Adelaide, Dec 10:
Steven Smith (batting 162) and skipper Michael Clarke (128) scored centuries to help Australia reach 517 for seven on a rain-affected second day of the first Test against India at the Adelaide Oval here Wednesday.
A half-fit Clarke and Smith shared 163-run partnership for the seventh wicket and completely dominated with some scintillating strokeplay till the skipper, after completing his 28th century, lost his wicket when his sweep off a debutant Karn Sharma delivery went straight into the hands of Cheteshwar Pujara at square leg.
His wicket was India’s only success for the day.
The 25-year-old right-handed batsman Steven Smith once again showed mettle with a gritty knock. He batted with aplomb as his captain battled pain and initially struggled with body movement due to back spasm which had forced him to retire hurt Tuesday at an individual score of 60.
Early on, Smith kept the scoreboard ticking by peppering the boundary. His knock not only pressurised the Virat Kohli-led Indians but also took pressure off Clarke as he took time to settle down.
Though Clarke lacked in footwork and body movement due to the injury that has been troubling him for last couple of years, he trusted his class and experience to keep the Indians at bay.
He stood at the crease to fend off the Indian pacers, who were short on discipline and fire.
But regular breaks due to showers worked in Clarke’s favour and especially after lunch he looked a completely different batsman, using his feet to clinical precision against the debutant leg-spinner Karn. He also batted well against Varun Aaron, hitting him through cover and point.
Clarke’s knock comprised 18 boundaries and it came at a strike rate of 78.52, Smith hit 21 fours and his knock came at a strike rate of 70.12.
What didn’t help the Indians were the missed chances as Smith was dropped twice albeit after scoring his fifth ton.
First, when he was batting on 131, he danced down the track and missed a flighted delivery from leggie Karn Sharma but wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha failed to collect the ball properly.
Later, when he was on 161, Ishant misjudged a catch and ran behind instead of moving forward towards the ball at deep fine leg. He dived but it dropped few metres in front of him.
Wednesday’s play started 10 minutes late as overnight batsman Smith and Clarke did well to help their team reach the 400-run mark before drizzle forced an early lunch break.
After Mohammed Shami bowled four deliveries to complete the 90th over, Smith cut a short ball from Ishant Sharma through backward point to make his intentions clear.
He again punished Ishant in his next over with two cracking punches through covers as the Indian persisted with short and wide deliveries.
He reached his three figures by tucking a Shami delivery towards the deep mid-wicket for a couple. As part of his celebration, he ran towards the ground where late Phillip Hughe’s number 408 was written.
He looked skywards and was hugged by an emotional captain.
Mitchell Johnon (batting 0) was at the crease with Smith when the play was called off for the day due to bad light.