Melbourne, Dec 27 (IANS) Skipper Steven Smith (192) smashed his highest Test score and his third successive century to lead Australia to a mammoth 530 at tea on day two of the third Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here Saturday.
Resuming the post lunch session on 389 for seven, the hosts made swift progress as Ryan Harris (74) partnered Smith to put on a 106-run eighth-wicket partnership that flattened India.
There was no reprieve for India from Smith’s clutches. His knock included 15 boundaries and two sixes. He brought up his century off 195 balls in the morning session and played 305 deliveries to reach his highest Test score.
For India, Mohammed Shami picked up four wickets conceding 138 runs followed by Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin, both with three wickets.
Earlier, Smith hit his seventh Test century, his third successive hundred in the series, to propel Australia to a strong 389 for seven at lunch.
Continuing his incredible form in the series, Smith, first with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (55) and then with Mitchell Johnson (28) put up important partnerships to take his team to a dominant position.
Resuming the day at 259 for five, overnight unbeaten batsmen Smith and Haddin began confidently with the keeper-batsman being more aggressive of the two. India peppered him with a lot of short balls, hoping to shake him up and expose his perceived weakness to bouncers.
But Haddin was equal to the task and was willing to take on what was offered to him, pulling and hooking merrily to score runs at a fast clip, reaching his half-century of 75 balls.
Smith on the other hand began more sedately. He took his time to get going but smoothly reached his third hundred of the series, flicking a fuller length ball fine on the leg side to reach the feat.
His latest hundred made him the first Australian captain to score centuries in each of his first two Tests as skipper and fourth overall after South Africa’s Jackie McGlew, India’s Vijay Hazare and England’s Alastair Cook.
The signs were ominous for India as their bowlers failed to learn from their mistakes and continued bowling short, making it easier for Smith and Haddin to score freely.
The duo soon put up their 100-run partnership and were looking good for more. But Haddin was dismissed completely against the run of play when he hesitated to play or leave a Mohammed Shami delivery, succeeding only to edge it to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was Shami’s third wicket of the innings.
But Smith continued the run feast with Mitchell Johnson (28) to lead Australia to a formidable first innings total.