Adelaide, Dec 10: Australian batsman Steve Smith feels skipper Michael Clarke has shown "unbelievable" courage in the wake of the tragic death of Phillip Hughes and played "beautifully" today battling severe back pain to score a century on day 2 of the first cricket Test against India.
After retiring at the score of 60 yesterday, Clarke returned to the crease this morning and scored his 28th Test hundred, despite being in pain in his lower back, as Australia closed on 517-7. Smith added 163 runs in 30 overs with Clarke, who was finally out for 128 runs towards the end of the rain-hit second day at Adelaide Oval.
"He was keen to get out there and get some hits and it worked out well for him. There were a few shots that hurt him but he played beautifully under the circumstances," Smith told reporters here.
"I think he has been amazing over the last few days. It's been tough for all of us. By spending that whole time by Hugey's family side, just the strength and courage Clarke has showed to us, that is unbelievable. He must be mentally drained," he added. (Clarke in Bradman-led elite list)
Clarke was in the thick of things when his close friend and teammate Hughes was fatally hit on the area around the head and neck by a bouncer in a domestic game. He supported the Hughes' family throughout the crisis.
Talking about his innings, Smith, who notched up his fifth Test hundred hitting 162 not out, attributed his new-found patience as the reason behind his batting form. "At the start of my career, I probably wasn't quite as patient as I am now," Smith said.
"I probably tried to play too many shots early on in the innings and that got me in trouble. That's the way I want to go about my business, get my patience right then I will be able to get big runs. Today is a good example of that. Hopefully I will continue to do so.
"If I may say so, that is not my best innings. I think my hundred at Centurion against South Africa in those conditions was probably my best one so far in my book. But every century is special and I hope I will get some more this summer," he added.