Smith’s record century helps Australia to 68-run win vs NZ

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Sydney (AP) — Steve Smith posted the highest score in a limited-overs international at the Sydney Cricket Ground and then took a stunning catch to help Australia to a 68-run win Sunday in the series-opener against New Zealand.

Australia's Steven Smith plays at a high ball against New Zealand during their one day international cricket match in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Australia’s Steven Smith plays at a high ball against New Zealand during their one day international cricket match in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Smith scored 164 from 157 balls, including four sixes and 14 boundaries, before he was out late after skying a catch from the bowling of Trent Boult to Colin Munro at mid-wicket. Australia, after losing a wicket in the first over and limping to 92-4 in the 21st over, added 101 in the last eight overs to reach 324-8.

Smith got a not out decision on an lbw appeal from Boult on 14, which the New Zealanders will regret not reviewing.

“I got a bit of luck. I was probably out lbw at one point,” he said. “You’ve got to take the good with the bad. It was nice to get a good total at my home ground, and the highest score.”

Martin Guptill’s 114 from 102 balls included 10 boundaries and six sixes and kept New Zealand in the chase, but the innings fell away after he pulled an Adam Zampa short hop to substitute fielder Glenn Maxwell to make the total 185-5 in the 33rd over. Smith played a major role in the previous wicket, taking a stunning, diving catch at backward point to remove B.J. Watling.

Munro scored 49 from 59 balls but his dismissal was part of a slide at the end as the last three wickets fell for three runs and New Zealand were all out for 256 in 44.2 overs.

Smith broke South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers’ record of 162 for an ODI innings at the SCG. His innings also equaled the highest score by an Australia captain in an ODI, level with Ricky Ponting’s 164 against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2006, and was the seventh-highest all time ODI score by an Australian batsman.

Smith went to the crease in the first over when Aaron Finch (0) was bowled for a golden duck, and dug in while four wickets fell, sharing crucial partnerships of 127 with Travis Head (52) and 83 with Matthew Wade (38) to lift Australia out of a precarious position at 92-4.

Top-ranked Australia were swept 5-0 in their most recent ODI series in South Africa, but welcomed back pacemen Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for the Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said his lineup bowled well in stages, but didn’t capitalize on a good start.

“Credit to the way Steve Smith played,” he said. “We were good in patches, not so good in some.”

Game two in the three-match series is in Canberra on Tuesday.