Steve Smith

Smith ton outlines potential

Steve Smith is the man Australia can build their Test team around.

The 24-year-old is still a long way from being the complete package, but he's got the potential to be Australia's next captain.

Smith scored 102 not out for the Australians in their tour match against Sussex.

Selectors will reserve their excitement until they see Smith do it in a Test match but, again, the signs were good from the most improved player in the Australian system.

Smith looked rusty early - surviving two lbw shouts, one which may have been out if it wasn't a no ball.

But he turned over the strike nicely and late in the day found the fence - in one over smashing three consecutive boundaries.

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Phil Hughes (84), Ed Cowan (66) and Usman Khawaja (40) failed to capitalise, where as Smith stayed composed all the way to three figures.

There's plenty going for Smith.

He's young, but has a wealth of experience, both good and bad, behind him.

A terrific fieldsmen, arguably the most accomplished in the Australian team.

And despite making a concerted effort to concentrate on his batting in recent years, Smith proved with his three first-innings wickets at Lord's that his legspinners can still make an impact.

Smith looked superb scoring 53 in the first innings at Trent Bridge, but his dismissal was poor and showed he's got as much to learn as the rest of the batting order.

Patience, shot selection and game awareness as still skills for him to refine.

But Smith has now scored three centuries while in the UK - two for Australia A - to go with his 92 in Mohali.

National selector John Inverarity has spoken about Smith as a future leader and had him penned in to skipper Australia A, before he was called into the Ashes squad at the 11th hour.

Despite his late call-up, he was immediately elevated into the first Test team.

Michael Clarke may not have too many years left in him. His back problem isn't getting any easier to manage and he's spoken before about not necessarily wanting to play into his late 30s like Ricky Ponting and others have done.

Brad Haddin and Shane Watson are not long-term options as captain.

With this Ashes series quickly passing them by, Australia need to start looking to the future, and Smith is likely to be at the centre of their plans.