Australia A 248-6 (Smith 104no) v Ireland
Stormont, day one
Report by Ryan Bailey
Steve Smith provided the selectors with a timely reminder of his capabilities with the bat as he scored a century on the opening day of Australia A’s first-class game with Ireland in Belfast to rescue his side from a precarious position.
The 24-year-old smashed fourteen boundaries and a six on his way to an unbeaten 104 as the tourists reached stumps on 248 for six on a truncated first day at Stormont.
Smith was ably supported by James Pattinson (42 not out) as the pair went about rebuilding the Australian innings by enjoying an unbeaten stand of 109 after Max Sorensen (4-44) had made early inroads in bowler friendly conditions.
Having won the toss, Ireland captain Kevin O’Brien had no hesitation in asking the visitors to bat first under gloomy skies and his decision was instantly rewarded as Sorensen clean bowled both Nic Maddinson (6) and Ashes hopeful Usman Khawaja (0).
However, Aaron Doolan was impressing at the other end as he fluently made his way to 40 with some trademark stroke play before Trent Johnston got in on the act to remove the opener and then wicket-keeper Brad Haddin for just two to leave Australia A 69 for four.
After a short rain delay, Smith and Moises Henriques frustrated the hosts as they brought the score past the 100 mark for the fifth wicket but the positive thinking Henriques played one shot too many and chipped the returning Sorenson straight to mid-off.
And when Peter Siddle was dismissed for a duck a few balls later, Phil Simmons’ side were back in the driving seat but Smith and Pattinson had other ideas before the umpires were forced to call stumps prematurely because of persistent rain late in the day.
Ireland will be hopeful to take early wickets when the new ball becomes available in eight overs time when play resumes on Saturday at 11am.
Speaking at the close of play, the New South Wales batsman was inevitably pleased to get some runs under his belt.
“It was nice to get a few. The wicket has played a little bit better the last thirty odd overs. It was nipping around a little bit early, so it was quite hard work. But we got through that period and it got a little bit easier.” Smith said.
© Cricket World 2013