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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Smith pats his 'tail' after handsome lead over India

Smith pats his 'tail' after handsome lead over India

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 19, 2014 19:59 IST
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Steven Smith

Australia captain Steven Smith celebrates after scoring a century on Day 3 in the second Test against India at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

'The whole tail batted beautifully to get us up over the 500 mark'

'Any hundred you score for Australia is a good one. But I am happier that we got 500 runs on the board'

Skipper Steve Smith is delighted that Australia were able to push their first innings' total past 500 runs and take a sizable lead over India in the second Test.

The hosts replied to India's 408-run total with 506 in their first innings, the captain himself scoring a hundred, and Mitchell Johnson a quick-fire 88 runs.

- Scorecard

"We were six down for 240-odd and Mitchell Johnson came out and took the charge to the Indian bowling," Smith told reporters at the end of play on Day 3.

"He took them on and played some terrific cricket. He was positive from ball one. They tried to get stuck in to him and he took them on because it played into his favour. They didn't really have an answer to him after that.

"To be fair, the whole tail batted beautifully to get us up over the 500 mark. It was remarkable and we had a good day of cricket in the end. It was outstanding from Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon as well. Josh Hazlewood, on debut, was very good with the bat as well. They gave us a lead of 90-odd and it was a very good position," he added.

- Photos from Day 3

The newly-appointed skipper was humble about his own Test hundred on debut as captain. It was his sixth overall hundred and second of the ongoing series.

"I said before in the pre-match conference that I wanted to lead from the front. So, obviously, I am delighted with this hundred as well," said Smith, the ninth Australian skipper to score a hundred on captaincy debut.

"I have done it in this game and hopefully it will continue in the future. Any hundred you score for Australia is a good one. But I am happier that we got 500 runs on the board. There is no point thinking about individual performances if the team is not doing well. So I am really happy with the lead of 90," said the young captain.

Mitchell Starc

Australia’s Mitchell Starc bats during Day 3 in the second Test against India at the Gabba. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Perhaps the conditions got the better of the Indian team as they were simply unable to counter the opposition's charge. They kept bowling short and helped the Australian tail-enders to double the score after Brad Haddin had got out.

"I think it was a little frustrating for the Indians. It is tough work in this heat. We faced it while bowling in our first innings and we had a couple of bowlers going down. The heat and humidity really gets you out there. So when the tail bats like that, it is really a nightmare for the opposition," said Smith.

"The first day was the toughest I have ever faced leading any side. When bowlers go down any team will find it tough. But I have really enjoyed the last couple of days and the boys have supported me really well. We need to come out and take early wickets to stay in the game from here on," he added.

India were 71 for 1 in their second innings, 26 runs behind at stumps. The match still hangs in balance going into day four.

"We said this morning that we wanted big partnerships and we managed to do that. If you get in on this wicket, it is one of the best places to bat in the world. So credit goes to our tail-enders. I am really happy with their performance.

"The wicket has sped up a little bit each day as it does here. But it is still playing good and there haven't been any tricks. The batsmen have been able to come and do what they want to do. Tomorrow it will be about building patience and bowling in the right areas."

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