Sun, Aug 18, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Steve Smith holds firm as Aussies frustrate England

AFP, LONDON

Australia’s Steve Smith, left, plays a shot on the fourth day of the second Ashes Test match against England at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Steve Smith yesterday continued to pile on the runs as Australia staunched the flow of wickets in the second Ashes Test against England at Lord’s.

Australia were 155-5 at lunch on the fourth day, having lost just one wicket in the session.

That still left Ashes-holders Australia, looking to win their first Test series away to England in 18 years, 103 runs behind the hosts’ first-innings 258.

However, with Smith’s 53 not out making him the first batsman to post seven consecutive Ashes scores of fifty or more, a match in which rain washed out Wednesday’s first day completely and prevented any play after lunch on Friday looked to be heading toward a draw.

Australia captain Tim Paine was 21 not out, having helped Smith add 53 for the fifth wicket on a ground where they both made their Test debuts in 2010.

Australia resumed on 80-4 after England’s quicks had sparked a top-order collapse.

However, star batsman Smith, fresh from twin hundreds in Australia’s 251-run win in the series opener at Edgbaston last week — his first Test since completing a 12-month ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal — was 13 not out.

Meanwhile, Matthew Wade, who also made a hundred at Edgbaston, was unbeaten on naught as the skies started to cloud over, with the floodlights switched on.

Smith, who before play told former Australia-captain-turned-Channel-Nine-broadcaster Mark Taylor that he had slept in the bathtub at the ground while it rained on Friday, produced some trademark extravagant leaves.

However, he also struck two stylish back-foot forcing shots for four off Stuart Broad.

Fast bowler Jofra Archer, fresh from taking his maiden Test wicket on Friday, came on in the fourth over.

It was Broad, leading the attack in the absence of injured James Anderson, who broke through when he had Wade edging low to Rory Burns at third slip for an innings of 6 that took 45 balls.

Paine was beaten on the outside edge by the express pace of Archer and some fine deliveries from Chris Woakes.

However, when Woakes dropped short, Paine cut him for a well-struck four as the sun started to shine.

After 57 overs of right-arm pace bowling, England captain Joe Root finally brought on recalled Jack Leach amid suggestions that Smith could be vulnerable to left-arm spin.

However, Smith completed his fifty when he went down the pitch to Leach and lofted him over long-on for a sixth four in 107 balls faced.

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