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Smith can be one of Australia's greatest - Wade

Matthew Wade already classes Steve Smith as the best player in the world, but feels Australia's skipper could yet become an all-time great.

News 25 Mar 2017, 20:55 IST
Steve Smith - cropped
Australia captain Steve Smith

Steve Smith scored his 20th Test hundred on Saturday and team-mate Matthew Wade believes his captain is "on track to be one of the greatest players Australia has ever seen".

Smith's seventh century in his last eight five-day matches against India, a fluent 111, was central to the tourists reaching 300 all out on day one of the decisive fourth Test in Dharamsala.

The Australia skipper's Test average now stands at a sparkling 61.57, bettered only by former colleague Adam Voges (61.87) and the iconic Don Bradman (99.94) among those to have batted in a minimum of 20 innings.

Wade, who contributed 57 to his team's total, was full of praise for Smith in an end-of-day news conference.

"You look at the scoreboard and he's [immediately] on 50 at the moment. It looks that easy for him," said Wade.

"I know it's obviously not that easy for him when he's out there, but from sitting off the ground it looks like he's playing a different game, for sure.

"He is the best player in the world at the moment, but he's on track to be one of the greatest players Australia has ever seen."

Australia's first-innings total represented something of a disappointment for Smith's men given they took lunch on 131-1, but Wade is optimistic they can limit an India side who are a batsman light in the absence of injured skipper Virat Kohli.

The wicketkeeper was encouraged by Australia's solitary over in the field on day one, which saw Josh Hazlewood find impressive carry in a maiden to KL Rahul.

"It was quite enjoyable to have the ball coming around shoulder-height from behind the stumps. That was something you get a little bit excited about," Wade added.

"Hopefully that can continue with the new ball tomorrow [Sunday], and Patty [Pat Cummins] and Josh can pick up a couple of early wickets. It's definitely the best carry we've seen throughout the whole series, for sure.

"One for 140 after lunch, you would hope to push on, but credit to the Indians, they bowled really well through the middle session and we had to find a way to grind out 300. To get there, in the end, was a good effort.

"It's one-all in the series and it all comes down to tomorrow really. We need to play well and they do as well, so it's going to be an interesting day of Test cricket."

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