Smith takes slow road ahead of Test summer

Steve Smith made a hard-fought century in NSW's Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia

Steve Smith proved he is ready for his Test return on home soil with a chanceless century for NSW that demonstrated some rare powers of concentration as much as his skill.

The Australian Test batsman hit 103 before being unluckily given out as the Sheffield Shield leaders took firm control of their match against Western Australia on a benign SCG wicket.

WA are 1-85 at the midway point of the contest after NSW batted for five sessions to post 8-444 declared.

NSW's all-star attack had only marginally more joy than their WA counterparts, with Mitchell Starc (1-20) removing Josh Philippe (15).

Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins went wicketless through their seven overs each, with spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe set to cover the bulk of the load.

NSW's top-four all passed 50, but only Smith reached three figures before being dubiously dismissed caught at the wicket off the bowling of Marcus Stoinis.

After a sparkling and inventive unbeaten 80 for Australia in last week's Twenty20 International against Pakistan, this was a dogged and dour display from Smith at the SCG.

The five-and-half-hour 295-ball innings meant the century was the slowest of Smith's first-class career.

The Test superstar said it was part necessity and part refocusing for the two-match Test series against Pakistan.

"After playing the T20s it was about coming back and getting back into red-ball cricket, and finding the right way to go about it," Smith said.

"It [the scoring] was a bit slower than I would have liked.

"The wicket was pretty slow and the square was quite soft as well. I had to keep grinding it out.

"I feel I play my best when I'm a bit patient and play each ball on its merits. They bowled some pretty good spells and didn't let me score too much.

"When I go back to practising (for red ball cricket) it is about getting in those good habits, of leaving balls, playing straight and keeping things simple."

Next Thursday's First Test in Australia will be Smith's first on home soil since his much publicised 12-month ban from the game.

"I always like playing at the Gabba," Smith said.

"Australia has a great record there and I'm excited to playing cricket in front of home fans."

After NSW resumed on day two at 2-221, Smith shared in a 141-run stand for the third wicket with Moises Henriques (91).

Test paceman Pat Cummins also displayed some good form with the bat, hitting a well-made 52 off 64 balls down the order.