2017 Ashes: Australia captain Steve Smith slammed for 'inexplicable decision'

By @saihoops on
2017 Ashes, Steve Smith
Cricket - Ashes test match - Australia v England - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia, December 4, 2017. England's Chris Woakes appeals successfully for LBW to dismiss Australia's captain Steve Smith during the third day of the second Ashes cricket test match. Reuters / David Gray

Australia captain Steven Smith has come under flak for his decision not to enforce the follow-on during the third day's play of the second Ashes Test match at the Adelaide Oval. After Australia bowled out England for 227, the hosts collapsed to 53/4 at stumps Monday in the inaugural day/night Ashes Test.

Though Australia have a 268-run lead with 6 wickets remaining, retired greats Shane Warne and Mark Taylor believe Smith missed the opportunity to ask English batsmen to face the seaming new ball under floodlights.

“It’s hard not to think if Australia did enforce that follow-on, say the situation is the same, Australia had England 3/50 they would have been 165 runs ahead and they would have only needed seven wickets tomorrow. I would have batted again. Seeing it was under lights with a pink ball I think it was the perfect opportunity to enforce the follow-on. Australia missed an opportunity," Warne said on television commentary, via news.com.au.

2017 Ashes: Australian bowlers not consulted by Smith

Aussie quick Mitchell Starc revealed the bowlers weren't consulted about the decision but backed captain Smith's instincts to bat again.  “It’s purely up to Smithy so there was no conversation with the bowlers. That was his choice. Night time’s the best to bowl with it but as I said we’ve got two night sessions left in the game so it’s by no means a waste of a session tonight,” Starc told ABC after the day's play.

Taylor felt the 66-run, eighth-wicket partnership between Chris Woakes and Craig Overman could have forced Smith to give his bowlers a breather. England batted 76.1 overs for their 227 all out. “If Australia bowled again England would be in trouble. It’s not the way Steve Smith has played ... the way through his captaincy and time as a cricketer. Shane Warne was saying the other day you have to work out how you play the game -- your mode of play. Steve Smith doesn’t like to enforce the follow-on. He likes to give bowlers a rest," Taylor said.

The 2017 Ashes will move to the WACA Ground in Perth for the third Test starting Dec. 14. The Australians could potentially take a 2-0 series lead to the third of five Test matches. Australia will resume with a 268-run lead Tuesday with Peter Handscomb (3) and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (3) at the crease.