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Steve Smith scores century in second ODI, Mark Taylor comments

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor says a desire to re-claim his position as the world’s best batsman has spurred Steve Smith’s fantastic start to this summer.

After claiming that he had “found his hands” days before the ODI series against India, Smith reeled off back to back one-day centuries for the first time in his career.

Smith’s two rapid tons were the first time an Australian batsman had made consecutive ODI centuries since David Warner back in 2016.

While Taylor doesn’t subscribe to the theory that Smith has gone to another level, he says there is one thing the Australian star does that no batsman has in his time watching the game.

“I don’t think he’s gone to this other level, but he bats like no one else,” he told Wide World of Sports.

“He has very much his own technique and I think he tends to see the ball earlier than any player I’ve seen and he is able to manufacture shots that most players can’t play.

“For him it’s all about focus and determination and I think when he is absolutely focused and determined, that’s generally when he’s playing the best opposition, he is at his very, very best. We have seen that in the last two years in his game.

“Very few players that I’ve seen play like Steve Smith does, but he has a technique that he’s able to use very effectively.

“He must be an absolute nightmare to bowl to, I’m not sure many players or many captains around the world know where to bowl to him.”

Taylor suggested that Smith often played his best when he was being doubted.

“If you look at Steve Smith in the Ashes last year when he made 770-odd runs in three-and-a-half Tests when the chips were down and he was just back in the team and people were booing him, he was just zeroed in,” he said.

“He wanted to show the world the type of player he is and he showed the world then.

“When he came back and Australia played Pakistan, all of a sudden he didn’t make that many runs because he came in at 2-400 every time. When Australia didn’t absolutely need him, all of a sudden people are asking questions again.

“His form in the IPL wasn’t as good as everyone thought, is he good as we all think he is? I think he has just shown in the last 48 hours that he is.”

Not known as a big-hitting batsman, Smith’s 209 runs in the first two matches of this series have come at an astounding strike rate of 162.01, almost double his career ODI strike rate.

The only player in one day cricket history to score at a faster rate against India is Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, who scored 211 runs at a strike rate of 172.95 back in 2005.

Coming in after yet another mammoth opening stand, Smith got to work right away, expertly working the ball all over the ground.

After scoring the fastest century of his one day career on Friday night, Smith fell one ball short after Marnus Labuschagne slipped when Smith attempted to run a two when on 98.

However, his innings was cut short just overs later when he was caught at fly slip off a slower ball from Hardik Pandya for 104 off just 64 deliveries. Smith’s innings included 14 boundaries and two sixes.

Smith’s brilliant knock spurred Australia to a formidable first-innings score of 4-389, with India requiring 390 to tie up the three-match series at 1-1.

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