Smith scores ton in Ashes tour game

Steve Smith has struck a century in his first knock of the Ashes tour as Australia continued to pile on the runs against Kent.

The visitors reached 6-477 at lunch on day two of the tune-up in Canterbury, where Smith scored 111.

The 26-year-old extended his incredible run of form, reaching three figures in 151 balls before retiring to ensure his colleagues got a decent hit.

However, allrounders Shane Watson and Mitch Marsh couldn’t cash in on a lifeless deck.

Watson fell for 21, victim of a brilliant catch by Joe Denly at point.

Marsh could have added further intrigue to the selection debate regarding the first Test in Cardiff, which starts on July 8.

The 23-year-old powered to 30 in 26 balls, but his stumps were then rearranged by paceman Matt Hunn.

Hunn snared all five wickets to fall, having dismissed Chris Rogers, Shaun Marsh and Michael Clarke on day one.

But the day was all about Smith.

His rise and rise started with the summer of Steve.

Smith scored 769 runs at an average of 128.16 in the four-Test series against India, breaking all manner of records.

The right-hander then helped deliver Australia the World Cup and was man of the match in the second Test against West Indies, scoring 199.

The big question was whether he could replicate in English conditions.

“I still don’t think he’s got a great technique,” former England offspinner Graeme Swann said earlier this week.

“I don’t think he’ll score runs at three if it’s swinging.”

It remains to be seen whether that is the case – Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will provide far greater challenges than Kent’s ineffectual attack.

But Smith did everything he could on Friday – clipping balls off his pads with trademark nonchalance and crashing 14 boundaries.

The only issue on Friday for Darren Lehmann’s men was deciding when to declare and get a better idea of Ryan Harris’ hopes of playing the first Test.

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