Some don't agree with Steve Smith being made captain of the Australian Test side again, but the captaincy certainly agrees with him.
Commentators were left scratching their heads on Saturday during the second Ashes Test when Smith took Cameron Green out of the attack just one over after he'd claimed the prized scalp of Joe Root.
'ALL CLASS': David Warner praised amid 'disastrous' Ashes moment
For the second Test in a row, young all-rounder Green dismissed the English captain, getting him to edge one to Smith at slip on 62.
However just one over later, Smith took Green out of the attack and brought back spearhead Mitchell Starc.
“I’m shocked Cameron Green has been taken off,” Mark Waugh said in commentary for Fox Sports.
“He’s bowling beautifully. Why take him off?”
Brett Lee added: “I would have given him one more at least.”
But Smith's decision turned out to be a tactical masterstroke as Starc dismissed Dawid Malan in the ensuing over, also caught by the Aussie captain at slip.
Commentator Isa Guha described it as an “inspired change”, while Lee said Smith was a "genius".
“Look what I know, seriously,” laughed Waugh.
Adam Gilchrist later added: “Steve Smith can do no wrong back in a leadership position in this Australian team. 93 and outstanding catching.”
The dismissals of Root and Malan triggered a collapse of 8-83 for England after a 138-run stand by the English batsmen.
Starc's 4-37 helped create an England capitulation, going from 2-150 in reply to Australia's 9-473 declared to 236 all out.
Smith then opted not to enforce the follow on as Australia went to stumps at 1-45 after David Warner was the victim of a mid-wicket mix up on 13.
Steve Smith is a genius. Excellent bowling change. Good catch as well. That was at an awkward height. #Ashes
— Patrick Gray (@PatrickM_Gray) December 18, 2021
Taking Green off is a weird decision by the skipper. Cue Starc taking a wicket and we’ll call Smith a genius! #Ashes
— Skippy Johnston 🦘 (@LukeAFoley) December 18, 2021
Nothing against cummins. He has potential to be a great captain but I am loving smith’s captaincy ….how I missed his captaincy #Ashes
— Ash Lee (@aussiegal_19) December 18, 2021
— Deependra (@Impace07) December 18, 2021
Steve Smith's incredible record as Australian captain
Smith's tactical genius in the field came after he scored 93 with the bat on Friday to continue his astonishing run-scoring when Australia's Test captain.
Smith took the captaincy for the Adelaide Test when skipper Pat Cummins was ruled out after being deemed a close contact of a Covid-19 case.
His elevation back to the Test captaincy for the first time since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal has been criticised by the likes of Shane Warne and Ian Chappell.
But in Adelaide proceeded to do what he does best when Test skipper: make runs.
Smith has registered 15 of his 28 Test centuries as captain, averaging 70.79 while skipper - up from his overall career average of 61.65.
His average as captain is the second-highest of any Test leader in history, behind only Sir Donald Bradman who averaged a mind-blowing 101.52 when leading Australia in 24 Tests.
Bradman scored 14 tons in his 38 innings as skipper, while Smith's 15 centuries have come from 61 knocks.
In the overall scheme of things, Australia has eight batsmen in the top 20 of captains ranked by Test batting average.
Behind Bradman and Smith come Greg Chappell who averaged 55.38 as skipper, Bob Simpson (54.07), Steve Waugh (52.31), Michael Clarke (51.92), Ricky Ponting (51.51) and Allan Border (50.95).
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