Smith misses Brad­man record

Sunday News - - CRICKET - CHRIS BAR­RETT

Wil­liamson be­came just the fourth New Zealan­der to score 10 ODI cen­turies with yes­ter­day’s ef­fort, join­ing team-mates Ross Tay­lor (17) and Martin Gup­till (12), as well as Nathan As­tle (16).

His ton was just the third ODI cen­tury at the Basin Re­serve, with the last be­ing Shoaib Mo­ham­mad’s 126 not out for Pak­istan in 1989.

Wil­liamson is cur­rently the sev­enth high­est run scorer in New Zealand’s ODI his­tory with 4831 in 119 games, just 50 runs be­hind Chris Cairns in sixth.

By the end of the tour Wil­liamson would be ex­pected to move into sixth spot and eye­ing up the men ahead of him, in­clud­ing Gup­till and Tay­lor.

Farkhar Za­man tried in vain to join Wil­liamson with the fourth Basin Re­serve ODI cen­tury in Pak­istan’s in­nings, only to end on 82 not out as rain stopped play.

The Pak­istani opener, play­ing only his 10th ODI, sam­pled his first taste of de­feat in the loss, hav­ing won the pre­vi­ous nine games he’d played.

New Zealand’s to­tal of 315 sur­passed the pre­vi­ous high at the Basin Re­serve, Aus­tralia’s 297 against New Zealand in 1998.

Wil­liamson said he felt the to­tal was above par, given how well Pak­istan bowled and the na­ture of the sticky wicket.

The high­est to­tal ever chased down at the Basin Re­serve was Pak­istan’s 253-6, scored the same day as Mo­ham­mad’s ton in 1989. New Zealand got home that day by six wick­ets, thanks to Martin Crowe and Ian Smith scor­ing 87 not out and 62 not out re­spec­tively. IN the end, the great­est per­former of the Ashes se­ries pro­vided its great­est anti-cli­max.

The masses poured into the SCG yes­ter­day in an­tic­i­pa­tion of see­ing his­tory made, with an air of in­evitabil­ity about Steve Smith com­plet­ing a record-equalling fourth ton against Eng­land.

It was no sur­prise then that there were gasps of dis­be­lief among the crowd of 43,170 when he fell 17 runs short of the lat­est mile­stone by chip­ping the ball, with his bat twisted, back to spin­ner Moeen Ali.

Smith mut­tered to him­self an­grily as he walked off the ground, then threw his bat away when he re­turned to the Aus­tralian dress­ing room. He has three cen­turies to his name in this se­ries – not to men­tion a tally of runs that puts ev­ery­one else in the shade – but he knew this was the one that got away.

Be­fore that in­aus­pi­cious mo­ment the Aus­tralian cap­tain had ap­peared in­vin­ci­ble on the third day of the fifth test.

Smith’s day had started with an­other in­evitabil­ity, win­ning the McGil­vray Medal again as the ABC’s test player of the year.

The im­pe­ri­ous way in which he then be­gan on the ground only strength­ened the sense of cer­tainty around him lev­el­ling Sir Don­ald Brad­man’s feat of four hun­dreds in a sin­gle Ashes se­ries.

He waltzed across the stumps re­peat­edly in the first over of the day, bowled by James An­der­son around the wicket, and met the ball way out­side off. What would, as one com­men­ta­tor noted, been wides in the lim­ited-overs game were turned into con­fi­dent de­fen­sive prods by the crab-like Smith.

So ap­par­ently was he in con­trol that there was al­most an ar­ro­gance about his for­ays across the crease and his ex­ag­ger­ated leaves. A blown-away Shane Warne de­clared the mod­ern-day great was ‘‘tak­ing the mickey’’.

As the ex­hi­bi­tion con­tin­ued Smith later seemed like he was sim­ply hav­ing a net as he laughed with bat­ting part­ner Us­man Khawaja af­ter get­ting him­self in a tight spot against a short ball from Stu­art Broad.

That smile, how­ever, would be wiped right off his face in the sec­ond last over be­fore lunch when he gave Moeen and Eng­land the most un­ex­pected of gifts.

The grow­ing like­li­hood is that Smith will not bat again in the se­ries, such is the state of the fifth test head­ing into to­day’s fourth day, and even if he did there would not be enough runs to mount an­other pur­suit at match­ing Brad­man’s quar­tet of Ashes cen­turies in 1930 and those of Wally Hammond (1928/29) and Her­bert Sut­cliffe (1924/25). The Sun-Her­ald

New Zealand’s Kane Wil­liamson is very watch­ful en route to his cen­tury against Pak­istan in Welling­ton yes­ter­day.

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