Smith puts Aussies in control

AUSTRALIA’S Steve Smith hit his maiden Test century at the Oval yesterday to put the tourists in a commanding position going into day three, but concedes the travelling supporters have not seen the best of him this summer.

In a rain-delayed start to the second day of the final Ashes Test of the series, Australia resumed on 307-4 with Smith unbeaten on 66.

And the 24-year-old wasted little time in reaching three figures, hitting part-time bowler Jonathan Trott (1-12) for six before tea to bring up the milestone.

Smith’s unbeaten innings of 138 ended when captain Michael Clarke elected to declare on 492-9 – the second highest team score of the series behind Australia’s 527-7 declared in the first innings of the third Test at Old Trafford.

England reached 32-0 in reply, with captain Alastair Cook on 17 and Joe Root on 13, before bad light stopped play midway through the 18th over.

And while Smith’s knock has put Australia in a strong position to win their first Ashes Test of the series, the right-hander feels his best is yet to come.

“I’m close to where I want to be. There are a few things I need to still tinker with but I’m getting there,” he said.

“Obviously a big score was what I was looking for and to get one out here was very pleasing.

“I’ve worked pretty hard over the last year or so on a few things and I’m pretty happy with where my game is at.”

Off the field, meanwhile, Australia coach Darren Lehman has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee, around £2,000, by the International Cricket Council following comments he made in a radio interview about England seam bowler Stuart Broad.

Lehman accused Broad of “blatant cheating” for his failure to walk off in the first Test after the umpires missed him edge an Ashton Agar delivery to slip and failed to give him out.

The 43-year-old former Yorkshire batsman then urged the Australian public to “get stuck in to him” during the return Ashes series Down Under this winter and added he hoped Broad “cries and goes home”.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said: “Whilst noting the context and nature of the comments made, showing mutual respect for one’s fellow professionals – including coaches, players and match officials – is a cornerstone of how we play the game.”