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Steve Smith embraces 'dream comeback' after second century in first Ashes Test

Steve Smith remains steadfast captaincy is not on his radar after posting two pressure-laden tons, which reignited debate about where the batsman sits in the upper echelon of Australian cricket's greatest.

Smith had statisticians in a frenzy at Edgbaston on Sunday, when he backed up a first-innings knock of 144 with a dominant 142 to put the tourists in the box seat for a 1-0 series lead.

The former skipper became the fifth Australian to post two centuries in an Ashes Test, while his combined tally of 286 represented the most runs in an away Test by an Australian since Mark Taylor produced a record-breaking knock against Pakistan in 1998.

Smith described it as a "dream comeback" but wouldn't bite when asked about the prospect of becoming captain when the leadership ban imposed by Cricket Australia ends next year.

"It's certainly not on my radar at the moment. It's just about going out there and doing my job as a batsman," the right-hander said.

"He (Tim Paine) knows I'm there to help him and give him some suggestions ... if I see something I'll always go to him and try and help for the betterment of the team."

Smith was stoked to score two hundreds in a match, one of few achievements to have previously eluded the 30-year-old.

"It's something I have never done in any form of cricket," he said.

"It's incredibly special and special to put us in the position we are in."

Smith, now averaging 62.96 after celebrating his 24th and 25th Test hundreds, was described by plenty of pundits and players as Australia's best batsman since Don Bradman prior to his "leadership failure" that was the Cape Town cheating scandal.

That reputation will be entrenched and Australia will enjoy their first Test series win in England since 2001 if he continues to dismantle England's rudderless attack with surgical precision.

Smith now has 10 Ashes tons, equal second with Steve Waugh for the most by an Australian.

Waugh, mentoring Australia's Test squad at Justin Langer's invitation, scored 10,927 runs and watched great batsmen from Australia and around the world excel during his 168-Test career.

But even Waugh admits to never seeing "anything like" Smith, who played for the same Sydney club as his son Austin during a year-long suspension from international and Australian domestic cricket.

"It's almost like he's in a trance state," Waugh said on the Nine Network.

"He knows exactly what everyone wants to do ... he's got an answer for everything.

"It's like he analyses every ball like a computer and then he spits out the answer ... his appetite for runs is second to none. His technique is amazing."

Such numbers and style only tell part of the story, as is so often the case with Smith.

On Thursday, Smith pushed Australia from 8-122 to 284 as the crowd called him a cheat and convict while mocking the tears that followed the sandpaper saga.

Smith's restless shoulders then guided Australia from 2-27 to 5-331 in their second dig.


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