Smith century puts Australia on top


Steve Smith made yet another Test hundred and Matt Renshaw scored a composed maiden half-century for Australia as Pakistan endured a frustrating first day of the series at the Gabba.

The patient Smith was dropped by Sarfraz on 53 and the tourists failed to appeal when the Australia captain appeared to be caught behind off Mohammad Amir three short of his 16th Test century, which he brought up late in the day in Brisbane.

Australia reached stumps in a strong position on 288-3 with Smith unbeaten on 110 after combining for an unbroken stand of 137 with Peter Handscomb (64 not out).

Young opener Renshaw, who like Handscomb is playing only his second Test, repaid the faith put in him by the selectors with an impressive 71 on his home ground as Australia took the upper hand after Smith won the toss in the day-night Test.

The tourists had a major scare when Amir was carted off after injuring his knee as he attempted to prevent a boundary in the deep, but the left-arm quick was able to return to the field and resume bowling.

An assured Renshaw and David Warner (32) put on 70 for the first wicket before Amir (1-40) trapped the vice-captain leg before with a full inswinger.

Australia, unchanged with Nathan Lyon keeping his place, were two down in the next over when Pakistan-born batsman Usman Khawaja hit Yasir Shah (1-97) straight to Misbah-ul-Haq at midwicket.

Renshaw continued to play his shots, while Smith helped himself to back-to-back boundaries when Rahat Ali bowled too short as Australia moved on to 89-2 at tea.

Runs flowed after the interval, with Renshaw taking a positive approach against Yasir with good use of his feet, treating a big crowd to some handsome drives. 

The England-born 20-year-old brought up his maiden Test half-century from 95 balls and hit nine boundaries before Wahab Riaz (1-52) got the breakthrough by snaring the opener caught behind to leave Australia 151-3.

Smith timed the ball beautifully, but had a stroke of luck when wicketkeeper Sarfraz failed to hold on after Azhar Ali found the edge on the stroke of dinner and Handscomb looked very much at home as the tourists toiled under the lights.

There was huge concern for Pakistan when Amir went down clutching his knee and was helped off the playing area in considerable pain, but was able to come back on.

The organised Handscomb hit Wahab through the covers for three to follow up his half-century against South Africa on debut with a second fifty and Smith had another life when he edged Amir behind, with Sarfraz holding on this time but Pakistan not detecting contact between bat and ball.

Smith was jumping for joy to celebrate his century after driving the same bowler down the ground to the boundary at mid-off and Handscomb was still going strong at stumps on a promising day for Australia.