Australia's 251-run victory in the first Ashes Test raised many intriguing questions.

Will an injured James Anderson feature again during the series? Should an out-of-form Moeen Ali retain his place? Is there any way to get Steve Smith out - and will the tourists change a winning XI?

It is not just the players who are in the spotlight, however. The umpires' performances are also closely scrutinised - and it was a tough outing for on-field duo Aleem Dar and Joel Wilson in Birmingham.

There were more reviews than at a book club meeting. The two men in the middle had a rocky start to proceedings on the opening day, with the use of technology highlighting seven errors.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has already announced the list of officials who will stand throughout the series, with Dar on duty at Lord's next and Wilson back for the third Test, which takes place at Headingley. For both fixtures, the duo will be working in conjunction with Chris Gaffaney, who was busy in his role as third umpire for the opening game.

Following the game, we look back at the long list of successful reviews at Edgbaston.

 

DAY ONE

1.1 overs: David Warner is given not out by Dar despite getting a thin edge down the leg side from Stuart Broad. In fairness to Dar, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was the only England player to appeal with any gusto.

14.2 overs: Umpire Wilson turns down a vociferous appeal after England think they have Usman Khawaja caught behind off Chris Woakes. On this occasion, the hosts' review is successful as UltraEdge picks up the finest of edges from Australia's number three.

33.5 overs: England are joyous as Smith pads up to a Broad delivery and Dar raises the finger. The batsman reviews almost immediately and his decision is justified, with HawkEye showing the ball missing off stump.

34.6 overs: Wilson turns down an lbw appeal from Woakes against Matthew Wade. England review and another on-field decision is overturned.

39.6 overs: Dar decides James Pattinson is lbw to Broad. The batsman opts against a review, perhaps due to the presence of key man Smith at the other end, but replays again show the ball would have missed leg stump.

46.1 overs: Peter Siddle is lbw to Woakes, according to Wilson. A review proves the umpire wrong as a massive inside edge is revealed.

DAY TWO

20.6 overs: Australia thought they had England captain Root caught behind off the bowling of Pattinson for nine. Wilson agreed with their vehement appeal, but replays showed the only piece of wood the ball had clipped was off stump, with somehow the bail remaining in place. 

33.2 overs: Root again, this time on 14. The right-hander was given out lbw by Dar, Siddle the bowler as the ball cut back in. However, it had also taken a sizeable deflection off the bat, giving the skipper a reprieve. He went on to make 57 in England's total of 374.

DAY THREE

2.6 overs: For the second time in the match, England needed the help of DRS to dismiss Warner. The opener was unable to withdraw his bat in time from a Broad delivery from around the wicket, leading to an edge through to wicketkeeper Bairstow. Wilson was not convinced (and neither was Broad initially) but UltraEdge quickly showed up the contact.

DAY FOUR

84.2 overs: Broad felt he had Wade lbw after England had taken the second new ball - and Wilson originally agreed. However, he was forced to reverse his initial call as the ball was shown to be going over the top.

DAY FIVE

12.6 overs: Wilson must have been a little worried when Root immediately reviewed an lbw call, despite there clearly being no bat involved. Indeed, the footage revealed why - the delivery from Pattinson was missing leg stump...and by some distance, too.

16.4 overs: The same umpire-batsman combination were involved again in the morning session, this time Wilson's finger going up when Root was struck on the pad by Siddle. The batsman had a smile on his face as he quickly made a 'T' signal with his arms, knowing very well that an initial edge would save him.

Australia captain Tim Paine hailed Steve Smith as "probably the best Test batsman we've ever seen" after the tourists completed a 251-run hammering of England in the Ashes opener.

Paine's side stole a march in the five-match series thanks largely to the heroics of former captain Smith, who made centuries in both innings on his first Test back since a ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket.

Smith's efforts in the first innings proved particularly important as he helped Australia recover from a perilous position of 122-8 to 284 all out.

And Paine, who replaced Smith as skipper, is running out of superlatives for Australia's key batsman.

"I thought we were certainly up against it at that stage [122-8] but we had the best player in the world at the crease," Paine said of the man of the match at the presentation. 

"Steve showed his class in both innings. We're running out of things to say about Smithy. He's probably the best Test batsman we've ever seen. We're lucky to witness it."

Smith's second century coupled with a three-figure score from Matthew Wade on Saturday left England chasing the unlikeliest of targets at 398.

Nathan Lyon took centre stage on a deteriorating pitch on Monday as his 6-49 helped dismiss England for just 146.

"Nathan bowled superbly but our three quicks took a lot of pressure off him at the other end as well. The seamers were sensational," Paine added. 

