Smith de­mands cen­turies

Afro Voice (Free State) - - SPORT - MEL­BOURNE

AUS­TRALIA cap­tain Steve Smith has de­manded his team’s bats­men lift their out­put and score cen­turies against South Africa in the wake of their hum­bling six-wicket loss in the sec­ond Test at Port El­iz­a­beth.

Aus­tralia were re­stricted to 243 in the first in­nings at St Ge­orge’s Park and were bowled out for 239 in the sec­ond to give the Proteas an easy vic­tory chase of 101 to level the se­ries at 1-1.

While no Aus­tralian has man­aged a cen­tury, the home side has had two – rookie opener Ai­den Markram scor­ing a gal­lant 143 in the loss in Dur­ban and AB de Vil­liers set­ting the plat­form for vic­tory at Port El­iz­a­beth with an un­beaten 126.

“We haven’t got a hun­dred so far in this se­ries, so that’s not ideal,” Smith told Aus­tralian ra­dio sta­tion SEN.

“Mitchell Marsh prob­a­bly de­served a hun­dred in the first test to be fair, but if we’re get­ting bat­ters scor­ing big hun­dreds it cer­tainly helps us out a hell of a lot.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we haven’t been able to do that so far in this se­ries, but we’ve got a good op­por­tu­nity to turn it around in the next se­ries.”

Af­ter a rol­lick­ing home sum­mer against Eng­land, the pro­lific Aus­tralia cap­tain has also been down on his own lofty stan­dards. His high­est score was 56 in Dur­ban and he was dis­missed cheaply twice in Port El­iz­a­beth.

Smith has scored only one ton against South Africa – an even 100 in his first match at Cen­tu­rion in 2014 – and only three 50s in 14 in­nings against the same op­po­nents since.

“I’ve played a lot more now since 2014 and the more you play, the more peo­ple have plans to keep you quiet and those kind of things,” Smith said.

“It’s just a part of bat­ting, some­times you have to work re­ally hard for your runs and take a lit­tle bit longer, and some days you come out and things hap­pen re­ally quickly for you.”

The four-test se­ries re­sumes in Cape Town on March 22 and Aus­tralia will be glad for the ex­tended break as all-rounder Marsh races to re­cover from a groin strain.

The Western Aus­tralian, who scored 96 in Dur­ban, had a tough test at Port El­iz­a­beth, bat­tling a stom­ach com­plaint and drop­ping a catch in the slips. He was also fined 20% of his match fee for swear­ing at South Africa fast bowler Kag­iso Rabada, who was him­self banned for the rest of the se­ries for re­peated code of con­duct breaches. – Reuters

PICTURE: GETTY IM­AGES

HUN­GRY FOR HUN­DREDS: Aus­tralia cap­tain Steve Smith.

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