Steve Smith received words of praise from Australia coach Justin Langer after scoring back-to-back hundreds in the first Ashes Test in Birmingham. Justin Langer went on to compare the former Australia skipper with Virat Kohli, saying the Indian captain is "the best" but with his current form Steve Smith seems to be on "another level". Steve Smith scored 144 and 142 to help Australia beat England by 251 runs in the first Test and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
"I said during the summer that Virat Kohli is the best player I have ever seen but that [Smith's knocks] is just another level," Justin Langer said as quoted by EspnCricinfo.
Smith made a comeback to the Test cricket after being banned for one year for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.
Langer lauded Smith for coming out of the phase with great zeal and scoring in a victory cause for his team.
"You have in different teams, different eras, great players but for someone like Smith, who is averaging over 60 and the way he played in this innings with all the pressure and everything that is on him, it was not only great skill but enormous character, enormous courage, very brave, unbelievable concentration, unbelievable physical stamina, unbelievable mental stamina, all traits of great players," Langer said.
Smith named the Man of The Match award for his impressive knocks in the first Ashes Test. He surpassed India's Cheteshwar Pujara to claim the third position in the latest ICC Test batsmen rankings and closed in on Kohli and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.
The formerly top-ranked batsman is back above the 900-point mark along with Kohli (922) and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (913). He started the Test in fourth place and with 857 points.