Ashes First Test, Day One: England frustrated by Smith century on dramatic opening day
Smith celebrates an emotional century (Photo: Getty Images)

Ashes First Test, Day One: England frustrated by Smith century on dramatic opening day

England largely dominated before Aussie captain Steve Smith issued a fightback with the support of Peter Siddle.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

A resilient 144 from 219 balls by Australia captain Steve Smith frustrated England after the hosts had earlier restricted their greatest rivals to 122-8.

After James Anderson picked up an early calf injury, the onus fell on Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes to lead the English attack, picking up eight wickets between them.

Broad finished with figures of 5-86, eventually bowling Smith for his milestone wicket after the star batsman put on 88 with Peter Siddle, playing ahead of Mitchell Starc, and then 74 with Nathan Lyon.

Yet England will still feel the day belonged to them, particularly as Jason Roy and Rory Burns saw off two dangerous overs before the end of play, but they will be disappointed that the visitors managed to claw their way to 16 shy of 300.

Rampant English attack

If David Warner thought he had got away with a fairly polite reception during the World Cup, he was about to be reminded of his misdemeanours by a vocal Edgbaston crowd.

Opening the batting with Cameron Bancroft, the home supporters were on them from the first ball and both villains of the piece appeared to dwindle under the pressure, dismissed within the first eight overs for just 17 runs. Broad the hero with both wickets.

Yet the scoreline only told half the story. Warner, who only made two, should have been dismissed for a duck when he clipped behind in an edge not noticed by anyone. But his actual dismissal, an LBW for Broad, was shown on the replays to be inaccurate in the first of seven errors by the umpires. However, spare a thought for Aleem Dar who was stung by a bee.

The pressure of a hotbed atmosphere was telling for everyone bar the England eleven as Usman Khawaja was quickly dismissed. Travis Head did offer a brief spell of resistance before lunch but when he became the second victim for Woakes after scoring 35, Australia slipped from 99-3 to 122-8 within eleven overs.

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Aussies fight back

However, in typically English fashion, Joe Root's side could not clear up the tail. Siddle justified his selection, showing his experience as he stood firm with captain Smith. Whilst World Cup hero Ben Stokes was loose and his teammates started to tire, England clearly missed the absence of Anderson who will be assessed overnight.

Siddle was eventually dismissed by Moeen Ali for a vital 44, whilst Smith celebrated his 24th Test century, taking his average conversion rate to 50% from half-centuries to the magic three figures. 

Broad finally got his man to dismiss Australia for 284, a competitive total compared to the 150 that appeared to be on the cards. Smith showed his teammates that this was still a good batting track after he won the toss and elected to take the willow, scoring 16 fours and two sixes after nearly six hours at the crease.

Despite the fruition of the nightwatchman against Ireland, England sent out their openers who saw off the two Australian overs and will resume play 274 runs behind.

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