"We thought we could improve on our first-innings performance with the ball. All those guys are world-class performers. This morning all four of them were sensational.

"We know every Test we play in England, the crowd will be against us. I thought the guys handled themselves really well and we've come out on top."

Smith was banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia for his part in the Newlands scandal and he reflected on an emotional week.

"Maybe a while ago I thought that [he wouldn't be playing again] but I'm really grateful to be back here playing for Australia, scoring runs, doing what I love and contributing to wins," Smith said. 

"It's been a pretty special comeback. I'm over the moon to be standing here.

"It's been a long 18 months for me and my family and friends and they helped me through it back home. I'm really thankful for that. I don't know if it's really sunk in yet.

"It's been a hell of a six weeks. I've really enjoyed playing here in the World Cup then this Ashes series is the ultimate challenge for an Australian and English cricketer."

Joe Root refused to blame a Cricket World Cup hangover for England's disappointing defeat in the first Ashes Test against Australia.

The opening day at Edgbaston came just 18 days after an amazing Lord's final against New Zealand, as England became world champions following a dramatic Super Over.

Six members of that ODI side featured in Birmingham, although their stand-out performers against Australia, Stuart Broad – who took 5-86 in the first innings – and centurion Rory Burns, were not among them.

Root, however, instead blamed an inability to capitalise on an early position of strength, having reduced Australia to 122-8 in their first innings, for England's 251-run defeat.

"No, I think that [World Cup fatigue] is a bit of an excuse if I'm being honest," he said at the post-match presentation. 

"As I said we played some good stuff throughout the game, we just didn't do it for long enough and we didn't take our chance right at the start of the game when we had them in that position."

The returning Steve Smith proved the difference by becoming just the third Australian to make centuries in each innings of an away Ashes Test.

England were also hindered by a calf injury sustained by James Anderson, which Root felt had an influence on the outcome of the Test.

"Yeah it was two brilliant innings [from Steve Smith], we have to keep working hard on getting him out," Root added.

"It was hard losing Jimmy early on, it becomes a balancing act, these things happen in cricket."

Anderson's selection was a dilemma for England before the Test with the seamer having sustained a similar injury last month, but Root defended the decision to select their all-time leading wicket taker.

"It was a group decision in terms of selection, he passed a fitness test [and] it's just one of those freak things that can happen in cricket," Root said.

South Africa great Dale Steyn has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect.

The 36-year-old played 93 Tests for the Proteas, taking 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 to become his country's most potent bowler of all-time in cricket's longest format.

Steyn said he has taken the decision to prolong his career, with the paceman contracted to play white-ball cricket for South Africa for the 2019-2020 season.

"Today I walk away from a format of the game I love so much. In my opinion Test cricket is the best version of this game," he said via a Cricket South Africa news release.

"It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally. It's terrible to consider never playing another Test again but what's more terrifying is the thought of never playing again at all.

"So, I will be focusing on ODIs and T20s for the rest of my career to maximise my full potential and ensure my longevity in this sport.

"I'd like to thank everyone in cricket, no one specific, because everyone has been a part of my journey. And I look forward to continuing to play for the Proteas in the shorter formats."

Steyn etched his name into the record books by becoming South Africa's leading Test-wicket taker in December 2018 when he dismissed Fakhar Zaman to beat Shaun Pollock's previous best of 421.

He has 696 wickets across all formats for South Africa and took a career-best 7-51 against India in February 2010.

The retirement of Steyn places further strain on the Proteas' fast-bowling stocks, with the likes of Duanne Olivier, Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel having turned their back on South Africa to sign Kolpak deals in the County Championship.Cricket.

South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe paid tribute to Steyn.

"Dale is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats of cricket. From the time he made his Test debut against England in 2004 and dismissed their captain, Michael Vaughan, with a superb delivery, he has been one of the standout fast bowlers in world cricket," he said."

He has led the South African attack brilliantly and set the standard for our future generations to follow.

"More than that he has been a wonderful mentor to our next generation of speedsters.

"We were saddened to hear of his decision, but it is one that management has to accept, and we thank him for his significant contribution to the sport and to the nation and wish him everything of the very best for the future."

 

Australia completed a resounding 251-run victory on day five to seal the opening Ashes Test as Nathan Lyon tormented sorry England with a sublime six-for at Edgbaston.

The heroics of centurions Steve Smith and Matthew Wade a day previous set England a near-impossible 398 target and their only realistic chance of avoiding defeat was to bat out the day for a draw.

