Man of the match Australia's Steve Smith leaves the field after Australia bowl England out on the fifth day of the first Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England on August 5, 2019. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY / AFP
Man of the match Australia's Steve Smith leaves the field after Australia bowl England out on the fifth day of the first Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England on August 5, 2019. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY / AFP

Birmingham - An emotional Steve Smith admitted his brilliant contribution to Australia’s first Test humbling of England was a dream come true after the pain of his ball-tampering ban.

Smith hit 144 and 142 as Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston to win the opening game of the five-match Ashes series.

It was a personal triumph for Smith, who was playing in his first Test since a 12-month ban for his role in 2018’s shocking ball-tampering scandal on Australia’s tour of SA.

“It feels pretty special, winning the first Test in England is really special. It feels great, I’m loving being back playing cricket for Australia, doing what I love and contributing to wins,” Smith told BBC’s Test Match Special.

“To score two hundreds in a match — the first time I’ve done that in any form of cricket in my life — is very special and I’m very proud.”

Smith revealed he had lost his passion for cricket as a result of his ban and an elbow injury, but he is now fully motivated again and reaping the rewards.

“I didn’t dream about how I would come back. I was just letting time pass and when I got my elbow brace off after surgery something clicked and I was ready to play cricket again. I did lose that love for a little bit but I’m back doing what I love now and it’s great,” he said.

Smith changed the tone of the match, leading Australia to 284 all out in their first innings from a perilous 122/8.

“When I got that first hundred I was just thinking: ‘don’t burst into tears'. That was as special as my first hundred back in 2013. It was a relief to get it out of the way,” he said.

“I copped a bit of stick out there but I’m not paying much attention to that and fortunately we’ve got a good Aussie contingent here. They’re creating a good atmosphere for us and we’re grateful for it.” 

AFP