Ireland v Australia A, Tour match, Belfast, 1st day June 14, 2013

Smith lifts Australians after top-order trouble

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia A 248 for 6 (Smith 104*, Sorsenen 4-44) v Ireland

Australia A's top order again needed bailing out, this time by a century from Steve Smith, after Ireland had put them in difficultly on the opening day in Belfast.

Although the Australians secured an overwhelming victory in Scotland last week the frontline batsmen did not enjoy huge success, with the majority of runs coming from Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle.

This time they slipped to 65 for 4 during the morning session and were later 139 for 6 when Max Sorensen claimed his fourth by removing Siddle for duck, before Smith and James Pattinson added an unbroken 109 until rain forced an early close. Smith's hundred came off 164 balls.

"It's nice to get a few," he said. "The wicket played a little better probably the last 30-odd overs, it was nipping around early and was quite hard work but I got through that and it got a bit easier. The new ball did a fair bit and it was quite a tough period."

It was Sorensen who made the early inroads after Ireland, missing some of their county-based players, had won the toss. He bowled both Nic Maddinson and Usman Khawaja during his first four overs to leave the Australians 22 for 2. Trent Johnston, the senior statesman of the Ireland team, followed those breakthroughs by removing Alex Doolan for a lively 40 and claimed the key scalp of Haddin.

The first period of recovery came between Smith and Moises Henriques as the pair added 74 for the fifth wicket, keeping their concentration during breaks for showers. Sorensen's return lifted Ireland, though, when he claimed Henriques and had Siddle caught in the gully four balls later. It was an impressive display from Ireland, following on from their two extremely close-fought ODIs against Pakistan last month.

The Australians countered as their lower order, not for the first time, suggested more solidity than what was above them. Smith resisted against some accurate seam bowling in helpful conditions, and later took advantage of Ireland's back-up bowling, while Pattinson showed some of the batting prowess he has produced in Test cricket.

Fawad Ahmed, the legspinner, was included in an Australian side for the first time after being drafted into the squad following the news that his citizenship would soon go through and enable him to be eligible for the national team. Weather permitting, he will add much intrigue to second day.

"He's bowling really well in the nets," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him in the game. He's obviously a very skilful legspinner."

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  • Taimur on June 17, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    Aus need to give consitent opportunity to Travis Birt, Adam voges, Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch, they are the best players beside Bailey in Australia at the moment and need support from CA... it was joke to keep U Khawja on bench in India instead played SD Smith... what a shame!!!!!!!!!

  • Anupam on June 15, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Yes Smith is always having positive attitude his silent aggression speaks confident leader. Clarke very good batsman but a very poor leader. He always overshadow and did't nurture the next captain. S.Marsh, Voges, Smith, Klinger, Ferguson, Cosgrove, are far far ahead of khawaja. Cowan, Hughes,Warner (Test), Khawaja, Wade, lyon, Starc(Test) are wasting time, investment, status & dignity of Australia. Instead of trying Hauritz, Krezja, Beer, Boyce , So'K they are stuck with fawad, lyon. Klinger, Watson, Marsh, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Moises, Johnson, Pattinson, Siddle, Hauritz/Boyce/Beer.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Our selectors need not be limited by the squad that has been prematurely selected.Current Form should override squad selection and on that basis, Chad sayers would be ahead of Starc and Smith would be miles ahead of both Warner and Khawaja not only because of his century in this game but also because of his form in India on the 'tour from hell'.The spinners spot should still be up for grabs and the outcome of this match could go a long way to deciding who that would be.At this stage I would back Lyon to out perform all others because he has the most experience but I wouldnt be dissapointed to be proven wrong.I dont think the spinner is the deciding factor anyhow.At the moment Australia have only Clarke, Rogers and Haddin in any kind of form. Ed Cowan is in reasonable touch but not red hot.If their is a continuing lack of form with players in the test squad from the likes of Watson and Hughes then players like Smith and even Adam Voge's should be strongly considered for selection.

  • Prasanna on June 15, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    @ViVGilchrist, I reckon we play 3 spinners to get a first-hand look on who's gonna make it to test #1. Lyon wasn't impressive against Scotland and we need to see how AA and FA come along in this game. If FA gets a bagful, he would certainly have booked his ticket to the first one.

  • Prasanna on June 15, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Smith has got a lot of positive attitude and way better than who people call as Warner. Could see that he is improving . Only concern is about his ability to counter the moving ball. Has got a FC average of 40 to boost of, and for sure he is going to play a role atleast in Ashes II. If at all he can keep his heads on his shoulders and remain grounded, definitely a long-term prospect for Aus.

  • Anupam on June 15, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Solid performance by by two good batsmen Siddle (against Scottish) & Pattinson against Irish B- team. Advocates of khawaja who tried to convince us for last 2 yrs that he is the next one after S.Waugh & Hussey. But khawaja played 5 balls for a duck which is a good one at least he played 4 balls. Trying Agar, Lyon & fawad in a single match is simple who ever performs Ashes ticket is given but result will whitewash by POMS Steyn free.

  • Eddie on June 15, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    I think Steve Smith needed to be humbled after his first few tests and since being dropped a couple of years ago, he is a much improved batsmen. He has the ability to attack and defend. Plus Smith brings excellent fielding and part time spin which can sometimes get a few wickets. I cant think of any controversies surrounding him and think he could be possible future captaincy material if his improvement continues. Steve still can get better but the signs are good

  • Dylan on June 15, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    Khawaja was reaping all sorts of praise during the sheffield shield season - but I just didn't understand why. He averaged under 40 and has a serious problem converting 50s into 100s (struggles to make 50 these days). Players aspiring to make the Test XI need to convert 50s into 100s, and 100s into 200s. Look at what Ponting was doing in the shield or what Rogers is doing in the county. THAT is what it takes from these aspiring Test players. Not to take anything away from Steve Smith's ton - well done son - but let's see if he can turn this big score into a HUGE score and really DEMAND selection for higher honours.

  • Graham on June 15, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Smith since being dropped from the Australian team really hasnt put too much wrong. Got an opportunity in India and did very well. His technique is suspect but his application has improved out of sight - really feel he is unlucky not to get a crack in the Ashes. Keep putting your foot forward as Im sure there still may be opportunities.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    The biggest surprise for me was Siddle out for a duck! Khawaja's name must have been thrown around for a spot but this run of poor performances is pretty much ruling him out. Once again, we know that Haddin, Pattinson and Siddle are top performers, but who else is able to put their hands up for this golden opportunity to claim a place in the Australia squad?

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