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Smith revels in memorable ton

Steven Smith basked in striking a century at his “favourite place to play” after helping put Australia in a solid position as the fifth and final Ashes Test began.

Joined by Brad Haddin with the tourists 97 for five after being asked to bat, Smith struck a superb 115 amid his partner in crime hitting 75.

The upshot was Australia reaching 326 at a brisk pace – which looked a decent total by the time England closed on eight for one.

Speaking initially about his ton, Smith said: “It is my favourite place to play so I am absolutely delighted to have got a hundred here. I guess they were tough circumstances as well.”

The innings continued what has proved a coming-of-age year for the middle-order batsman.

Having hit a first five-day century in the last encounter of the reverse rubber in England last summer, Smith has added two further three-figure scores Down Under.

“I have not played with too many nerves in this series,” he added. “I’ve felt quite good when I’ve been at the crease.

“I have not converted to big scores as much as I would have liked but I’ve felt quite good and today was my day.”

Of course, things were made easier by Haddin, who now boasts 465 runs over the rubber – an effort that is all the more impressive given he has more often than not entered the fray with Australia in difficult positions.

Smith said: “It has been outstanding hasn’t it? Being in tough circumstances, he basically comes in and tries to switch momentum and he has done it on numerous occasions this series.

“Credit to him; he has played beautifully. To be able to bat with him today and form another partnership was great for the team.

“It is always tough to bowl at someone when they come at your like that. The way he has struck the ball in this series, it’s hard to know where to bowl.”

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