Matthew Wade joined Steve Smith in making a century before free-scoring Australia declared on 487-7 in their second innings to set England the near-impossible task of chasing 398 for victory in the first Ashes Test.

The brilliant Wade racked up his first three-figure score in Test cricket since January 2013 with a brilliant 110 and James Pattinson made an entertaining 47 not out as Australia continued to make England toil on day four at Edgbaston.

And with Australia reaching such an impressive score, captain Tim Paine waved in his men with around an hour of play remaining in Birmingham.

It meant England will have to bat out the closing stages of Sunday and the entirety of Monday on a wearing Edgbaston pitch that will have Australia spinner Nathan Lyon purring to avoid defeat.

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.

Steve Smith became just the third Australia batsman to score a hundred in each innings of an Ashes Test on English soil after he brought up his second century at Edgbaston.

The former Australia captain scored a magnificent 144 from 219 deliveries in the first innings of the opening Test and led the charge for the visitors second time around on Sunday.

Having started the fourth day on 46, Smith moved onto 50 early on in the morning session, and though two slack shots almost cost him his wicket, he marched towards another century.

Moeen Ali's tight over before lunch ensured Smith was made to wait until the second session, but the 30-year-old duly brought up his second century of the match with a cover drive for his 10th boundary shortly after the restart.

Smith's shot saw Australia reach 236-4, a lead of 146.

In reaching three figures again, he became the first Australian to score 100 or more in both innings against England since Steve Waugh at Old Trafford in 1997, and only the third in history, with Warren Bardsley having also achieved the feat at the Oval in 1909.

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. 

James Anderson will not take to the field in Australia's second innings of the first Ashes Test, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed.

Anderson experienced a calf issue while bowling on day one and left Edgbaston early to undergo a scan.

The 37-year-old came in to bat as England surpassed Australia's tally of 284 by 90 runs on day three, but he did not return for the final session.

The ECB has now confirmed Anderson will not field for the rest of the Test, though the Lancashire paceman will bat if required.

Australia went into day four with a 34-run lead, with Steve Smith's unbeaten 46 having steadied the ship for the tourists following some early inroads for England's bowlers.

James Pattinson said Australia would be "in a bit of trouble" without Steve Smith as he backed the star batsman to rescue the tourists yet again in the Ashes.

Smith has kept Australia alive against England at Edgbaston, where the Aussies hold a slim 34-run lead heading into day four of the opening Test.

After marking his Test return with a stunning 144-run knock following a 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith thwarted England again via an unbeaten 46 to lead Australia to 124-3 at stumps on Saturday.

Smith teamed up with Travis Head (21 not out) after England reached 374 and a lead of 90 as Australia paceman Pattinson hailed the country's former captain.

"I was talking to a bit of press before about great players, they always stand up when you need them and I think he's done that this game," Pattinson said. "Without him we'd be in a bit of trouble.

"He's a fantastic player and to do it after everything that he's been through. He's been copping a bit from the crowd which has amused a lot of people.

"But to his credit he just gets on with it and he's a fantastic player. He's someone who lifts the group when he's out there. He's an unbelievable player."

There was a nervy moment when Smith was hit on the head by a Ben Stokes bouncer in the 29th over of Australia's second innings.

Initially dazed, Smith continued batting after passing a concussion test, as Cameron Bancroft (7) and David Warner (8) struggled, with Usman Khawaja (40) the next-best performer.

"It was quite a good reaction from him [Smith], wasn't it?," Pattinson told reporters.

"We had a little bit of a chuckle in the dressing-room. He always puts a bit of mayo [exaggerates] on things. He's a fantastic player and he seems to be fine now."

Chris Woakes does not appear to have much hope of "the best fast bowler who's ever lived" James Anderson being available to play a part on day four of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Though Anderson batted as England were bowled out for 374, giving them a first-innings lead of 90, he did not join the hosts as they returned to field on day three.

In his absence England reduced Australia to 124-3, the tourists 34 runs ahead when bad light stopped play, with Steve Smith unbeaten on 46 having rescued them with a remarkable 144 in the first innings.

England need to find a way of dislodging Smith if they are to set up a manageable run chase, and Woakes indicated they will have to do so without their leading Test wicket-taker.

Asked how he felt when he learned Anderson would not be on the field for Australia's second innings, Woakes told a media conference: "I was gutted for Jimmy, he's obviously dying to play more than anyone and wants to play more than anyone.

