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"I had a really good feeling I was going to get that ball"

Cricket

Australian captain Steve Smith has revealed he had a premonition he was about to do something special before taking one of the most remarkable catches in recent memory – but concedes his earlier batting performance for the ages should have been over before it started.

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Smith took a one-handed, diving screamer to dismiss New Zealand keeper BJ Watling in Sunday’s one-day win at the SCG.

It took just 0.6 seconds for the ball to fly off Watling’s bat to backward point where Smith was fielding, but he managed to lunge sideways and pluck it out of the air with his left hand.

What made the catch even better was the way Smith held on to it as he landed heavily face-first.

“I actually had a really good feeling I was going to get that ball,” Smith said.

“It was a bit bizarre. I was ready for it and it came pretty quick.

“I got into a good position. It’s one of those ones that sticks or it doesn’t and fortunately it stuck this time.”

It capped a memorable performance from Smith, who smashed a ground-record 164 to guide his side to a 68-run victory.

I was glad they didn’t review it. I think I was out on 14

Black Caps century maker Martin Guptill, who was at the non-striker’s end when Smith took his screamer, said he could only look on and applaud.

“There’s not too many in world cricket that can take that and it just went straight into his left mitt,” Guptill said.

“Hats off to him.”

Bizarrely, Smith’s catch – his second of the innings, having earlier helped Josh Hazlewood secure the wicket of Kane Williamson – has managed to upstage perhaps his most imperious performance with the bat in a fifty-over international.

His knock was the highest-ever ODI score at the SCG and proved the game changer as the Australians broke a five-game losing streak and eased the pressure after a disastrous tour of South Africa.

It was also the fourth highest one-day score by an Australian on home soil, the seventh highest ODI score by an Australian and was the best 50-over innings of his career.

Australian captain Steve Smith gestures to the crowd after scoring 150 runs while on his way to score 164 runs, a new one day record at the SCG, during the first One Day International between Australia and New Zealand at the SCG in Sydney, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AAP Image/David Moir) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

Smith gestures to the crowd after scoring 150 runs on his way to a record-breaking 164. Photo: David Moir / AAP

Smith’s 164-run stand was the equal-highest total by an Australian captain in an ODI – standing alongside Ricky Ponting’s innings in a memorable loss to South Africa at the Wanderers in 2006 – and, unsurprisingly, sent officials scurrying for the record books as it delivered the under-pressure Australian side the tonic they needed after a torrent of criticism.

But Steve Smith has revealed it never should have been.

In a confession that’s sure to leave his Black Caps counterpart Kane Williamson kicking himself, Smith said he should have been dismissed by Trent Boult when he was hit on the pads – on 14.

“I was glad they didn’t review it. I think it was out,” Smith said.

“Of course I’m glad. Not much was going through my head. I let it go pretty quickly.

“I thought (Boult) set me up pretty well. It wasn’t swinging any and I was moving across even further and then he got one to come back quite late. Fortunately, it got given not out.”

Smith was hit in line with off stump and New Zealand appealed confidently, but when he was given not out, the Kiwis declined to review the decision.

Replays showed he would have been given out had they referred it to the third umpire, with Smith making the most of his second life.

Smith revealed one of the Black Caps fielders had told his teammates he’d had bat on ball before the Australian skipper bluffed them into not using up their review.

“I think someone said I hit it. Someone from point, I reckon,” Smith said.

“I think they may have just ran with that. I think I even looked at my bat at one point to throw them.”

-AAP

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