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Steve Smith's WACA breakthrough


Australia captain Steve Smith says his fighting Ashes century at the WACA Ground two years ago made him believe he belonged in the Test arena.

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The date was December 13, 2013, and Australia were in struggle town at 5-143 in their first innings against England in Perth.

The likes of David Warner, Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers were already back in the shed, leaving a 24-year-old Smith as the last recognised batsman.

If Australia was to salvage anything out of the match, it largely rested on Smith’s shoulders.

And boy, was there plenty of pressure.

Not only was the team situation dire, but Smith was also fighting for dear life to hold onto his Test spot.

In his previous 28 Test innings, Smith had made just one century, and he knew the axe wouldn’t be far away if he failed again.

But with the weight of the world on his shoulders, Smith responded in grand style, crafting a stylish 111 in 295 minutes to get Australia out of trouble.

His knock played a defining role in Australia’s 150-run triumph, which sealed the series win and also cemented Smith’s spot in the team.

It also gave an insight into the maturity and determination Smith possessed.

Since that knock, Smith has established himself as one of the world’s best batsmen.

In the past 13 months alone, Smith has cracked seven tons and six half-centuries in the Test arena.

He hopes history will repeat itself this week when he lines up against New Zealand in the second Test at the WACA Ground starting on Friday.

“I was probably under a little bit of pressure coming into the game here in Perth against England,” Smith said of the 2013 encounter.

“To get that hundred gave me a lot of confidence to know that I can do it…I guess since then it’s been quite a nice little ride for me.

“It’d be nice to get another three figures out here this week.”

The second Test, which begins today, will see Smith return to the WACA. It is being billed as an old-school pace shootout, but Smith says spinner Nathan Lyon will also have a big role to play for Australia.


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