|Second Test, Melbourne (day four):|
|Pakistan 443-9 dec: Azhar 205*|
|Australia 465-6: Warner 144, Smith 100*, Khawaja 97|
Captain Steve Smith struck his 17th Test century as Australia overtook Pakistan’s total on a rain-hit fourth day of the second Test in Melbourne.
Smith’s unbeaten 100 from 168 balls helped Australia reach 465-6 and take a 22-run first-innings lead after lunch.
But play came to an early end because of rain just two balls after Smith, 27, brought up his fourth century of 2016.
Usman Khawaja only added two runs to his overnight 95 but Peter Handscomb made a spirited 54 alongside Smith.
With rain falling, the players went off for an early tea and play was eventually abandoned shortly before 5pm local time.
The weather looks to have ended Australia’s hopes of forcing a win and wrapping up the three-match series 2-0.
Smith’s remarkable stats
- The innings brought up his 1,000th run in a calendar year for the third time in succession, a feat achieved by only one other Australian batsman, opener Matthew Hayden, who reached the mark in five consecutive years from 2001-05
- Out of players who have batted at least five times at the MCG, only the great Don Bradman has a higher average, with 128.53 from his 17 innings versus the current captain’s 114.60 from eight
- With four centuries this year, Smith has 17 tons from a total of 90 innings in his career, with only Bradman (50 innings), former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar (81) and Hayden (82) reaching the number faster
- Smith has now hit centuries in three successive Boxing Day Tests, with his latest ton following 192 against India in 2014 and an unbeaten 134 against West Indies in 2015
Gillespie to join Australia coaching staff
Meanwhile, it has been announced that Jason Gillespie will join the Australia coaching staff as an assistant for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.
The former Yorkshire coach, now with the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League, will work alongside Justin Langer who will serve as the head coach.
The pair are stepping in for Darren Lehmann and his assistant David Saker as the three-match series clashes with the Test squad’s tour of India.
It will be a first taste of international cricket for Gillespie, who led Yorkshire to consecutive County Championship titles before leaving at the end of the 2016 season to return to his native Australia.
“I’m just buzzing to get this role – it really is an exciting opportunity,” said the 41-year-old former Test bowler, who took 259 wickets in 71 Tests and 142 wickets in 97 ODI appearances.