AUS vs SA: Steven Smith hits his 37th Test fifty
Steven Smith slammed his 37th half-century on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Smith added over 200 runs with star opener David Warner, who raced to his third career double-century in his 100th Test. Meanwhile, the former missed out on his 30th century in the format. Australia finished on 386-3 at stumps.
A defiant knock by Smith
Smith arrived in the middle when Australia were tottering on 75/2. The Aussies had lost Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne till that moment. Smith, who was watchful at the start, successfully negotiated the South African seamers. While Warner took charge of the scoring rate, Smith punished the poor balls sporadically. The latter got dismissed on 85(161) after sharing a 239-run stand with Warner.
Here's how Smith brought up his fifty
The Run Machine slammed two boundaries off Marco Jansen in the 33rd over. With another boundary off Jansen, Smith brought up his 37th Test fifty in style. He played out Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada before Anrich Nortje pulled the brakes on his innings.
Smith races to 8,500 Test runs
Smith has 8,543 runs and an average of 60.58 in Test cricket. Against South Africa, he hammered his fourth Test fifty. His highest score versus SA is 100, his only ton against them. Across 20 innings, Smith has piled up 750 runs versus the Proteas at an average of over 41.66. He has returned unbeaten in these Tests twice.
A record partnership for Australia
Warner and Labuschagne fetched 54 runs before Smith walked in. Warner and Smith shared a behemoth 239-run stand for the third wicket, lifting Australia from 75/2 to 314/3. As per ESPNcricinfo, it is their best-ever partnership in Tests. They bettered their previous tally of 134 runs against India in 2017. It is the eighth-highest partnership by an Aussie duo against SA in Tests.
The summary of Day 2
Warner shone with a record-breaking double-century after Australia bowled out South Africa for 189. Resuming from 45/1, Australia cruised their way to 386/3 at stumps, thanks to sublime knocks from Warner and Smith. Warner looked invincible before being retired hurt on 200. Travis Head (48*) put up a fiery show later. Australia have claimed a healthy lead of 197 runs.