Steve Smith’s father rates Ashes hundred right up there with the best

Smith’s grinding knock of 144 off 219 balls pulled Australia out of trouble to a respectable 284 after being eight down for 122 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test against England in Edgbaston on Thursday.

Australia's Steve Smith celebrates his century on the opening day of the first Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday.   -  Reuters

He stood firm when his son broke down and Peter Smith says he is finally letting emotions get the better of him now that Steve Smith’s remarkable resurrection from a one-year ball-tampering ban seems complete with an Ashes hundred.

Smith’s grinding knock of 144 off 219 balls pulled Australia out of trouble to a respectable 284 after being eight down for 122 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test against England in Edgbaston on Thursday.

READ | Broad wants England to take inspiration from Smith masterclass

“...this one, given the context of all that has gone to get to that point now, and he played under a lot of pressure as people fell around him that probably made it. If it’s not his best, it’s way up there,” Peter told ‘The Telegraph’

The knock was continuation of a remarkable comeback by Smith after being banned till March of this year for the infamous incident in South Africa. Peter Smith’s hand was the only one around Steve’s shoulder when he sobbed and apologised in a press conference on arrival back in Sydney last year.

“(Steve Smith) He had worked very, very hard to get to that point. That was one thing he did say to me, it was one of the hardest innings he’s had to play. And you could see that in that hundred. And you could see the effect that it was having on him.” — Peter, Steve Smith’s father

Little over a year after that emotional breakdown, Smith Senior couldn’t be more proud.

“He had worked very, very hard to get to that point. That was one thing he did say to me, it was one of the hardest innings he’s had to play. And you could see that in that hundred. And you could see the effect that it was having on him,” Peter said.

READ | Ashes 2019: Stunning Smith century rescues Australia on Day one

“For that reason you sort of go with him and enjoy it as well, but also know what he’s actually going through. I must admit, to begin with, I had more trepidation than I probably ever have had, which was strange.

“Then it all unfolded and it became emotional. It was emotional watching him get his hundred. And I’m still quite a bit emotional about it,” he added.

Peter said he would be heading to London to join the rest of the family in watching the next Test at the Lord’s.

“Yeah, just me. And I didn’t get back to sleep after that,” he said.

The father recalled the advice that he offered his embattled son as he dealt with the public shaming that came with the scandal.

“It’s been difficult but you just concentrate on what you can control. You can’t do anything else. There’s no point,” he said.

“You work on what you can control, what you can do to help. Putting balls in the ball machine, things like that. You have to work on that only and that’s what we did. Worked on what we could control.”