Smith blocks out jeers and warns of more runs to come

Monday, 27 May 2019 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

LONDON, (REUTERS): Chants of ‘cheat’ accompanied Steve Smith as he came out to bat against England on Saturday but the Australia batsman was unfazed by the hostile reception and says he is focused firmly on maintaining his form ahead of the Cricket World Cup.  

Australia's Steve Smith celebrates his century - Action Images via Reuters

Smith, who was stripped of the captaincy and served a 12-month ban for ball-tampering, scored a century in Australia’s 12-run win over England in a warm-up game in Southampton, continuing his run of good form since returning to the side. 

The 29-year-old scored 89 not out and 91 not out against New Zealand in warm-up games in Brisbane earlier this month before scoring 116 from 102 balls on Saturday. 

Prior to his ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal during a test series against South Africa, Smith had scored 383 runs in 15 One-Day Internationals innings at an average of 29.46, well below his career average of 41.84. 

“I was actually a little bit disappointed with my One-Day form (before the ban),” Smith told reporters. “So it was nice to spend a bit of time in the middle. 

“But I’m not reading too much into it. They are just practice games but hopefully I can keep up the form as we head into the real stuff. 

“I am feeling composed and calm at the crease and hitting the balls I want to, to the boundary. Hopefully I can keep it up.” Smith’s composure did not slip even when the home crowd heckled him over the ball-tampering scandal. 

“I heard a few things when I went out to bat but it didn’t get to me,” Smith said.