Smith leads Aussie fightback after Broad, Woakes’ strikes - GulfToday

Smith leads Aussie fightback after Broad, Woakes’ strikes

Steve Smith

Steve Smith celebrates his century on the opening day of the first Ashes Test match against England at Edgbaston. AFP

Steve Smith (144) smashed a gritty century to lead Australia’s fightback after Stuart Broad took a five-wicket haul to restrict tourist to 284 on first day of the first Ashes Test on Thursday.

England were 10 for no loss in reply at stumps as Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes shared nine wickets between them to rattle Australia.

Earlier, Broad and Woakes tore through Australia’s batting line-up. The visitors were struggling at 154-8 at tea in the game at Edgbaston, with Broad (4-38) and Woakes (3-35) sharing seven wickets between them.

Smith, one of three Australia players returning to Test action after serving lengthy bans for ball-tampering, was unbeaten on 66 as rain started to fall during the interval.

England’s performance was especially impressive given James Anderson, their all-time leading Test wicket-taker, bowled just four overs before going for a scan on a right calf injury.

Australia struggled to combat the moving ball in English conditions but the true worth of their score will only become apparent when England, shot out for just 85 by Ireland at Lord’s last week, bat.

Joe Root’s buoyant side are looking to round off an already memorable season by completing a World Cup and Ashes double.

Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss for the Ashes holders, looking to win their first Test series away to England in 18 years, and took the bold decision to bat first.

A partisan crowd booed the visitors when they walked out for the pre-match anthem ceremony.

David Warner and Smith at least knew what to expect, having been given similar rough treatment during the recent World Cup, which saw England beat defending champions Australia in an Edgbaston semi-final.

Dangerous left-handed opener Warner was lbw to Broad for two and did not bother with a review, even though technology suggested the ball would have missed leg stump.

As the initial exultant cheers from the crowd at an early wicket died down, Warner was subjected to a prolonged chorus of boos on his walk back to the pavilion, with spectators in the Hollies Stand waving strips of sandpaper and shouting “cheerio”.

Fellow opener Cameron Bancroft, who was banned along with Smith and Warner after he applied sandpaper to the ball during a Test in Cape Town last year, hit two boundaries but then edged a fine Broad delivery that bounced and cut away to England captain Root at first slip.

The combination of Bancroft departing and Smith walking in to bat prompted the loudest jeers of the morning.

Usman Khawaja then departed for 13, caught behind by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow off Woakes although, in an innings where the umpires had several decisions overturned, England needed a review to confirm a dismissal that left Australia 35-3.

Smith and Travis Head saw Australia to a lunch score of 83-3.

But a fourth-wicket stand of 64 ended when Head was lbw to Woakes for 35, with new batsman Matthew Wade falling in similar fashion to leave Australia 105-5.

In between those dismissals, Smith successfully reviewed after being given out lbw for 34 to Broad after not playing a shot.

He was in dire need of solid support but wicketkeeper Paine fell for just five when he carelessly hooked Broad to deep square leg.

An undaunted Smith completed a 119-ball fifty featuring just four fours, with Peter Siddle seven not out at tea after overturning an lbw decision on nought following a clear inside edge.

Australia have not won a match of any kind at Edgbaston since 2001, while England have won their past 11 internationals at the Birmingham ground.

The match is the first of the ICC’s new World Test Championship, with players’ names and squad numbers displayed on the backs of their shirts for the first time in 142 years of Test cricket.


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