"But it wasn't right which was unfortunate for him and unfortunate for us as a team with him being the best fast bowler that's ever lived, in my opinion, with the amount of wickets he's taken and all that.

"[His absence] is a bit of a blow but at the same time us as a unit have to go out there and try to do the job.

"Moving forward, I actually don't know [whether he will be available on Sunday]. The fact he hasn't taken much part in the game so far doesn't look too promising but I actually don't know.

"It's a well-poised Ashes Test match. It's been a great Test match so far, reasonably even. We're pretty happy having them 30 for three.

"If we can start well in the morning, two big wickets up front could be quite crucial. All of a sudden if you have them 50 or 60 for five, it's a big turning point. Tomorrow morning, as always, is important."

Woakes put on a stand of 65 with Stuart Broad to help build a decent lead after England had lost four wickets for 18 runs and slumped to 300-8, and Woakes knows how vital those extra runs could prove.

"That partnership with Stuart, 60 runs or so, could be quite a big part of the game," he added.

"Pleased with the way we played and it was quite important we put on a partnership there because at that point it wasn't looking like we were getting too big of a lead."

Chris Woakes conceded England will have to go back to the drawing board to find a way to get Steve Smith out as the hosts seek to set up a manageable chase in the first Ashes Test with Australia.

England began day three at Edgbaston on 267-4 but a middle order collapse saw them bowled out for 374 in response to Australia's 284.

That first-innings lead of 90 would have been significantly more if not for Smith's remarkable 144 on day one, and he again proved immovable after England made early inroads in the second innings.

Australia were 27-2 after David Warner and Cameron Bancroft went cheaply, but Smith was unbeaten on 46 as Australia reached stumps on 124-3 with a lead of 34.

Smith is the key wicket for England in their quest to avoid having to chase a difficult total, and Woakes suggested they will have to devise a new plan to find it.

Asked by Sky Sports how to get Smith out, Woakes jokingly replied: "Have you got any ideas?

"He's obviously a world-class player and world-class players don't make mistakes, and Steve doesn't make too many mistakes.

"On a wicket like that, you almost have to build pressure, build pressure, build pressure and hope a batsman does make a mistake sometimes.

"I think we go back to the drawing board, have a look - on this surface, how is the best way to get him out, how to dry him up and also attack the other end as well.

"We probably didn't get our lengths exactly right, but at the same time, having them [effectively] 30-2, I think you'd probably still say we're slightly ahead."

Despite Woakes' assessment of the match situation, Australia seamer James Pattinson expressed satisfaction with where Australia are, the tourists having been 122-8 on the first day.

"To be in the position we are in now, I think we would have taken it [at the start of the day]," Pattinson told Sky Sports. 

"It could have gone either way. England being four down with only 17 runs behind, we could have let the game slip, but to our credit we went out there and took six for 100 and now we lead by a few."

Asked what lead Australia need to make England uncomfortable, Pattinson replied: "Anything over 150, I think, especially going into that last day on this wicket.

"I don't want to put a number on it but I think if we can just bat all day tomorrow and really grind England into the ground a little bit, see if we can get a decent lead and then put them in on the last day."

England made early inroads in the second innings at Edgbaston but face the spectre of another possible marathon innings from Steve Smith with the first Ashes Test in the balance.

The hosts started day three in a commanding position, 267-4 in response to 284, but may have been disappointed not to make that superiority tell to a greater extent on day three.

Rory Burns only added eight to his overnight total of 125 and, while Ben Stokes reached 50, the loss of four wickets for 18 runs left Chris Woakes needing to lead a recovery effort to take England to 374 all out and a lead of 90.

David Warner fell for his second single-figure score of the match before Cameron Bancroft again departed cheaply and Usman Khawaja went to a stunning delivery from Ben Stokes, but Smith - whose 144 in the first innings rescued Australia - continues to prove the immovable object.

His unbeaten 46 and stand of 49 with Travis Head (21 not out) took Australia to 124-3 and a lead of 34 when bad light stopped play, an advantage they would not possess had England's middle order displayed greater resistance.

The saviour of England's World Cup final win, Stokes looked primed to play another talismanic role when he reached 50 off 95 balls but the next delivery saw him nick Pat Cummins (3-84) behind.

A quicker ball from Nathan Lyon (3-112) ended Burns' memorable innings and just five balls later a horrible misjudgement from Moeen Ali saw him go for a duck.

