Brisbane: Steve Smith has played more crucial innings in Test career but his unbeaten 141 against England at the Gabba on Saturday was a show complete domination of the bowlers, paitence and grit of a top class cricketer as he helped Australia reach a strong position in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
The Test which, which began on a slow note, conintues to progess like that and in all likelihood be a humdinger.
The Australian captain’s century took his team past England’s first innings score of 302 runs before they were bowled out for 328, a lead iof 26 runs.
The hundred came of 261 balls, his slowest ever in Test cricket, as he build his innings in a manner that every run was important than the previous one.
And as if inspired by Smith’s effort at the crease, pacer Josh Hazlewood bowled a hostile spell of fast bowling which saw him pick two wickets in a single over and reduce England to 17 for 2 before they went to stumps at 3 for 33, leading Australia by just seven runs.
Smith -- who averages 61.23 in 57 Tests but 72.46 as Test captain, second only to the great Don Bradman -- consummated his indomitable hundred with a cover drive for four off Stuart Broad to a huge roar from the home crowd.
Smith effectively carried his team past England's total, but needed resolute lower-order support from Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon as the last six wickets added 252 runs.
The fidgety Smith was tied down by meticulous England bowling and fielding after losing three batting partners in the morning session, before paceman Cummins joined him at 209 for seven in the 82nd over.
Cummins played a pivotal supporting role for his skipper, overtaking his previous highest Test score of 33 with 42 in his first Test match at home, and helped put on a crucial 66-run stand.
The tourists view the Australian captain as their number one target in the series, and Smith showed just what a hugely influential player he is, escaping the shackles to claim yet another century.