Steve Smith blasted his 24th century and ninth against England as Australia reached a decent position at the end of day one of the Ashes Test. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Steve Smith received a hostile reception when he came out to bat on the first day of the Ashes contest against England in Edgbaston. The crowd were booing and jeering Smith for his role in the infamous ball-tampering scandal. Australia was staring down the barrel at 122/8 and it seemed Australia would find the going tough in Edgbaston. However, Smith showed his brilliance and made a brilliant comeback to the Test fold ever since that horrible day in Newlands, Cape Town. Smith blasted his ninth century against England and 24th overall as Australia were rescued to 284 all out at the end of the day. Speaking after the end of the match, Smith revealed he was unsure whether he was ever going to play cricket in the 15 months he was away from the international team.
"There were times throughout the last 15 months where I didn't know if I was ever going to play cricket again. I lost a bit of love for it at one point, particularly when I had my elbow operation. It was really bizarre that it was the day I got the brace off my elbow, I found a love for it again. I don't know what it was, it was like a trigger that just said 'right I'm ready to go again, I want to play and I want to go out and play for Australia and make people proud and just do what I love doing'," Smith said in a press conference.
Smith and Warner, his deputy, were both given 12-month bans for their roles in the scandal in South Africa, while Cameron Bancroft -- the man who brazenly applied sandpaper to the ball during a Test in Cape Town -- was suspended from international duty for nine months by Cricket Australia.
All three batsmen were dismissed by Broad on Thursday, with openers Bancroft and Warner managing just 10 between them for the Ashes-holders. The trio was booed on their way out to the middle and when they were dismissed, with even Smith's century a cue for yet more jeering.
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"I know I've got the support of the boys in the room and, for me, that's all that really matters," insisted Smith. "They went berserk on the balcony when I got to my hundred and just looking up at them, it sent shivers down my spine."
Smith showed his brilliance as he shared a partnership of 88 with Peter Siddle and 74 with Nathan Lyon. The crowd gave it to Smith when he played an occasional loose shot but Stuart Broad, who was booed throughout the 2013/14 summer after refusing to walk for an edge during the Trent Bridge in the same year, said Smith dealt with the crowd well. "It's part of being a professional sportsman. Footballers get it all the time but it's a bit unexpected sometimes in cricket. Smith seemed to deal with it OK," Broad said.