Jonny Bairstow slashed Peter Siddle (2-52) to first slip in the next over to leave England in trouble on 300-8, but Woakes (37 not out) and Stuart Broad (29) combined for a ninth-wicket stand of 65.

Broad had tempered the sense of adventure that usually comes with his spells at the crease but could not resist temptation when he flicked a Cummins short ball to fine leg.

The injured James Anderson supported Woakes well until his ill-advised decision to sweep Lyon ended an innings that promised more, but England were soon celebrating again when Warner clipped Broad behind.

Warner was out on review after an inexplicable error from umpire Joel Wilson, but DRS was not required to send Bancroft walking after he pushed Moeen to short leg.

Khawaja and Smith looked well set before bowling brilliance from Stokes removed the former, and it will likely take something similarly special to dislodge Smith on day four as England try to set up a manageable chase.

Chris Woakes steered England to a lead of 90 in the first Ashes Test as Australia endured a frustrating second session on day three at Edgbaston.

The tourists appeared poised to restrict England to a small first-innings lead after an opening session in which Nathan Lyon spearheaded an Australia revival.

England led by only 44 at that stage but Woakes (37 not out), aided by 29 from Stuart Broad and a brief but creditable show of defence from James Anderson, ensured the tail wagged and produced some very useful runs.

Their advantage and total of 374 all out is short of what may have been expected of England when they reached stumps at 267-4 on day two, but is enough to set up a difficult challenge for Australia in their efforts to give Joe Root's men an imposing fourth-innings chase.

Woakes and Broad were Australia's undoing in their first innings and the pair that will carry the bulk of the burden with the ball grew in confidence with the bat as they put up a ninth-wicket partnership of 65.

That confidence was perhaps Broad's downfall as he attempted to flick a short ball from Pat Cummins to the fine leg boundary, only to be caught by James Pattinson.

Anderson, who did not return to the field after tea as he battles a calf injury and was replaced by sub fielder Sam Curran, did not prove a liability with the bat despite that problem, but England's innings ended as he made the mistake of trying to sweep Lyon.

He instead succeeded only in hitting him straight up in the air, with Cummins taking a comfortable catch to end an innings that once promised much more than it delivered.

 

David Warner joined in the Ashes fun at Edgbaston after England fans goaded the Australia opener over his ball-tampering suspension.

Former captain Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and Warner are playing their first Test since being banned for their part in a plot to use sandpaper to alter the state of the ball in a match against South Africa in Cape Town last year.

Warner has long been a target for supporter ire in this famous old rivalry and when he was sent to field in front of the Hollies Stand during England's innings on Saturday, he was serenaded with choruses of "he's got sandpaper in his hands!".

The 32-year-old responded by holding out his empty palms, earning applause from the locals, before continuing the merriment by turning out his pockets.

England were dismissed for 374 to bring tea on the third day, the hosts boasting a lead of 90 that Warner and Bancroft will aim to make inroads into after their first-innings failures.

Nathan Lyon led a roaring Australia fightback in the morning session of day three of the opening Ashes Test but England edged into a first-innings lead at Edgbaston.

Rory Burns impressed on Friday as England batted out all three sessions, but it was a different story in the first couple of hours on Saturday as concerns over the hosts' line-up were brought to the fore.

England were well placed at 282-4, but with Ben Stokes having edged to Tim Paine just after making a half-century, Lyon handed Australia the initiative when he dismissed Burns (133) and Moeen Ali for a duck in the same over.

Jonny Bairstow's wicket fell soon after as England lost four for 18 runs and slipped to 300-8. Stuart Broad (11 not out) and Chris Woakes (13no) managed to halt the slide, though, to take the hosts into lunch with a 44-run lead.

James Pattinson thought he had Stokes caught behind in the third over, only for England's all-rounder to have made contact with the ground.

However, after clipping a single fine of mid-off to bring up his fifty, Stokes succumbed on the next ball he faced -  a thin edge taking Pat Cummins' delivery straight into Paine's gloves.

Bairstow and Burns nudged England past Australia's total, though Lyon soon made the key breakthrough.

Burns misjudged a quicker ball, with Australia captain Paine reacting superbly to take the catch and send England's opener walking.

Lyons doubled the damage four deliveries later, Moeen bizarrely electing to leave a straight ball that sent his off-stump tumbling, before Bairstow then slashed an attempted cut to David Warner from Peter Siddle's bowling.

