Australian captain Tim Paine believes that it is the ability to interpret and counter rival tactics in real time is what Steve Smith the best in the world.
Smith scored 144 and 142 to set up Australia’s 251-run win, breaking the Edgbaston voodoo in the process. The 30-year-old now averages a whisker under 63 in Test cricket – the second-highest average behind Sir Donald Bradman’s 99.94 among players who have batted 50 times – and has amassed 1116 runs at 139.5 in his last 10 innings against England.
“Steve Smith averages over 60 in Test cricket, so I think the beauty of Steve is you can come up with a plan but he’s good enough to adapt really quickly,” Paine said in Worcester on Friday in the wake of Australia’s drawn tour match at New Road.
“I’ve seen him do it between balls, I’ve seen him do it when guys have targeted him from one end a certain way and a completely different way from the other end.
“I think that’s what makes him the best player in the world, his ability to adapt to any plan that is thrown at him.
“I think he processes it quicker than other players and adapts on the spot.”