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Sandpapergate trio's redemption story is about more than just a ton of runs

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11.08.2019

In recent days the media has been effusive in praising the brilliant batting efforts of Steve Smith in the recently completed first Ashes Test match at Edgbaston.

Smith, who scored 144 and 142, is even being compared to the greatest of them all, Don Bradman.

Steve Smith made back-to-back centuries in the first Ashes Test against England in Edgbaston.Credit:AP

Such comparisons may encourage some derision as Bradman’s test average was 99.94, while Smith’s test average currently sits at 62.96.

However, Smith is a modern-day battling phenomena, one of only five Australians to score two tons in the one Ashes match – the others being Warren Bardsley (The Oval, 1909), Arthur Morris (Adelaide, 1947), Steve Waugh (Old Trafford, 1997) and Matthew Hayden (Brisbane, 2002).

For the English, only three have achieved the feat; Herbert Sutcliffe, Wally Hammond and Denis Compton.

Many commentators and fans who are now loudly applauding the heroics of Smith at Edgbaston are the same people who after the “Sandpapergate” ball-tampering scandal were calling for his head and saying he should never again play for Australia.

Now permanently etched in modern Australian sporting memories, the incident occurred on day three of the third test between South Africa and Australia in South African in March 2018.

In the aftermath of the episode, Smith was charged with “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game” and penalised with four demerit points by the International Cricket Council, equating to a one-test match ban.

Warner was charged with “conduct bringing the game into disrepute”, and penalised with a fine of 75 per cent of his match fee and three demerit points, while Bancroft received three demerit points and a........

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