit a similar tally of runs in the same amount of Tests during the 1971 tour of the West Indies. After missing the first Test, Gavaskar played the second Test at Port of Spain and scored 65 and 67 as India won the Test by seven wickets. In the third Test at Georgetown, Guyana, Gavaskar hit 116 and 61. In the fourth Test at Barbados, Gavaskar was dismissed cheaply for 1 but responded with a brilliant 117 in the second innings as the Test ended in a draw.
In the fifth Test at Port of Spain, Gavaskar's legendary consistency reached a different level as he hit 124 and 220 to help India win a series in the West Indies for the first-time ever. Smith's efforts might not be enough to help Australia win a series in England after 18 years but his batting has ensured the Ashes Urn remains with Australia for a further couple of years.