Fourth Specsavers Ashes Test, Emirates Old Trafford (day two of five)
Australia 497-8 dec: Smith 211; Broad 3-97
England 23-1: Burns 15*; Cummins 1-10
England trail by 474 runs
A double century from Steven Smith put Australia firmly in the driving seat on the second day of the fourth Specsavers Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford.
After dominating the 44 overs that were possible yesterday, Smith got to work straight away this morning and picked up where he left off.
The 30-year-old cut and drove, getting himself into all sorts of shapes – but it didn’t matter as it was effective. Not once did he looked flustered during his eight and a half hour stay at the crease. He struck 24 fours and two sixes in this time.
During his innings, Smith became the leading run-scorer in Test cricket this year, surpassing Ben Stokes. Remember, Smith played his first Test in Birmingham in August and missed the last match in Leeds. Not bad if you ask me…
Despite scoring 211, the man from New South Wales was caught by Stokes at slip off the bowling of Jack Leach on 118. At long last England had their man… or so they thought.
An umpire review revealed that Leach had overstepped and delivered his first no-ball in Test cricket. It cost the hosts 97 runs and potentially the series.
Smith and Australia captain, Tim Paine, shared Australia’s highest partnership of the series – adding 145 for the sixth wicket.
Starc joined Smith in the middle and joined in the fun. The pace bowler proved that he can be more than useful with the bat, notching 53 runs of his own.
England’s bowlers looked fatigued throughout the day, struggling to find any rhythm and lacking some sort of plan to dismiss their fiercest rivals.
Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Craig Overton, Joe Denly, Joe Root, Leach and Stokes all toiled away with little to show for it.
The declaration came with an hour remaining in the day, setting up an intriguing little session. England’s new opening pair of Rory Burns and Denly had to knuckle down and make sure they were not out at Stumps.
The pair fought hard against the new ball pairing of Starc and Josh Hazlewood but Denly succumbed to pressure and Matthew Wade took a stunning catch off Pat Cummins at short-leg to get rid.
That left Burns and night-watchman Craig Overton to negate the final few minutes. England will resume on 23-1 in the morning.