New Delhi: Australian stand-in-skipper Steven Smith is the man of the moment. On Saturday, during the second day's play of third Tests between Australia and India, he became the fifth batsman to get centuries in each of his first-two Tests as captain.
Continuing his superb form in the Australia-India series, the 25-year-old once again posted an innings of immense importance which can proved decisive, not only for the match but also for the series. Australia have taken a 2-0 lead with victories in Adelaide and Brisbane.
Day 2 actions started with Smith taking on a lethargic Indian bowling unit. Like in Brisbane Tests, he carried the innings and helped post a huge total of 530 runs. Coming on to bat at 115 for two yesterday, he applied to perfection and punished the visitors under a sunny Melbourne sky.
Smith's innings of 192 runs, laced with 15 fours and two fours, was his fifth hundred of the year. Only team-mate David Warner with six hundreds, has more tons this calendar year. But with an average of more than 87, Smith's contribution to this Aussie side is immense.
In his 16 innings this year, he has aggregated 1132 runs and is now behind Kumar Sangakkara and Brendan McCullum in the list of top scorers. Veteran Sri Lankan batsman has 1437 runs from 20 innings, while the Kiwi skipper is riding on a prolific form playing big innings at will. Brendan has accumulated 1164 runs in 16 outings.
If he continues to perform in this rich vein, Smith will soon become one of the greats of the game.