Steve Smith has steered Australia ahead after day one of the Second Test against the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. After slipping early, the Aussies are 4/258 at stumps.
Smith’s ninth hundred (135*) was his sixth in 5 test matches for Australia. After combining well with captain Michael Clarke (118) and Adam Voges (76), Smith made the most of some close calls to post another impressive knock ahead of the Ashes.
“Sometimes guys are going to miss out and I could be in on the first ball (of a Test). I’ve got my head around that,” commented Smith in response to his early entry into the innings. Both openers David Warner and Sean Marsh were sent packing after a fiery opening spell by Jerome Taylor.
Warner edged to slips while Marsh was trapped in front in the first over of the test with the score at 2/16. Smith rallied with Clarke to settle the nerves created by the shaky start. Clarke fell for 47 (147) after a lapse in concentration saw him slashing outside off stump and edging slightly to the keeper.
Adam Voges looked in fine touch, showing a liking to replacement spinner Veerasammy Permaul. The Windies were missing the devastating turn of injured leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo who was absent due to a finger injury. Bishoo took 6-wickets in one innings of the first test but without his services the Windies relied on pace to do most of the damage.
Some interesting captaincy saw Taylor rested for a number of overs while Smith and Clarke revived the Australian innings. Showing no signs of injury, the decision not to bowl Taylor was a confusing one. Clarke was lucky to avoid an early dismissal after Kemar Roach over-stepped, causing the easy return catch to be reversed. Australia would have been in deep trouble at 3-22.
Smith was relatively untroubled on his way to his hundred, but was given a couple of lives after reaching the milestone. His was dropped in slips by Dwayne Bravo on 108 and successfully reviewed an LBW decision on 109. The ball hit Smith at the base of the pads, but was moving down the leg side.