Australia looked set to rattle through England's order, but the hosts' tail wagged, with Broad and Woakes, who slammed Lyon for a huge six, ensuring James Anderson - who has been declared fit to bat - was not called on before lunch.

Nathan Lyon led a roaring Australia fightback in the morning session of day three of the opening Ashes Test but England edged into a first-innings leading at Edgbaston.

Rory Burns impressed on Friday as England batted out all three sessions, but it was a different story in the first couple of hours on Saturday as concerns over the hosts' line-up were brought to the fore.

England were well placed at 282-4, but with Ben Stokes having edged to Tim Paine just after making a half-century, Lyon handed Australia the initiative when he dismissed Burns (133) and Moeen Ali for a duck in the same over.

Jonny Bairstow's wicket fell soon after as England lost four for 18 runs and slipped to 300-8. Stuart Broad (11 not out) and Chris Woakes (13no) managed to halt the slide, though, to take the hosts into lunch with a 44-run lead.

James Pattinson thought he had Stokes caught behind in the third over, only for England's all-rounder to have made contact with the ground.

However, after clipping a single fine of mid-off to bring up his 50, Stokes succumbed on the next ball he faced -  a thin edge taking Pat Cummins' delivery straight into Paine's gloves.

Bairstow and Burns nudged England past Australia's total, though Lyon soon made the key breakthrough.

Burns misjudged a quicker ball, with Australia captain Paine reacting superbly to take the catch and send England's opener walking.

Lyons doubled the damage four deliveries later, Moeen bizarrely electing to leave a straight ball that sent his off-stump tumbling, before Bairstow then slashed an attempted cut to David Warner from Peter Siddle's bowling.

Australia looked set to rattle through England's order, but the hosts' tail wagged, with Broad and Woakes, who slammed Lyon for a huge six, ensuring James Anderson - who has been declared fit to bat - was not called on before lunch.

James Anderson will be available to bat for England on day three of the opening Ashes Test, though it is not yet confirmed if he will bowl.

Anderson suffered a calf injury on the first day at Edgbaston, having bowled four overs for one run in the opening session on Thursday.

He later had scans on the injury, with Stuart Broad confirming England were unsure as to the full extent of the problem.

The 37-year-old was seen running in the warm up on day two but did not have to take part in Friday's play as England batted out all three sessions - Rory Burns scoring 125 not out to move the hosts within 17 runs of Australia's tally of 284.

Anderson's recovery now seems to have picked up pace, with the ECB confirming to Omnisport that the Lancashire paceman will be able to bat if required.

However, no decision has yet been made on whether Anderson – who ran in the warm up – will bowl, with the ECB to take a view later in the day as to whether England's record Test wicket-taker should do so.

Australia mentor Steve Waugh feels the tourists have to learn from the way Rory Burns dug in to make 125 not out on the second day of the first Ashes Test.

England put themselves in a strong position on Friday as Burns produced his maiden century in the longest format, moving the hosts to within 17 runs of Australia's first-innings total with six wickets in hand.

Burns rode his luck at times but ultimately turned the match in his side's favour. Waugh was impressed by how the England opener handled himself and stated the Australia batsmen should take note.

"That's Test match cricket. You've got to grind it out and do the hard yards," he said. "It's not about how good you look, it's about how many runs you get.

"That was a good innings for some of our players to look at and learn from, sure.

"I know myself, playing tough Test match cricket, when someone scores runs for the opposition, you've got to be smart to look at how they got those runs, how they went about it.

"When you watch someone get 120 not out, you've got to take something from that and put it in your own game."

Waugh added: "I haven't seen a lot of him, but his concentration was excellent. He obviously knows his game really well.

"To get 100 on that pitch is a good performance - in Ashes cricket, it's really important for his side. I'll give him full credit.

"He played and missed a few times, but you need a little bit of luck. He showed a lot of character today, so he's got to be proud of that effort."

Neither side were helped by more errors from the umpires, who were widely criticised after day one, but Waugh was not looking for excuses.

"There's been a couple [of mistakes] over the past few days, but I think it evens out," he said. "You can't rely on that to win a Test match.

"You need to take luck out of the equation and play a little bit better."

Burns thoroughly enjoyed his outing and is keen to see England build a lead on day three.

"It was a wonderful experience," he said. "Hopefully I'm not done yet and hopefully we can push on from the position we're in tomorrow."

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