Insatiable Smith continues dominant Ashes

Dec 30, 2017 - 8:48 AM As the fourth Ashes Test crawled towards a draw, Steve Smith was just about the only person interested in another hour in the middle.

The Australian skipper spent 437 minutes at the crease on the way to a painstaking 23rd Test century as England's hopes of a dead-rubber victory evaporated on a lifeless MCG deck.

By the time Smith raised his bat after tea on day five, he had faced 258 balls and struck just six fours.

A short time later, Smith - unbeaten on 102 - reluctantly shook hands with Joe Root and the match was declared over.

It was Smith's third hundred for the series and his sixth for the year, matching his feat of 2015 and joining Ricky Ponting as the only other batsman to have achieved the milestone on more than one occasion.

And while it may have felt like an eternity for England, it still came about faster than his 261-ball century in Brisbane.

Smith has now batted for 1882 minutes in this series.

"Nope, I'm enjoying it," Smith said when asked after play whether he might be getting sick of batting.

"It's a shame we had to call it off in the last hour. I could have had another hour out there.

"It was good fun. I feel like I'm hitting it really well and hopefully I can end the series really well in Sydney."

Smith's insatiable appetite for runs has him at 604 runs from the first four Tests, having become the seventh Australian to pass the 600-run mark in an Ashes series.

A fourth ton in Sydney would rank him alongside Don Bradman, Wally Hammond and Herbert Sutcliffe for the most centuries in a series between the old foes.

"He loves (batting) as much as anyone I ever played with," Michael Clarke said on the Nine Network.

"He's a class above everybody else in international cricket in this format."

While comparisons to Bradman are fraught with danger, Smith is at least as close as anyone in the modern game.

No batsman with the exception of the Don has made four consecutive tons at the MCG or scored 3000 Test runs in Australia from so few innings.

And if Smith scores at least 26 runs in his next innings, he will be tied with Sir Garfield Sobers and trailing only Bradman as the second-fastest to 6000 Test career runs.


* Don Bradman - 974 (1930); 810 (1934); 758 (1936-37); 680 (1946-47)

* Mark Taylor - 839 (1989)

* Arthur Morris - 696 (1948)

* Keith Stackpole - 627 (1970-71)

* Michael Slater - 623 (1994-95)

* Greg Chappell - 608 (1974-75)

* Steve Smith - 604* (2017-18)

Source: AAP

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