But predictions that a wearing day-five pitch would be suited to the spinning skills of Lyon bore fruit and he finished with 6-49, becoming the fourth Australian to rack up 350 Test wickets in the process.

Pat Cummins added 4-32 and now has 100 Test wickets as England played like the proverbial deer in the headlights to fall behind in the five-match series.

The inquest will now begin for England, who had Australia at 122-8 in the first innings before the first of Smith's centuries brought the tourists back into the match.

Even still, England held a 90-run lead heading into the second innings but their inability to remove Smith proved costly in an enthralling contest and the Australians now have the psychological edge with their star batsman in phenomenal form.

Tim Paine's side head to Lord's with a 1-0 lead having ended an 18-year wait for an Edgbaston win in any format, while it marks just England's second defeat in 15 Test matches at the venue.

England would have been relatively content with the opening hour despite the loss of first-innings centurion Rory Burns (11) when a short one from Cummins was gloved to Lyon at gully.

Jason Roy (28) and Joe Root made 41 for the second wicket, only for the former to make a complete hash of attacking a Lyon delivery that turned through the gap.

Lyon quickly added Joe Denly (11), who wastefully reviewed when there was clearly a nick on a looped one to Cameron Bancroft at short leg, and the same combination snared the crucial wicket of Root – who England really needed to bat most of the day – with the fielder snaffling a sharp take.

It left England 85-4 by lunch and the situation did not improve in the afternoon session, Cummins ripping up Jos Buttler's off stump before Jonny Bairstow gloved the same man to the slips.

When Ben Stokes edged Lyon behind to gleeful Australia captain Paine the writing was on the wall.

Chris Woakes tried to delay the inevitable with an enterprising 37, but the out-of-sorts Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad had no answer to Lyon and Cummins accounted for Woakes with a short delivery to bring an end to proceedings.


LYON ROARS INTO ELITE AUSSIE CLUB

Lyon joined an elite club when it comes to Test scalps for Australia - only Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Dennis Lillee have also made it to 350.

All the focus pre-match was on the tourists' pace attack and which options they may use to try and cut down England. While the trio selected played their part throughout the Test, it was instead the one frontline spin bowler who was left to take centre stage on a worn surface.


STICK OR TWIST? NEITHER HELP OUT ENGLAND

The home side must be wondering where it all went wrong, having reduced Australia to 122-8 on the opening day. Coming to the ground on Monday, they always faced a tough order to survive and keep the series level heading to Lord's.

Their top-order batsmen attempted different methods to cope with Lyon, though none worked for a sustained period. Roy's adventurous march down the pitch will draw criticism, but even the reliable Root succumbed when choosing the more defensive approach. With issues over the form and fitness of key players, England's selectors have plenty to ponder in the break between games.


MOMENT OF THE DAY

The longevity of Root's innings was always likely to be crucial to England's chances of survival. But the skipper was sent on his way after a fine pouch by Bancroft shortly before lunch. Had Root managed to hold on England may have still maintained some hope of a draw, but Australia's celebrations told a story in itself.


KEY OPTA FACTS:

- Lyon has become only the seventh spinner ever to record 350 Test wickets.
- Cummins has now taken 100 Test wickets (21 matches); no Australian bowler has got there faster since 1937 (Bill O'Reilly - 20).
- No bowler has dismissed Root more often in Tests than Lyon (five).
- Denly has scored more than 23 just once in eight Test innings for England.
- Buttler has failed to score more than five runs in four of his eight Test innings in 2019.

Nathan Lyon struck three times as Australia boosted their chances of victory in the first Ashes Test by reducing England to 85-4 by lunch on day five.

The hosts resumed at Edgbaston on 13-0 chasing an unlikely 398 in the fourth innings, with a more realistic aim being to bat out the day to salvage a draw.

However, their survival hopes were hurt when they lost first-innings centurion Rory Burns for 11, the opener getting into a terrible tangle when trying to deal with a short delivery from Pat Cummins, leading to the ball taking the glove and looping kindly to Lyon at gully.

Captain Joe Root joined Jason Roy (28) and the pair added 41 for the second wicket before the latter perished trying to take the positive approach to Lyon, the ball turning through the gap between bat and pad to hit middle stump after he had given the off-spinner the charge.

Lyon then combined with Cameron Bancroft to dismiss Joe Denly (11) and Root before the interval, both right-handers pouched at short leg following inside edges.

Root had twice used the review system to overturn lbw decisions given by umpire Joel Wilson, though there was no doubt over his dismissal as Bancroft snared a sharp chance straight off the bat to send England's skipper on his way for 28.

