Steve Smith has done it again.
Arguably the world’s best batsman, the Aussie superstar showed why he’s also one of the greatest slips fielders, with an outrageous catch on day two of the first Test against New Zealand.
The difficulty of the take was one thing but the fact Smith’s classic grab removed the Black Caps’ most important player, captain Kane Williamson, made it even more momentous.
Early wickets from Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood - who then limped off the field with a hamstring injury after bowling just eight deliveries - left the Kiwis reeling.
Much of the tourists hopes rested on the shoulders of Williamson and Ross Taylor, after the Aussies had set a solid 416-run total in their first innings.
However, Smith extinguished any thought of Williamson coming the visitors’ rescue, courtesy of a highlight reel moment that will live long in the memory.
Standing at second slip, he dived full-length to his right and clutching the ball one-handed after Starc drew Williamson's edge on 34.
The spectacular take sent social media into overdrive, with many viewers calling it the ‘catch of the summer’.
"SUPERMAN STEVE SMITH"— Umair (@imumair10) December 13, 2019
Bonkers one hand catch from Don Jr. I dont care if Indians, English & Africans call him cheat all life. I am proud to have this gem playing and representing Australia💛💛 #AUSvsNZ #AusvNZ
Best catch this century?— Reggie Pryer (@ReggiePryer) December 13, 2019
Stunning 😍— Aman Ullah (@Aman_300) December 13, 2019
man's a super human. can do anything on a cricket field— Basket case (@lazyesque) December 13, 2019
Catch of the Summer..one of the best slip fielder in the world...SMITH... https://t.co/Dq4tHj0ToB— BALAKOTIREDDY MULE (@BALAKOTIREDDYM4) December 13, 2019
Holy moly that's up there with the best catch I've seen #Smith— steven hunter (@hunts337) December 13, 2019
STEVE SMITH THAT IS THE BEST CATCH IVE EVER SEEN MY GOD— Thomas Norsell (@TNorsell) December 13, 2019
Catch of the summer in Australia— M. Adam Anees (@adamanees) December 13, 2019
Catch of the winter elsewhere
Catch of the year!
By stumps, Starc had picked up four wickets as New Zealand slumped to 5-109, with Hazlewood's injury souring Australia's dream night in Perth.
Blistering Aussie start stuns Kiwis
Australia flew out of the blocks, with Starc and Hazlewood leaving the Black Caps struggling a 2-1 under lights in reply to their 416.
Following the injury to Hazlewood, the tall quick was immediately sent for scans and Australia were still awaiting the result at stumps, leaving them with just two frontline quicks.
It was the subplot to a dramatic final session, which saw Starc take 4-31 and Taylor offer New Zealand's main resistance on 66 not out.
Australia remain in a dominant position given their 307-run lead, but must pick up the required 15 wickets to win in the final three days with Matthew Wade as their third quick.
New Zealand also have a pace problem, with Lockie Ferguson ruled out for the match with a calf strain and the mercury tipped to edge 40 on Saturday and Sunday.
The pink ball is also far trickier to face under lights than it is during the day, as New Zealand learned the hard way on Friday evening.
Starc got Tom Latham in the first over of the night, when extra bounce had him popping a leading edge back to the bowler.
Jeet Raval departed in the next over, after Hazlewood swung one back between bat and pad to take out his middle stump.
Smith would have had Williamson removed on 13 if he had his way.
The Black Caps superstar edged one behind off Pat Cummins, with Smith the only man to hear it as no other Aussies appealed.
He would of course soon have his man though.
Starc then finished the night in style, when Henry Nicholls edged one down the legside on seven before yorking nightwatchman Neil Wagner first ball.
Marnus Labuschagne's third straight century had earlier set up Australia's Test, as he went from 110 to 144 on Friday before he lost his leg stump to Wagner.
The 25-year-old barely offered a chance in his previous 239 balls, before he stepped inside one that swung and moved past his legs and into the stumps.
He was one of Wagner's four scalps as the left-armer finished 4-92, while Tim Southee also had 4-93.
Meanwhile Travis Head again failed to turn a half-century into a big score when he hit Southee straight to cover on 56, marking his sixth score between 50 and 100 for just one century.
Tim Paine also hit 39 off 105 balls, ensuring Australia would have the new ball under lights.