Suggesting that Steve Smith is in a decent patch of form right now would be like saying the summer sun is a touch warm. Since returning from suspension, Smith has been the virtual lone hope of the Australian side as it battles grimly to secure an Ashes series win in England for the first time since 2001. Old mate has spent the past few weeks belting the English bowlers from pillar to post, to the point where you’d reckon he was seeing them like beachballs, as the old proverb goes.

Turns out that’s actually true as of last night, thanks to a howling gale and a rogue beachball that broke free from the stands.

Before rain stopped play at Old Trafford, the offending ball charged out of the stands, making a beeline for the stumps where Smith was standing.

Because old mate is simply never going to give his wicket up cheaply – not even to a damned toy – Smith flicked the ball off his pads and sent it careening past square leg for four.

In the immortal words of the great Richie Benaud: Super shot, this.

How’s the form there? A gentle little flick off the pads. Mark Waugh would’ve shed a tear watching that. Marvellous stuff.

That’s not to say the shot alone was worth of four runs; you have to say that’s some horribly lax fielding from the Englishmen there. Particularly in the outfield. It may have been whipping across the field but they barely even moved. Not even to back up the bowler. Shameful stuff, right there.

Day 2 of the fourth test continues tonight, assuming the weather in England (awful) manages to sort itself out.

Image: Getty Images / Alex Davidson