IANS

Australian batter Steve Smith on Thursday equalled former England captain Joe Root's tally of scoring most centuries -- nine -- in Test cricket against India after he scored 121 on day two of World Test Championship final at The Oval, here.

Smith needed just two balls on day two's morning session to go from his overnight score of 95 not out to breaching triple figures via successive flicks on half-volleys from Mohammed Siraj to reach his century. With this ton, he went past Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Matthew Hayden to score 31 Test hundreds.

When he got out for 121 after chopping on to his stumps off Shardul Thakur, Smith enhanced his excellent record at The Oval, now managing to score three Test tons at the venue. Only the great Sachin Tendulkar (11) has scored more Test hundreds in matches between India and Australia.

"When it comes to Test cricket, I don't think anyone is close to him in this generation. His adaptability, his ability to understand situations and play accordingly to the conditions in front of him is second to none. His record speaks for itself. To average almost 60 over a span of 85 or 90 games is unbelievable. He is the best Test player of our generation, there is no doubt about it," Virat Kohli was quoted as saying by ICC on Smith's consistency in Test cricket.

Smith is now one century behind Steve Waugh in the list of players with the most Test centuries for Australia, with Ricky Ponting leading the way with 41 hundreds.

With seven tons, Smith is now joint-second with Steve Waugh and is now only behind Sir Don Bradman's 11 hundreds for most centuries by visiting batters in England.

Smith also beat Ponting (174 innings) to be the second quickest to 31 Test centuries, taking only 170 innings to reach the milestone, and is now behind only Sachin Tendulkar (165 innings).

"We have always had a challenge coming up against him and trying to find ways to get him out. Every opposition that plays against Australia is planning against him the most because of what he can do when he gets going. He's a truly amazing player and truly the best when it comes to playing Test cricket and adapting to different situations," added Kohli.

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