Ashes 2019: England frustrated as Smith rolls on

By Sports Desk August 04, 2019

England failed to stem Australia's momentum early on day four of the first Ashes Test with Steve Smith predictably leading the tourists' charge.

Having steadied the ship on Saturday evening, Smith, who scored 144 in the first innings, moved past 50 - the ninth time the 30-year-old has scored 50 or more in both innings of a Test - before ending the opening session on 98 not out.

Travis Head (51) provided useful back-up with 51 before clipping a Ben Stokes slower ball to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.

Matthew Wade picked up where Head left off, with 15 from 17 deliveries, but it was Smith who was again the dominant figure. The former captain now stands within two runs of becoming just the third Australia batsman to score two centuries in the same match in an away series against England after guiding his side to lunch on 231/4, a lead of 141.

With Stuart Broad having two leg before wicket appeals to Head turned down, Smith moved onto 50 with a neat clip down leg side, though he was fortunate a sliced, aerial cover drive found a gap in England's field soon after.

Some hard running brought up their 100 partnership, although Smith had another slice of luck when Jason Roy just failed to get to a lofted shot at leg gully.

Head did not have such good fortune, however, with Bairstow doing well to stoop low and take the catch after Stokes had drawn the edge.

With Wade wasting no time in pulling out some stylish shots at the other end, Smith calmly progressed into the 90s, though a tight over from Moeen Ali ensured there was no raising of the bat before lunch.

England will hope for more from Ali this afternoon with Chris Woakes failing to bowl so far on Sunday. 

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