Smith ton gives Aussies narrow lead

Agence France-Presse . Melbourne | Published: 23:48, Dec 29,2016


Australian captain Steve Smith celebrates his hundred against Pakistan during the fourth day of their second Test in Melbourne on Thursday. — AFP photo

Skipper Steve Smith scored his 17th Test century to give Australia a 22-run lead over Pakistan as rain again disrupted play in the second Test in Melbourne on Thursday.
Smith reached his fourth Test hundred of the year before a storm lashed the Melbourne Cricket Ground just before tea and forced the rest of the fourth day’s play to be abandoned.
Smith was unbeaten on 100 with Mitchell Starc not out seven in Australia’s 465 for six.
It is unlikely there will be a result in the Test with just Friday’s final day to play.
The Australians were hoping to build a 100-plus run lead to try and put the tourists under pressure on the final day in the weather-disrupted Test.
Smith passed 1,000 runs in a calendar year for the third time in a row during his knock, taking his 2016 total to 1,040 at 67.60 with his patient 100 not out coming off 168 balls with nine boundaries.
Usman Khawaja was dismissed three runs short of his century early in the day, the second time this season that the Pakistan-born batsman has been dismissed on 97.
Khawaja had added just two runs to his overnight 95 off 12 balls when he edged Wahab Riaz to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed in the day’s fifth over. Khawaja left the ground with his head bowed.
Khawaja also missed out on a century against South Africa in the second innings of last month’s first Test in Perth.
The Australians lost the wickets of under-pressure pair Nic Maddinson and Matthew Wade in the middle session.
Maddinson, fighting to nail down his Test spot, failed again, deceived by wrist-spinner Yasir Shah’s flight and was bowled off-stump for 22 off 55 balls.
Under pressure after scores of 0, 1 and 4 in his three Test innings, Maddinson advanced down the wicket but failed to get to the pitch of the ball and left the wicket shaking his head.
Wicketkeeper Wade again missed out -- this time he was caught in the slips for just nine after a slash outside off-stump at Sohail Khan.

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