Wagner hails Smith character after bouncer blow


New Zealand paceman Neil Wagner paid tribute to Steve Smith after Australia's captain overcame a nasty blow to the helmet to make a century on day two of the second Test in Christchurch.

A day on from a record-breaking and breathtaking hundred from retiring Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum, Australia's leader also reached three figures at Hagley Oval as his side seized control.

Smith contributed 138 and shared a third-wicket partnership of 289 with opener Joe Burns (170), helping the tourists to 363-4 in reply to New Zealand's 370 all out.

However, there was concern for Smith in the final over before tea when he ducked into a short ball from Wagner and was struck flush on the helmet before falling to the ground.

The batsman required attention from Australia team doctor Peter Brukner, but was able to resume his innings and complete a 14th Test hundred in the evening session.

"Obviously not nice is it, it's a bit of a shaky feeling," said Wagner when addressing the incident after stumps had been drawn on Sunday.

"It's never anyone's intention to try and hit someone in the head and see them go down like that so I think a hell of a lot of credit to him to take a blow like that and stand up and bat the way he did - it shows the character of the bloke that he is.

"Credit to him, he did pretty well from that. Hell of a knock.

"I was a bit worried at the start, and then he said he's fine and he took a bit of time, which we all said make sure you take enough time and get yourself ready, we'll give whatever you need. So he did and he looked fine after that."

Burns added: "Certainly it's always a concern when you see someone get hit on the head. Luckily the tea break was just around the corner, so it gave him a chance to sit down for 20 minutes and I guess just let the shock settle. And then he came out after tea and was 100 per cent, so all good."

Wagner removed both centurions in the closing overs of day two but acknowledged New Zealand still have "a lot of hard work to do".

"It definitely slowed down quite a bit and the wicket definitely flattened out a touch," Wagner said. "But credit to Steve Smith and Joe Burns, they batted exceptionally well and never gave us a chance.

"I think we bowled well in patches and periods of time where we asked good questions. They just batted really well."