Jos Buttler ended the session unbeaten on one with Ben Stokes still yet to get off the mark, the pair facing a monumental task as England aim to avoid falling 1-0 behind in the five-match series.

Steve Smith is "like a computer" when he is batting, Steve Waugh said after the Australia star scored another Ashes century.

Smith made his second century of the first Test against England at Edgbaston, putting the tourists in a winning position on day four on Sunday.

The right-hander, playing his first Test since his ball-tampering ban, made 142 in the second innings, having rescued his team with 144 in the first.

Smith became the first Australian to score two centuries in the same Test in England since Waugh in 1997.

Waugh, a mentor with the Australia team in England, lauded Smith's approach and said the 30-year-old seemed to have answers for whatever opposition sides threw at him.

"His preparation is amazing. He's thorough, he hits more balls than I've ever seen anyone [hit]," former Australia captain Waugh told Channel Nine on Sunday.

"When he goes out to bat it's almost like he's in a trance-like state. He knows exactly what he wants to do.

"He knows the opposition, what they're trying to do, how they're trying to get him out and he seems to have an answer for everything.

"He's an incredible player. I don't think I've ever seen anyone quite like him and his appetite for runs is second to none. His technique is amazing, it's unique, but he knows what he's doing, he knows how to score runs.

"It's like he analyses every ball, and it's like a computer – he spits out the answer."

England will resume day five at 13-0, needing another 385 runs for victory in a Test they are more likely set to look to save.

Steve Smith insists regaining the Australia captaincy is "not on my radar" after he completed centuries in both innings of the opening Ashes Test against England.

Cricket Australia stripped Smith of the captaincy and banned the batsman for 12 months for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket.

But Smith has not missed a step during his first Test back, rescuing Australia's first innings with a sublime 144 that steered the visitors to 284 from 122-8.

He was at it again at Edgbaston on Sunday, racking up 142 as Australia posted 487-7 declared to put the tourists in position for a victory that had seemed so unlikely a couple of days ago, with England needing to bat out the final day having been set 398 to win.

However, Smith has no designs on taking back the captaincy from Tim Paine and insists his immediate goal is just to help the team through his performances with the bat.

"It's certainly not on my radar at the moment [regaining the captaincy]," he told a news conference.

"It's just about going out there and doing my job as a batsman and scoring runs. 

"Of course I'm experienced now and able to help Tim [Paine] in any way that I can and he knows I'm there to help him and give him some suggestions and things like that as much as I can.

"If I see something I'll always go to him and try and help for the betterment of the team."

Nathan Lyon will be under pressure to deliver when Australia try to seal victory on day five of the first Ashes Test, says England batting coach Graham Thorpe.

Centuries from Steve Smith and Matthew Wade wrested the initiative away from England on a sensational Sunday for Australia, who declared on 487-7 to set the hosts 398 for victory at Edgbaston.

It means England, who closed at 13-0 in reply, have to bat out the whole day on Monday to rescue a draw on a pitch that should be well suited to Australia spinner Lyon.

Thorpe recognised that, but says Lyon has a tough task ahead of him as well.

"The pitch is taking a turn. Nathan Lyon will be important - they will want him to bowl well," Thorpe told Test Match Special. 

"He's under pressure as well - he's probably got 200 deliveries through the day."

A few eyebrows were raised by England's decision not to utilise Chris Woakes at all in a morning session of frustration for Joe Root's men, but Thorpe defended the home side's tactics given the absence of seamer James Anderson due to a calf injury.

"He's [Woakes] fine. It may have been that we were looking at spin options to start with and Stokes and Broad as well," he added. "Being a bowler down, [we were] just juggling the workloads."

Moeen Ali [2-130] had a day to forget and there was only a muted celebration when he bowled a peach through the gate to remove Tim Paine.

With Moeen also struggling with the bat, his place in the line-up is under threat, but Thorpe vowed the coaching team will rally round him.

"Moeen had one of his tougher days, [but] you've got to support all your guys in the dressing room. We know we leaked more than we wanted to," Thorpe added to Sky Sports.

"You have to help him, that's the thing for us in the dressing room, to support him where we can [to] help him improve going forward."

Steve Smith admits he did not know if he "still had it" after making a sensational return to Test cricket with Australia in the Ashes.

The former captain made a sublime century in Australia's second innings on day four, his second hundred of the match, scoring 142 as Australia declared on 487-7 to set England a daunting target of 398.

It has been a remarkable comeback to the Test arena for Smith after he was banned for his part in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket.

An elbow injury earlier this year also played on the mind of Smith, who reflected on an emotional few days at Edgbaston. 

