Smith hits fourth successive ton

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Published: Wednesday 7th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia increased their stranglehold on the fourth Test against India as captain Steven Smith completed yet another century on day two at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Smith, the skipper while Michael Clarke recovers from a hamstring injury, hit his fourth ton in four Tests, making 117 to lead Australia to 572 for seven declared in their first innings, with India closing on 71 for one.

A draw in the third Test had already wrapped up the series, while a strong day one – which saw David Warner register his 11th Test century – was built on to leaving India with an uphill struggle after day two if they are register a victory in the four-Test series.

The home side started steadily before Smith opened up his shoulders and began to find the boundary with Shane Watson seemingly happy to play a supporting role.

The stand-in skipper made sure that he had made a century in the first innings of every Test this series with a four through mid-wicket and he raised his bat to the skies in an apparent tribute to Phillip Hughes, who tragically died after being hit by a short ball on this ground in November.

Smith’s century came off 168 balls and he became the second Australian of the innings to get a ton after David Warner’s first day 101.

Watson looked on course to join them but will have been disappointed as he pulled a short one from Mohammed Shami straight to Ravichandran Ashwin to depart for 81 off 183 balls and end the partnership on 196.

Smith’s 208-ball stay was ended not long after as he failed to move his feet on the drive and got a regulation edge through to Wriddhiman Saha to depart for 117.

Smith had earlier survived a drop and in the next over it was Shaun Marsh who got away with one as he edged Ashwin to Murali Vijay at gully but he could not hold on.

India had managed to slow the rate before lunch but Marsh and Burns began to gather some momentum after the break and made sure of a third century partnership of the match.

Burns then brought up his maiden Test half-century off 94 balls before Marsh edged Shami to the wicketkeeper and fell for 73.

That brought veteran Brad Haddin to the crease and he lifted his first ball back over Shami’s head for six as the home side reached 538 for five at tea.

Burns was gone for 58 in the second over after the break as he could only launch Shami as far as Lokesh Rahul at mid-on who made a smart catch.

Ryan Harris then hit five fours in an entertaining nine-ball 25 before finding Ashwin on the boundary off Shami to prompt the declaration.

Australia made the perfect start with the ball when Murali Vijay flashed at a wide delivery and edged behind to Haddin off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for a three-ball duck.

The hosts could not follow that up however as India dug in with Lokesh Rahul ending the day unbeaten on 31 and Rohit Sharma 40 not out.

Published: Wednesday 7th January 2015 by The News Editor

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