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ICC Cricket World Cup: Steven Smith`s golden summer continues

Sydney: Steve Smith has made the No.3 batting spot his own with a sparkling 89-ball century to lay the platform for Australia`s 328 for seven batting first against India in the World Cup semi-final in Sydney on Thursday.

Smith slammed 105 off 93 balls for his first World Cup century and fourth ton in ODIs to continue his prolific batting form since his switch to No.3 in Australia`s one-day team.

Smith didn`t hang about in the `nervous` nineties and tore to three figures with a six and four off successive balls from Mohammed Shami.

His ton was the second fastest against defending champions India at a World Cup after an 84-ball 100 by Sri Lanka`s Mahela Jayawardene at the 2011 final in Mumbai.

"It`s always nice getting hundreds at the SCG, it`s my favourite place to play," Smith said at the innings break.

"In a World Cup semi-final it`s a pretty big stage, so hopefully the boys can back it up in the field and we can join New Zealand in the final this weekend.

"For us it`s about building and squeezing the pressure and hopefully our bowlers and fielders can really do the job for us."

Smith, who started out in the tournament batting at number five, has not looked back since he took over at number three when Shane Watson was dropped in the pool game against Afghanistan in Perth and has since returned to bat lower in the Australian order.

Smith reeled off 95 against the Afghans, 72 against Sri Lanka and 65 versus Pakistan before going on with his first World Cup ton.

Smith is the second Australian to reach 50 in four consecutive World Cup innings after David Boon (1987-1992).

Smith and Aaron Finch put on 182 for the second wicket before a middle order collapse relaxed Australia`s grip on India`s bowlers.

He has enjoyed a fabulous season after amassing four centuries in Australia`s four-Test series win over India in December-January and went on to claim the Allan Border Medal as the Australian player for 2014.

Smith survived an umpire`s review when he was on 66 after Ravichandran Ashwin got his fingers onto the ball which hit the stumps at the non-striker`s end, but the Australian had grounded his bat in time.

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