The records continue to tumble for Steve Smith as he scored yet another memorable Ashes century to turn around Australia’s fortunes on day one of the first Test at Edgbaston.
The NSW Blues batsman was 42 not out with the score at 8/122 before adding a further 102 to post his ninth Test century against England and steer Australia to a competitive 284 on Thursday.
The prodigious right-hander was the final wicket to fall for a glorious 144 from 219 deliveries. England are 0/10 in reply.
His 24th Test century took Smith, 30, to equal seventh all-time for most Test centuries by an Australian batsman with the great Greg Chappell.
Another Australian great, Allan Border, is three ahead of Smith. Ricky Ponting has scored the most with 41.
Smith also moved to equal fourth on the list of most Ashes centuries with famous England batsmen Wally Hammond and David Gower. Sir Donald Bradman has the most with 19.
Smith's last eight Ashes innings have amassed a remarkable 831 runs at better than 103.
In his 65th Test match, Smith now averages better than 62. Only Bradman has a superior average of 99.94.
"It has got to be one of my best hundreds, definitely," said Smith after day one at Edgbaston.
“First Ashes Test match, ball was doing a fair bit in the middle, so had to work really hard.
“Got beaten a few times, but just let that go and concentrated on the next ball and kept digging in."
Australia’s next highest score on day one was Victorian seamer Peter Siddle (44), who Smith shared an 88-run partnership for the ninth wicket.
Smith then added 74 for the final wicket with fellow New South Welshman, off-spinner Nathan Lyon (12 not out).
The support of Lyon helped Smith to his century reached in 184 balls. The centurion hit 16 fours and two sixes.
Almost a year and a half since his last Test, Smith was undeterred by the situation that faced him when he strode to the crease at 2/17 in the eighth over.
As he had done many times before, Smith assessed the situation and batted accordingly, despite the loss of 5/23 in the middle-to-lower order.
Only five Australian batsmen passed double figures including Travis Head (35) and Usman Khawaja (13). English paceman Stuart Broad claimed 5-86 for the hosts.