Steve Smith has joined teammates Aaron Finch and David Warner in marking milestones with nods to Phillip Hughes on the sixth anniversary of their friend’s death.
Australia opened the international summer of cricket against India at the SCG on Friday with an immense haul of 374 runs.
Both sides had begun the day paying tribute to Dean Jones, the Victorian cricket great who died this year aged 59, and Hughes.
David Warner and Aaron Finch, two of Hughes’ good friends, were fittingly still in the middle when the clock ticked 4.08pm AEDT and applause filled the venue in memory of Australia’s Test player No.408.
Warner had held Hughes’ hand when the batsman was tragically taken from the middle of the SCG on a stretcher on November 25, 2014.
On Friday he looked skyward briefly as teammates in the pavilion clapped during the tribute – watch the emotional moment in the video above.
Having watched Finch and Warner look to the sky upon reaching fifties and centuries, Smith followed suit when he reached 100 runs later in the day.
The former captain required just 62 balls to get there as he recorded the third fastest one-day international century by an Australian.
Smith set the bar high on Friday, racing to 50 in 36 deliveries then reaching three figures in just 62 balls.
Maxwell and James Faulkner are the only Australians to have registered an ODI ton in more rapid fashion.
Smith’s innings helped Australia to 6-374 after their 50 overs, setting a formidable target for India to chase down.
Warner (69) and Finch (114) had earlier set the tone, while Glenn Maxwell struck a quickfire 45 runs off 19 balls.
Remarkably, Smith, Finch and Maxwell all struggled during the recent Indian Premier League season.
Finch was dropped by Royal Challengers Bangalore at one stage of the Twenty20 tournament, while Maxwell failed to clear the rope once in any of his 13 games for Kings XI Punjab.
But the star trio clearly put the preceding fortnight, spent predominantly in their respective hotel rooms as part of Australia’s quarantine rules regarding returned travellers, to good use.
Smith’s freestyling start to the summer would have ended on 13 if not for the batsman’s successful review of an lbw appeal, and it could have ended on 38 if not for Shikhar Dhawan’s schoolboy error on the boundary.
Earlier, Australia and India stood to honour Jones and Hughes in a poignant minute’s silence before the game.
A Jones highlight package played on the SCG’s big screen, with Warner and Finch quickly evoking memories of his unforgettable stoush with Curtly Ambrose in 1993.
The batsmen appeared to ask India’s Navdeep Saini to remove a sweatband – the same query asked of Ambrose by Jones, sparking a fiery spell of bowling.
– with Rob Forsaith, AAP