"It's been incredibly special, obviously I've been out of the game for a while. I was a little bit nervous coming into the first day and I don't normally get nervous coming into games," he told Sky Sports.

"It was nice to get that first hundred, I've never scored hundreds in both innings before, so I was keen to do that.

"It was a very emotional first hundred on day one, I was kind of lost for words and had to take a deep breath, my spine was tingling.

"There was a time I didn't know if I wanted to do it again, just before I had my elbow brace off, I didn't know if I had it in me. 

"I've never felt that way about cricket in my life. It was strange feelings and emotions, now I'm back doing what I'm enjoying, practising hard. Wearing this cap, it's an honour and I'm grateful."

On the feeling of making his first hundred, Smith said: "It did overcome me, I had to take a few deep breaths. 

"It's really special, it's great to be back playing Test cricket, I love Test cricket, I love playing England, it feels like Christmas morning every morning coming here and doing this."

Smith's heroics and a fine century from Matthew Wade, his first in Test cricket since January 2013, completely altered the state of the game with England now needing a huge effort to secure a draw.

The ex-skipper pinpointed spinner Nathan Lyon as the key for Australia on day five.

"I was able to have some good partnerships with Travis Head, who I thought played really well, and Matthew Wade played with such freedom – I'm really proud of him and the way he played," he said.

"There's going to be some spin, Nathan Lyon's obviously going to be important for us.

"There's a bit of variable bounce, [we need] the quicks hitting the stumps and Gazza doing his thing from one end, quicks rotated from the other."

Steve Smith and Matthew Wade made sensational centuries as Australia took charge on the fourth day of the first Ashes Test and left England toiling at Edgbaston.

Former skipper Smith was once again the scourge of England with his sublime 142 seeing him become just the third Australian to make centuries in each innings of an away Ashes Test.

Stands of 130 and 126 with Travis Head (51) and Wade (110) saw Australia completely turn the tide of an enthralling opening contest, which England now can only realistically hope to draw.

The brilliance of Smith, who played with the ease of a man practicing in the nets, and Wade – who ended a wait for a Test century dating back to January 2013 – means an away win and an 18-year wait for an Australia victory at Edgbaston in any format is the likeliest outcome unless weather intervenes.

Australia declared on 487-7 to leave England, who were 13-0 at stumps, chasing a near-impossible 398 for victory and facing the daunting prospect of batting out a full day against the spin of Nathan Lyon on a deteriorating pitch.

Stuart Broad saw a couple of leg-before appeals against Head turned down and Smith found a gap in the field with a sliced, aerial cover drive on a morning of frustration for England.

Some hard running brought up their century stand, but Head's edge off Ben Stokes drew a sharp low catch from Jonny Bairstow.

Still Smith plugged away like the proverbial immoveable object and, having reached lunch on 98, quickly found the two runs he needed to bring up his century.

A couple of neat drives off the out-of-sorts Moeen Ali for boundaries preceded a desperate and woeful review against Smith on 125, with DRS showing the delivery was clearly doing too much.

Wade quietly punched his way to 50 off 70 balls before England finally made the crucial breakthrough by removing Smith, who clipped Chris Woakes behind with an attempted drive against the new ball.

It did little to stem the tide as Wade brought up three figures in the final session with a fine reverse sweep off the middle of the bat.

A pull straight to deep-backward square off Stokes finally ended Wade's knock and Tim Paine (34) - who passed 1,000 Test runs - was bowled through the gate by Moeen.

James Pattinson clubbed four sixes in an entertaining 48-ball 47 before Paine called the declaration.

Rory Burns and Jason Roy valiantly batted out the remaining seven overs in fading light, but a huge effort will be required if England are to avoid defeat in Birmingham.


SMITH TURNS THE TIDE AGAIN

How different things could be for England. Australia were 122-8 in the first innings before Smith's first century led the recovery. A first-innings lead of 90 may have been enough had it not been again for Smith's excellence, with Wade's knock also helping to hand the initiative to the visitors.


WADE MAKES HIS CASE

Wade's place in the Test side was questioned before the match and a score of one in the first innings did little to silence his doubters. But boy did Wade, who earned his spot by making 1021 runs in the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield, justify his place. With England so focused on Smith, Wade nonchalantly built his way to a three-figure score that was every bit as important as Smith's century.


MOMENT OF THE DAY

Smith could hardly have dreamed of a better return to the Test arena following his part in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket. The incident will forever leave a stain on his legacy, but without his brilliance Australia would not be in this position. His century was reached with an exquisite lash through the covers off Broad, leading to a raise of the bat and an ear-to-ear grin.

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. 

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