A dazzling Steve Smith double a day in the field for England and century. Here is the selection of the action from Old Trafford…
Steve Smith hit on a double hundred as Australia captured control of the Ashes Test with a dominant batting screen on day two at Old Trafford, writes Sam Drury.
SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED
Smith edged to slip on 118 but was gifted another opportunity when replays revealed that Jack Leach had overstepped although having attained his 11th Ashes century just before dinner.
This was the very first no-ball of this left-arm spinner’s international career and it proved a costly one as Smith went to make his next Test match double ton – of three of them come from England – until he finally fell for 211 midway through the day session.
Smith has scored the most Test runs using 589 runs in four innings, exceeding.
With runs dripping in the first five overs after lunch and together with all the new ball around the corner, then Leach sent down a delicious delivery – tossed up and turning away – tempting Smith into a drive that grabbed the border and flew low into the hands of Stokes from the slips.
A horror washed on the spectators and the England side in Manchester as the third umpire checked on the front-foot no-ball as the batsman walked , livid with having failed to push on after reaching his century of the Ashes series.
The delight for the hosts turned to groans, together with replays revealing no region of the spinner’s foot was behind the ground, earning Smith a reprieve, and the England side a volley from their captain – possibly reminding his side how crucial it’s to take the probability that fall into them. Before he was eventually dismissed for 211 smith went to some score a further 93 runs.
How badly did England’s Ashes chances hurt? Though Jofra Archer’d been unable to pull off a difficult return grab when Smith was on 68 it was after lunch which the most crucial damage was done.
Only four balls into the next semester, an enormous ball from Stuart Broad was pushed by Tim Paine, on nine in the time, directly to the waiting hands of Jason Roy at second slide just for the England man to spill a easy shoot – the ball ricocheting off his right hand in his left wrist and then, agonisingly for its hosts, on the turf.
A 27 balls later, a second life was seen by Leach’s no-ball and the England captain responded by giving his staff a full-volleyed pep talk after their start to the semester.
However, Root’s words did not have the desired effect as Archer was refused a first wicket in the match when Paine, on 49 and desperate to bring up his very first half-century at 11 Tests, even pulled a short ball from outside off stump to substitute fielder Sam Curran at straight mid-wicket just for the all-rounder to set down the next simple opportunity.
It was not only a possibly match-turning session, which saw Australia score 124 runs without losing a wicket as Smith continued to rack up the runs but one that might have gone a long way to determining the destiny of the urn.
Isa Guha:”He [Smith] missed the last Test with concussion and wanted to come back and show everyone exactly what he’s capable of. This is an announcement of intent.
“There clearly was audacity about some of his shots throughout the covers; he still does not miss out against the bad ball. There was a tricky period in the morning against Jofra Archer if he wafted in a few outside off-stump but that was it, really.”
Michael Atherton:”England had depended , really, for allowing Smith to get off attack by providing him that simple tuck into the legside – and then were happy to bowl whoever was at the other end. That is alright but it’s a pretty damning indictment if you reach that point when you’re filming without feeling as if it’s possible to find a guy out. That’s the brilliance of Steve Smith at the moment.”
Shane Warne:”Smith’s kind is incredible. I really don’t think he’s been now but he has still played with some amazing shots. England have searched for different strategies to catch him out”
Watch day three of the fourth Ashes Test live on Sky Sports The Ashes and Sky Sports Main Event in 10am on Friday.
You can even follow over-by-over commentary and in-play clips onto our rolling blog on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports app.
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