Smith checks teammate: ‘Shut the f*** up’
Nathan Lyon has told a brilliant story about Steve Smith's reaction when the off-spinner tried to help Australia's best batsman during the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston last year.
In his return Test match after spending a year out of the game because of the ball tampering scandal, Smith plundered hundreds in both innings to lead the Aussies to a memorable win at England's most intimidating venue.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime with KAYO on your TV, mobile, tablet or laptop. Just $25/month with no lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial >
He smoked 144 on his first visit to the crease, rescuing the visitors' innings after they slumped to 8/122. He put on a valuable 88-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Peter Siddle (44) before Lyon came in at No. 11 and helped usher Smith to triple figures.
Lyon, who scored 12 in a 74-run last wicket stand with Smith, did an admirable job of holding his ground while his better credentialed teammate did the bulk of the scoring to lift Australia to 284 all out.
But when the tweaker tried to offer up a plan to Smith, he was told in no uncertain terms to stay in his lane.
The bowlers had been given a pep talk before going out to bat by former Australian captain Steve Waugh, who was invited to be part of the squad in a mentoring role during the Ashes. Waugh encouraged the tailenders to work towards small goals and said they should aim to build 10-run partnerships.
But, speaking alongside Siddle in the latest episode of The Grade Cricketer podcast, Lyon revealed Smith didn't much care for any advice.
"The best story about batting with Smudger (Smith) that game was, we just had Steve Waugh, the legend of Australian cricket, talk to us tailenders about working in 10-run partnerships," Lyon said. "He really had this dig deep attitude.
"So Smithy's got his hundred and he did all that stuff so I said to Smithy, 'We're up to 230 here. Ten more and we get to 240 and just work in 10s'.
"Smithy looks at me and goes, 'Gaz, shut the f*** up. Let me bat and I'll get it up to 300'.
"So it was just, 'Yeah, cheers Tugga (Waugh)'."
Siddle found the anecdote hilarious, adding: "We had a 20-minute meeting with Tugga about that too, working in our 10-run partnerships.
"Smithy didn't care."
Australia was faced with a 90-run deficit entering the second innings in Birmingham but Smith snuffed out England's hopes of victory, creaming 142 to back up his first-innings ton.
Matthew Wade (110) also played a starring role as the Aussies set England 398 to win. The hosts could only muster 146 in reply as Lyon ran riot with the ball, claiming six wickets to start the series on a high.
Australia retained the Ashes after the series ended 2-2 and Smith had returned to international cricket with a bang, racking up a staggering 774 runs in four matches at an average of 110.57, including a double century in the fourth Test in a win in Manchester that secured the urn.
Smith's astonishing series came after he admitted to teammates he went through times where he didn't want to come back and play as he found himself stuck in cricket limbo because of the South African cheating controversy.
Smith and David Warner's comebacks after their 12-month bans are a key subject of an eight-part documentary that delves into Australian cricket's inner sanctum called The Test, which will be released on Amazon on Thursday.
The pair's first meeting back with the team - in Dubai last March - is shown in detail, which proved a key component for their returns in both the World Cup and Ashes.
"From a personal point of view it was pretty tough and I've had times where I probably didn't want to come back and play to be perfectly honest," Smith said in the meeting.
"It was when I got the brace off my (injured) arm a couple of weeks ago (in February 2018) that I went, 'S***, I'm ready to go. I want to play again'."
Smith also warned teammates they may need to wrap their arms around he and Warner in England that year, anticipating the verbal abuse that was to come from crowds.