In his first red-ball innings of the summer, Steve Smith tied Sir Donald Bradman for the most Test centuries with 29, setting the stage for him to follow up two of his most productive years.

In the next weeks, if history is any indication, Steve Smith’s frenzied desire to regain the shape of his stellar 2014–15 summer may very well be realized.

On the second session of the NRMA Insurance series opener, Smith sprinted to his 29th Test century despite having an annoyance-level, but not incapacitating, hip pain from last week’s misuse of a piece of modern gym equipment.

One of the 33-year-most old’s subdued century celebrations occurred when he took advantage of a generous field set up for Roston Chase’s off-spin.

Smith took a single to long-on, who was, remarkably, one of three fielders stationed on the boundary despite being one short of a century, and then politely nodded to the crowd and his wife Danni who was watching, before acknowledging them in a low voice.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him bat better,” the former skipper of Australia stated on Channel Seven.

Marnus Labuschagne said at stumps on the first day that he thought his middle-order partner’s 2019 Ashes performance was the pinnacle of his career, as their partnership with Smith was approaching the 250-run mark on Thursday.

That is the best he has ever batted, according to observers, said Labuschagne. Smith is of the opposite opinion.

Smith’s remarks

Smith told reporters prior to the start of this Test, “I always think back to that series against India and that (ODI) World Cup time when I felt as though I was batting the best I have.

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“Everything seems to have come together, and perhaps this summer will be the perfect storm.

“While I work to duplicate and improve my technique to where it was in 2014 and 2015, I’m hoping it can be even stronger. It’s clear that for me, that summer was quite productive. But it would be fantastic if I could beat it.”

Technique adjustments that were first tested in the midst of Australia’s one-day series in Sri Lanka in June were refined over the following months before being eventually exposed to a home audience in Perth for the first time in the longest format.

His signature cross-the-stumps movement and daring-you-to-bowl-at-the-stumps attitude are no longer present. As the Windies’ attack wore down, he and Labuschagne were able to profit in the final session, which saw Smith complete his fifty in just 75 balls.

He needed 105 more catches to reach the triple digits as the surface continued to favor the visitors on day two. His decision-making has been quite clear, and he has hit the middle of the bat, according to Ponting. “In contrast to previous seasons, his scoring has been spread out around the field.

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