West Indies debutant Shamar Joseph has dismissed Steve Smith with his first ball as a Test cricketer to put a dampener on the Aussie's much lauded move to opener. All eyes were on Smith on Wednesday after Australia dismissed the West Indies for 188 after Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ripped through the batting line-up.
For the first time in his illustrious career, Smith opened the batting having taken over from David Warner after his retirement earlier this month. Smith has been keen for the new challenge and the opportunity to carve out more history at Test level, but his much-hyped shift came crashing down at the hands of debutant Joseph.
'SAME EXCUSES': Glenn Maxwell and Shane Warne called out in ugly drama
GOOD TO SEE: Cricket fans delighted by Meg Lanning development
Smith was on 12 runs when the fast bowler took the ball after the opening spell. And Joseph delivered with his very first ball. Smith chased the offside delivery and the extra bit of speed prompted him to edge it to second slip.
The West Indies erupted with joy for Joseph having taken a dream debut wicket of one of this generation's best batters. "That will go down in the record books for that young man," Brendon Julian said in Fox Sports commentary. Ian Bishop described the wicket as a 'fairytale' for the young bowler.
Jospeh is just the second West Indian debutant to take a wicket with their first ball in Test cricket since Tyrell Johnson in 1939. Jospeh then took the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne with a classy bouncer caught on the boundary. For Smith, it marks a poor start to his new challenge as opener after still only scoring one half-century this summer.
Smith's average has now fallen below 58 for the first time since 2016. Smith deserves plenty of time and respect for his decision to move up the order to allow Cameron Green to slot back into the starting XI at No.4. However, many fans felt Smith's struggles might continue up the order after his first experience against the new Kookaburra.
Not a great start for Steve Smith as an opener pic.twitter.com/egYwcVuTbV
— Cricketopia (@CricketopiaCom) January 17, 2024
Matt Renshaw development stuns cricket fans
Meanwhile, the decision to allow Matt Renshaw to leave the squad and play for the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League this Friday has confused fans. Renshaw was selected to join the Aussie squad for the series against West Indies as the reserve batter.
While many felt Cameron Bancroft should have been in the squad, his selection did cause backlash. And now, Renshaw confirmed he will be leaving the squad on Friday to play the game against the Adelaide Strikers. Cricket Australia later confirmed the news and said Renshaw would return on Saturday morning.
This will leave Australia without a recognised batter in the squad in case they need a concussion substitute. Australia have needed to use two substitute concussions in the past, one in which saw Labuscghange come in for the injured Smith against England in the Ashes. This kickstarted Labuscghange's long-run in the Test side.
Interesting, how is this allowed?
— Flagmantle (@joodoff) January 17, 2024
With Matt Renshaw being released to play for the Brisbane Heat, I believe that leaves Australia without a batting concussion substitute. I’m going to Rebel after play to buy some gear and head to the nets in the morning and put up my hand. It might be my big chance!
— Adam White (@White_Adam) January 17, 2024
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.