Aug 22 2013
Steve Smith registered his maiden century on a rain-affected second day of the fifth Investec Test, as Australia continued their attempts to end a disappointing Ashes summer on a positive note.
Smith played a low-key support role to Shane Watson's 176 on day one at the Kia Oval but stepped into the spotlight by converting his overnight 66 into 112 not out at tea.
The 24-year-old brought up the landmark in dismissive fashion, hoisting Jonathan Trott down the ground for a straight six.
At the break, the tourists had 397 for six having lost two wickets for 90 runs.
Tellingly, Alastair Cook did not give debutant Simon Kerrigan a bowl following his nightmare first day, while fellow newcomer Chris Woakes did not look like taking a wicket despite a marginally improved showing.
The morning had been a washout due to lingering showers, with 27 overs lost as a result.
When play finally got under way at 2.30pm - three-and-a-half hours after the scheduled start - James Anderson began with a testing over to Smith, who nevertheless picked up a total of six runs between the slips and gully.
Anderson's second visit was a maiden and he followed that with the superb dismissal of Peter Siddle.
The nightwatchman had done his job with 23 runs in 27 balls but was never going to be able to stop an Anderson special that squared him up and kissed the top of off-stump.
Stuart Broad was sending down a solid spell from the Pavilion End, though he was unable to turn pressure into wickets.
Cook opted for an early look at Woakes and he had a decent lbw shout against Brad Haddin in his first over.
He beat the bat of Smith and Haddin on a couple of occasions but had not yet found a way to stem the flow of boundaries.
Haddin struck two in three balls and concerns over Woakes' confidence soon began to re-emerge.
Lack of confidence was certainly not a problem for Smith as he pumped Broad powerfully past point to move into the eighties.
England's frustration manifested itself in a futile review for caught behind against Haddin - an appeal even the bowler Anderson was initially disinterested in.
Smith's 14th boundary, an efficient steer off Anderson, took him past his previous best score of 92 and Cook's decision to throw on Trott - ahead of Graeme Swann or Kerrigan - offered a great chance to make it a hundred.
Smith was not about to pass it up and clattered the medium-pacer back over his head for six to bring up his century.
Somewhat surprisingly Trott followed that by persuading Haddin to play on for 30, the wicketkeeper becoming his fifth Test victim.