Steve Smith rediscovers form, notches crucial century for Australia against India

Steve Smith spent eight days searching for answers to conquer India's bowlers before again proving his status as world cricket's greatest problem solver.

Smith brought up his first Test ton in more than 16 months on Friday at the SCG when he worked his 201st ball from Navdeep Saini to backward square for three.

It marked the 27th of Smith's career and Australia's first in seven Tests against India, after the master batsman missed the home series two seasons ago.

His return to form couldn't have come at a more important time for Australia with the crucial third Test in the balance.

Smith's scores of one, one not out, eight and zero came after the hosts had failed to pass 200 in either of the first two Tests.

This afternoon, they finished their first innings with 338, with Smith the last man out and only falling run out for 131 to a superb direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja.

Almost immediately on his arrival at the crease in Sydney it was clear that he'd put the eight days between the MCG loss and SCG Test to good use.

Smith revealed after day one he had tightened his grip, while combining hours in the nets with shadow batting in full kit in his hotel room on match eve.

He also made a point of putting pressure back on India's bowlers.

After facing 68 balls for his 10 runs in the first two Tests, Smith scored three boundaries in his first 11 balls at the SCG.

He drove confidently against the quicks, with two of those initial fours glorious shots that went straight back down the ground.

Against the spinners, Smith was keen to use his feet when given the opportunity after being caught on the crease in his previous dismissals.

On other occasions as India packed the legside, Smith took the same approach as Australia's other batsmen by rocking back and giving himself time and room.

Seven of Smith's 16 boundaries came against India's tweakers, with the first three of those coming down the ground.

It is why coach Justin Langer continually refers to him as the ultimate problem solver.

"I wouldn't say aggressive. It was positive," Smith told Fox Sports.

"I wanted to put him under a little bit of pressure, which I haven't done so far in this series.

"I have been working on a few things just trying to hold the bat a little tighter.

"I have been struggling a bit with my wrists and now I have that back I can hit the bat a bit harder (on the ground).

"I felt like I was getting in good positions, nice to get a couple of boundaries away early and get off to a good start."