Steve Smith continued to batter the English bowling attack as Australia took charge of the third Ashes Test on Day 3 in Perth on Saturday. The Australian skipper smashed his 22nd Test hundred, going past Sachin Tendulkar in the process to become the third fastest to reach the landmark. It came from just 138 balls, the fastest century of his career in terms of balls faced. While Tendulkar took 114 innings to reach 22 tons, Smith got there in 108. Only Don Bradman (58 innings) and Sunil Gavaskar (101 innings) have reached the mark in fewer innings.
In the process, Smith passed 1,000 runs for the calendar year during the innings, notching his second century of the Ashes 2017 series.
Twitter was flooded with congratulatory messages for the Australian captain with India opener Rohit Sharma also among the admirers.
What a player Steve Smith. Doesn't look like he's going to get out. Does he Well played #Ashes— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) December 16, 2017
At this rate we'll get Trump out before Steve Smith.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) December 16, 2017
Oh c'mon...its too easy for you. Bat left handed in the second innings, Steve Smith. Simply Unstoppable. #22 #Ashes— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 16, 2017
At the same age Ricky Ponting had 10 Test tons.— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) December 16, 2017
Steve Smith has 22. #Ashes
The best since Bradman? Steve Smith has the second highest Test average of all time. Since his maiden century, Smith is averaging 71.66 over 48 Tests— Tim (@timwig) December 16, 2017
Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan was of the opinion that while Virat Kohli is the best across all three formats, Smith is unrivaled in Tests.
At lunch the home side was 314 for four in their first innings, with Smith on 139 and Mitchell Marsh on 39, trailing England by 89 runs with six wickets in hand.
Australia lead the series 2-0 and can regain the Ashes with victory at the WACA Ground, but heavy rain is forecast for the final two days.
Smith resumed on 92 and wasted little time cruising to his hundred, notching the milestone by effortlessly working Jimmy Anderson off his pads for a boundary.
England seemed powerless to stop Smith scoring and at lunch he had faced 192 balls, hitting 19 fours and one six.
(With AFP Inputs)