Ashes 2019: Smith finally departs but Australia turn screw on England

By Sports Desk August 04, 2019

England finally claimed the crucial wicket of Steve Smith but Australia were turning the screw on day four of the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

The brilliant Smith quickly found the two runs he needed to reach three figures for the second time in the match, becoming just the third Australian to hit centuries in each innings of an away Ashes Test.

A rare lapse of concentration in another sensational knock saw Smith edge Chris Woakes behind, but a 126-run stand with the equally terrific Matthew Wade (86 not out) – which followed a three-figure partnership with Travis Head in the morning session – meant Australia were 356-5 at tea and leading by an imposing 266.

Smith was playing with the ease of a practice nets session, his performance typified by a couple of brilliantly timed drives off Moeen Ali that raced away for four.

England's desperation to oust Smith came to the fore with a woeful review for lbw off Moeen that was clearly doing too much.

With England firmly focused on Smith's wicket, Wade quietly punched his way to fifty, a sweep off Joe Root careering past Jonny Bairstow and scuttling to the ropes to bring up the half-century.

A poor Test for the umpires continued when Joel Wilson lifted the finger against Wade for leg before off Stuart Broad, only for DRS to show the ball was going well above the stumps.

There was finally relief for England when Woakes found movement off the new ball and Smith's attempted drive clipped behind to a gleeful Bairstow, but the hosts were facing up to the realisation the best they can hope for from the match is a draw with Wade and Tim Paine (7no) at the crease.

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  • Ashes 2019: Australia build on sizeable advantage after more batting blues for England Ashes 2019: Australia build on sizeable advantage after more batting blues for England

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  • Ashes 2019: England's shambolic 67 in Opta numbers Ashes 2019: England's shambolic 67 in Opta numbers

    England were embarrassed at home by their arch rivals on Friday as Australia ran through their fragile batting line-up in dismissing them for 67.

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    - England's eventual total of 67 was their lowest ever at Headingley, where the lowest Test total of all time is 61 (West Indies in 2000).

    - This capitulation followed England being dismissed for 85 by Ireland at Lord's last month. This is just the second time where England were all out for fewer than 100 twice in home Tests hosted in the same year (2019 and 1888).

    - Moreover, this was the fourth time since the start of 2018 that England were all out for 85 or less. Their other paltry totals came against West Indies in January (77) and against New Zealand in March 2018 (58).

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