Smith has luck on side as Aussies take charge

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE & INTERNATIONAL CRICKET - By Ed­win Charles

1st Test, Bris­bane, Dec 15

AUS­TRALIA dom­i­nated the start of their se­ries against Pak­istan with cap­tain Steve Smith lead­ing from the front with a cen­tury.

Win­ning the toss, and choos­ing to bat in the first Test of the se­ries, a daynighter in Bris­bane, Matt Ren­shaw and David Warner put on 70 be­fore Warner was trapped lbw by Mo­ham­mad Amir. Us­man Khawaja only lasted seven balls be­fore he was caught off the bowl­ing of Yasir Shah.

But that only brought Smith to the crease and he reached his cen­tury off 184 balls – his first ton against Pak­istan – as Aus­tralia reached 288-3.

Smith had his lucky mo­ments, though. He was for­tu­nate to sur­vive on 53 when he played back to the part-timer Azhar Ali and edged be­hind, only to be put down by Sar­fraz Ahmed. Then, when on 97, he nicked an Amir de­liv­ery to the wick­et­keeper but Pak­istan’s play­ers did not ap­peal.

Ali said: “It would have been a won­der­ful wicket for us, Steve Smith we all know is a very good bats­man and he was quite well set.

“If we got him the first time, it could have changed, a lit­tle bit, the course of the game but these things hap­pen and you just have to go on and look for­ward. He bat­ted bril­liantly to­day.

“Ob­vi­ously we got in­for­ma­tion from out­side that the nick had hap­pened. No one re­ally no­ticed any­thing, not even a sniff. None of our guys went up slightly, even. It was just one of those sit­u­a­tions where no one re­alised what had hap­pened.

“It has hap­pened in the past also, that we don’t get any noise or any­thing, any idea of hav­ing an edge. I think it’s just a bit of luck for the bats­man.”

Peter Hand­scomb also ended day one un­beaten, with 64. The 137-part­ner­ship be­tween Hand­scomb and Smith is the joint high­est for Aus­tralia in three day-night Tests so far.

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