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Smith passes Bradman with epic batting record

Records tumble on epic test day

There can be no doubting Steve Smith was on to something when he said he felt back to his best.

At the beginning of the summer, Smith fired a warning shot to the touring West Indies and South Africa teams when he declared he felt more comfortable at the crease than he had in six years.

The former Australian captain vindicated his claims with an unbeaten knock of 200 against the hapless West Indies in the first Test of the summer before a run of quieter innings.

His follow-up century against South Africa, brought up in 190 balls in the third Test at the SCG on Thursday, could prove his most important of the summer as rain threatens to scupper the match.

Pink Test begins in bad weather

In the second session on day two, Smith (104) brought up his 30th Test century, moving clear of Donald Bradman (29) and drawing level with Matthew Hayden as having scored the equal third-most centuries for Australia.

Smith could conceivably surpass Steve Waugh (32) and jump into second place behind only Ricky Ponting (41) by the end of the calendar year.

Smith’s latest century was his fourth at the SCG, meaning he trails only Ponting (six) in tons scored at the famous ground. It also helped him become just the sixth man to have scored more than 1000 Test runs there.

Smith did his best Travis Head impression to help the Australians tighten their grip on the tourists post-haste after lunch on day two.

In a Test match that was supposed to be won and lost on spin – and which may yet be – Smith punished South Africa’s first-choice tweaker Keshav Maharaj and their back-up Simon Harmer.

On his way to 100, both of Smith’s sixes came against spin; he memorably slogged Maharaj for a six and a four over deep mid-wicket from consecutive balls during the first session.

He took his foot off the accelerator as tea approached but brought his century up by slogging Anrich Nortje over deep square leg for four.

The jubilation was short lived, though, as Maharaj caught and bowled Smith only three balls after he brought up his century.

The wicket was Maharaj’s first of a difficult tour.

-AAP

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