Cricket: Smith joins greats as Australia pass 500

SYDNEY: Steve Smith joined the greats Wednesday as he plundered India’s bowlers for his fourth century of the series and Australia built their first innings beyond 500 on the second day of the final Test in Sydney.

The Aussie skipper became only the third batsman along with Don Bradman and Jacques Kallis to score tons in four consecutive Tests in the same series.

He added his latest 117 to his unbeaten 162 in Adelaide, 133 in Brisbane and 192 in Melbourne in this series.

At tea, Australia were 538 for five with a declaration likely in the final session. Newcomer Joe Burns notched his first Test fifty to be on 52 with Brad Haddin on seven.

Australia passed 500 for the fourth Test of the series, a feat last registered against the Garry Sobers-led West Indies at home in 1968-69.

Bradman scored his centuries against South Africa at home in 1931-32, while Kallis compiled his hundreds against the West Indies in South Africa in 2003-04.

Smith was out just before lunch when he was caught behind off Umesh Yadav ending his 208-ball knock spiced with 15 fours.

He has 698 runs in the series at an average of 139.6, placing him third behind Bradman (715) and Ricky Ponting (706) for most runs in a series against India.

Smith is having an extraordinary run and has now scored six centuries in the first innings of his last seven Tests at home.

Watson again missed out on what would have been only his fifth Test century when, on a flat SCG wicket, he had another brain snap and hoisted Mohammed Shami straight to Ravichandran Ash win at deep midwicket for 81.

Watson has now scored 24 half-centuries but just four tons in 56 Tests, with his last Test hundred coming against England in Perth in December 2013.

He toiled for 250 minutes and faced 183 balls in putting on 196 runs for the third wicket with Smith.

Shaun Marsh added 73 to his 99 in Melbourne before he was caught behind off Shami nearing tea. Marsh batted for 116 balls with nine fours and a six.

Burns, playing in his second Test, reached his half-century off 94 balls and his innings flourished after an introspective beginning.

India’s bowlers were finding it hard going on the unresponsive SCG pitch with Shami taking three for 101 off 27 overs and Ash win getting some turn with one for 142 off 47 overs.

India have already lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with Australia holding an unassailable 2-0 lead following wins in Adelaide and Brisbane.

The tourists have won only one of their last 22 Tests overseas and have been successful in only one of their 10 Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that sole victory coming 37 years ago.

Source: AFP