The leg and middle stump are showing. He looks over his shoulder at the field. There are two men behind square on the leg side inside the circle. He moves further to the off side, now showing all three stumps. He looks back to find a gap in the off side, just as a back-up. But it's the leg side he wants. He taps his bat a couple of times and then clearly just thinks, 'Why not?' and moves further to the off side. And he's leaning even further.
Everyone at the ground knows he is going to go to the leg side. Earlier he had taken a ball that was a wide outside off to the leg side. His whole batting style is showing what he wants to do, what he will do. He's not timing the ball very well, at the other end Shane Watson is crushing the ball, so all he needs to do is play smart.
Steven Smith has done that all day.
Wahab Riaz, Pakistan's best bowler so far, has the ball in his hand. Wahab can see all the stumps, and a channel outside off stump. He had already hit the stumps twice, one with a deadly yorker to Usman Khawaja. He knows his field, knows Smith and everyone else knows what he is going to do. It isn't just today that Smith has played shots like this. Since his form became superhuman, he has played so many shots when he runs across his crease, even in Tests.
His wrists seem want to play to leg side almost without him being involved, like his wrists just prefer to turn. But it's more tactical and brutal than that. Smith likes to hit the ball where fielders aren't. Which sounds smart, but it isn't how all batsmen play, and even fewer will take it to the degree Smith will. And without his eye, it just wouldn't be possible for him to play the way he does.
And it still shouldn't be possible. You can see how Wahab will just castle the base of his stumps. You can see how he should.
Smith isn't even finished moving. Before Wahab hits his delivery stride, Smith's back foot disappears beyond the wide crease line. It almost touches the return crease. And his body weight is slipping over with it. Further and further from the stumps. Had the ball been bowled near the stumps, he may not have been able to reach it.
Wahab doesn't bowl near the stumps. He is sucked into Smith's gravitational pull. When the ball reaches Smith, it's beyond the return crease. It's off the pitch. It's also a full toss. Wahab has essentially bowled a ball to Smith's new off stump line, but one that is off the pitch. If the ball had ever bounced, it would have done so almost a metre wide of the pitch.
Instead Smith whips it away. If he hadn't moved a metre and a half to be there, it would be a simple turn to the leg side. But it wasn't, it was something else. Something amazing. It would have been even if it didn't fly off the bat into a gap for a boundary. It would have been if, like some of his shots from way outside off to the leg side, it only went for a single. But the timing, the impact, and his location made it something else.
His team-mates laughed. Wahab just took his hat and walked off shaking his head. The thing is, for all the impact the shot made, on Pakistan, Australia and everyone who watched it, it was actually just a slight exaggeration on a normal Smith shot. Which is still extraordinary by normal human standards.
It was Steven Smith, so it wasn't normal.
His innings, as the top order struggled to go on, allowed Watson to come in and hit Australia beyond a total that Pakistan could score. His fielding set the tone for Australia, especially when he ran at full speed and dived forward to pick up a half volley and then in one motion threw it straight back in. His field placements were exceptional, and he used his bowlers very well even as they struggled.
And even when he wasn't playing shots that shouldn't be allowed, perfectly, he was just outplaying Pakistan, completely. In every way, in every facet. Had he come on and bowled, he probably would have picked up wickets as well. He showed them his stumps, he showed them his class.