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Steve Smith buoys Australia with 18th ton, fifth 100 vs India in Test cricket

Steve Smith rode his luck in the Pune Test to score his 18th century in the first India vs Australia match. This was Steve Smith’s fifth consecutive century versus India.

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2017 11:49 IST
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Australia's captain Steve Smith celebrates his century on Day 3 of the Pune Test on Saturday. It was his 18th Test hundred.(REUTERS)

Australia captain Steve Smith reached his 18th Test century in fine style on Saturday as he gently pushed a delivery on to the off side to run a two off Ravindra Jadeja. This hundred put the visitors firmly in command in the first India vs Australia Test in Pune.

Australia were all out for 285 in their second innings, setting India a record chase of 441 runs at home. Ravindra Jadeja got three for 65. (LIVE SCORECARD | LIVE BLOG)

It was a spectacular innings by the young Australian captain, who was dropped thrice on Day Two on Friday and had a lucky reprieve on Day Three when a leg-before decision off Ravindra Jadeja was turned down. Finally, Jadeja trapped Smith LBW for 109 as the lead crossed the 400-mark.

Steve Smith scored his maiden Test century on Indian soil. ( REUTERS )

Luck favoured Smith. Television replays suggested Jadeja’s delivery had pitched in line, was hitting the stumps and would have been out if reviewed, but India didn’t have any remaining.

Even for his first boundary this morning, it was a thick inside edge that ran down to fine leg but Smith should have been caught by Ajinkya Rahane at leg slip.

However, let’s not take anything away from Steve Smith On a pitch where batsmen often looked like dead ducks, Smith played an exemplary knock, laced with 11 boundaries, and took the game away from the hosts right when it mattered most.

Even though he might not look the cleanest while playing them, but the way he shuffled across on to the off-stump and guided the strokes across the park, was superb.

There were those chances, and the if’s and but’s, but then on a day his team needed a knock, Steve Smith led from the front, picking up his maiden Test hundred on Indian soil and fifth straight against the world No. 1 Test side.

First Published: Feb 25, 2017 11:38 IST