Another Steve Smith ton puts Australia in command against Pakistan

Rookies Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb hit half-centuries to lead home side to 288 for three at stumps on day one in Brisbane

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 7:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 7:36pm

Skipper Steve Smith scored a hundred and rookies Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb half-centuries as Australia took an early grip on the pink-ball first test against Pakistan in Brisbane on Thursday.

Smith, dropped on 53, showed the way as Australia built the foundations for a sturdy first innings after winning the toss.

At the close before a first day Gabba crowd of more than 26,000, the home side were 288 for three with Smith on 110 and Handscomb, playing in only his second test match, not out on 64.

Smith raised his 16th test century off 184 balls with 15 fours with a driven four off Mohammad Amir with three overs left in the day.

The pair put on an unbroken stand of 137 runs for the fourth wicket after young opener Renshaw chipped in with an impressive 71 also playing in his second test.

Smith was put down on 53 nearing the dinner break when an edge off spinner Azhar Ali went in and out of wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed’s gloves.

Smith and Handscomb batted through the entire final session when most wickets statistically tumble in pink-ball tests under the lights to put Australia in a strong position.

“I’m just enjoying it and trying to go out there and play with a smile on my face because it’s doing something I love, playing for my country,” Renshaw said.

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“Everyone is disappointed when they get out, but I got 71, it’s my best innings in Test cricket and I was excited to get to 71.”

Pakistan feared they might have lost their star pace bowler Amir after he fell to the ground in the final session clutching his right knee after a misfield.

Amir jarred his knee after his right leg dug into the turf as the ball ran on to the boundary rope.

He was ferried off the ground, but remarkably returned to the field 30 minutes later and went on to finish the session bowling with the second new ball.

It was a huge relief for the tourists after it conjured up memories of England fast bowler Simon Jones rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in a similar fielding mishap at the Gabba in 2002.

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“His knee went into the ground and we all feared that he might be worse, but thank God he recovered quickly and he came back,” teammate Ali said.

“He’s feeling much better and the good thing is that he came on and bowled with the second new ball, which is a good sign.”