Steven Smith has slammed 22 hundreds in 59 Tests    Getty Images
Steven Smith has slammed 22 hundreds in 59 Tests Getty Images

Steven Smith’s 426 runs at 142 in the ongoing Ashes has swung The Ashes Australia’s way. Smith started the series with a gutsy hundred at Brisbane and the urn was regained at Perth courtesy a double hundred from him. Smith’s hundred at Brisbane is rated as one of his finest. Smith’s batting average of 62.32 puts him only behind Don Bradman if we take 20 innings as a cut off. While pundits debate if he is the best since Bradman, the Australian captain in a column for picked his three best Test hundreds.

141 not out vs England at Brisbane, 2017-18

“The century at the start of the summer was all about leadership. The first match of an Ashes series is so important. I was really determined to try and start the series really well and lead by example. It was a lot of hard work, I had to get through a lot of difficult periods and England set quite defensive fields to me at times.

“I just felt in a good place and never at any stage did I feel threatened by England s bowling attack. I just felt at ease and in my own little bubble out there in the middle. It was my slowest hundred and I had to shelve some shots, be patient, disciplined and resilient.

“Discipline and resilience are two things I talk about with the team, so as the leader it was important that I showed those traits and got through those testing periods and put a big score on the board.”

109 vs India at Pune, 2016-17

“Before our team had even set foot in the subcontinent we were written off by everyone, which made my 109 and more importantly our win in Pune that much more satisfying.

Steven Smith may better records of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, believes Darren Lehmann
Steven Smith may better records of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, believes Darren Lehmann

“The Pune wicket was incredibly challenging with the ball spinning sharply from the first session, so by the time our second innings started it was turning big. I haven t scored too many second-innings hundreds and although I had a few lives along the way, I was proud of the way I stuck to my plans and was able to think on my feet. A good example of that was when I started sweeping India s off-spinner Ravi Ashwin. In the lead up to the match I didn t think about sweeping Ashwin, hadn t practiced it but it just felt right.

“With left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja continually beating me on the outside edge, I just took my ego out of play and kept playing for that straight one, confident that if it spun it was going to go so far it would beat the edge. That was my mantra throughout the whole tour but particularly in this game.”

100 vs South Africa at Centurion, 2013-14

“The first Test in Centurion, where I scored an even 100, came to mind in Brisbane just a few weeks ago.

The hundred at Centurion was Smith's 4th in Tests    AFP
The hundred at Centurion was Smith’s 4th in Tests AFP

“Australia was in a very similar position in Brisbane as we were in Centurion on our last Test tour there. Shaun Marsh and I batted together and put on an important partnership in both matches. When we walked off the field that first night in Brisbane after coming together at 4-76, I said to SOS, Actually, this reminds me a lot of Centurion, let s go out and do what we did there. It s a great opportunity for us. In Centurion we came together at 4-98 and put on 233 for the fifth wicket. It didn t quite pan out that way at the Gabba but we put on 99 I thought he played really well again to get his 51.

“Centurion was a place where we were playing against perhaps the best bowling attack in the world at the time. Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel are three are very good bowlers and away from home on quite a bouncy track they were a hard task to say the least. But I was really disciplined, left really well, hit the bad balls and rotated the strike well. I was in the zone but I was still finding my way as an international batsman. I was still learning a lot about my game and trying to play like I do now.”

Smith will lead the side next in the Boxing Day Test against England. He has scored hundreds in last 3 Boxing Day Tests he has featured in since 2014. Can he continue the run?