By Abhijit Banare
Dec 13, 2013
Steve Smith‘s unbeaten ton powered Australia to 326 for six at stumps on Day One of the third Ashes 2013-14 Test at Perth on Friday. Smith along with Brad Haddin shared the most important partnership of the day. Their 124-run stand revived Australia from 143 for five to their present score.
It was an evenly balanced contest halfway through the second session after which Smith and Haddin completely dominated England. Though Haddin was tentative, he managed to hold on against a series of short deliveries targeted at him by the pacers. Haddin kept a lot of patience unlike his teammate George Bailey who went after a short ball and holed out to Kevin Pietersen in the deep. England looked sluggish as the partnership built on and also grassed a golden opportunity to send back Haddin post tea. The right-hander had slashed at a wide delivery but a poor communication between Michael Carberry and Joe Root led to the ball landing in between the fielders.
However, the highlight of the day was Smith’s ton which made all the difference. David Warner at the top saw the team through till the lunch session and scored a valuable 60. But Smith was the one who carried on positively from there scoring quickly. His aggression didn’t allow the England bowlers to dominate him. While a few other batsmen were troubled by short deliveries, Smith had no problems in pulling those deliveries and converting it into scoring shots.
One of the highlight of Smith’s innings was that at no point during the day he allowed the bowlers to take control of the situation. Consistently scoring singles and twos along with the occasional boundaries, he kept the English pacers at bay. He was specifically harsh on Graeme Swann using his feet to good effect and lofting the ball.
The scenario of the first day would have completely changed if England had applied more pressure after they had Australia down to 143 for five. But credit to Haddin and Smith for hanging on and playing a matured innings.
Apart from the first hour of the day, it was a good pitch to bat on but the top order played bad shots and gave their wicket away. Chris Rogers gave his wicket away to a needless run-out. Warner and Michael Clarke too departed to aggressive strokes landing into the hands of the fielders. The 124-run stand between Smith and Haddin finally ended with the latter being caught by James Anderson to a short delivery from Ben Stokes.
After being put into bowl, Alastair Cook would have accepted the challenge to take early wickets on the Perth wicket, but in the process his pacers allowed the Australians to score at a brisk rate. Even with the new ball taken late in the day, the pacers couldn’t find more wickets. Mitchell Johnson further frustrated the visitors with some big hits.
Australia 326 for 6 (David Warner 60, Steve Smith 103*, Brad Hadin 55; Graeme Swann 2 for 71, Stuart Broad 2 for 78) vs England.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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