Steve Smith scored his third century of this Ashes series as Australia attained 245-5 at lunch.
SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED
For all that England’s bowlers were much improved on their efforts from the very first day, demonstrating purpose and intensity, they were not able to oust Smith and his 26th Test was finished by the former Australia skipper hundred late at the morning session.
There was some success for England as Stuart Broad removed Travis Head early before Jack Leach dismissed Matthew Wade, but Smith stayed and will be the body as Australia intention to post a commanding first-innings total.
The tourists started the afternoon on 170-3 however Smith, resuming on 60, was unusually scratchy from the first trades, prodding at deliveries at the station outside off after hitting a low full toss back in Jofra Archer, who might only get his hands on it since he tried to take the return catch.
Head saw little of the attack and when he failed, it did not take long for Broad to ship him on his way, as he’s done so successfully to the left-handers through the string, attacking from round the wicket and also trapping him lbw.
Archer was beginning to crank up the pace as well, topping 90mph to first time in the game, however, Smith had overcome his first jitters and held company and when the players returned after a short stoppage for rain, and the fast bowler was replaced at the James Anderson End.
The breakthrough came in the opposite end since Wade attempted to replicate the trick and, having hit on on the spinner over for four just before the delay, tried to take on Leach. But he neglected to get to the pitch of the ball and sent it at mid-on into the gloomy Manchester skies with Joe Root beneath it since it came back down.
Smith, together with skipper Tim Paine for business, moved in the nineties and following a few slightly nervy moments against Leach, he whipped the ball off Craig Overton into the legside for two to reach still another century five minutes before supper.
The slew had been Smith’s 11th at Ashes cricket and any concerns the dreadful blow he suffered at Lord’s from Archer might have a lasting effect have disappeared.
Watch continued live coverage of the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Sky Sports The Ashes.
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