Sunday 25 February 2018 / 03:06 AM


A sparkling century by Steve Smith, outstanding lower-order support from Pat Cummins and a late-afternoon bowling barrage ensured Day 3 of the first Ashes Test belonged to Australia.

Smith (141 not out) and Cummins (42) spearheaded the hosts’ drive to an unlikely 26-run first-innings lead, before Josh Hazlewood struck twice to reduce England to 2/33 at stumps on Saturday.

Australia resumed at the Gabba on 4/165, but lost Shaun Marsh (51), Tim Paine (13) and Mitchell Starc (6) in the first 20 overs of the day as Stuart Broad and James Anderson started the day in imperious touch.

But Cummins’ 120-ball knock frustrated England for more than 30 overs – as well as playing some fine strokes, hitting five fours and a six – and allowed the sublime Smith to rack up his 21st Test century.

Taking 261 balls to compile, it was Smith’s slowest Test century and the slowest by an Australian in an Ashes match since 1993, but it undoubtedly ranked as one of his best.

Chris Woakes finally found Cummins’ edge just before tea, but Smith added another 38 runs to his total as Hazlewood (6) and Nathan Lyon (9) did their best to hold down the other end, eventually dismissed by Moeen Ali and Joe Root respectively as Australia finished up on 328.

That gave England 16 overs to survive – and they made tough work of it.

The embattled Alistair Cook fell to Hazlewood in the third over for 7, lured into a rash hook that landed in the hands of Starc at third man, while first-innings hero James Vince departed at the tall paceman’s hand two overs later for 2.

Opener Mark Stoneman (19*) and skipper Root (5*) doggedly saw off the remaining 11 overs of the day’s play, but the pair will need to bat for a lot longer on Sunday to get England back to level pegging in a Test that swung agonisingly away from them on the third day.

A day that, yet again, belonged to Australia’s extraordinary captain.

[YouTube – cricedge highlights]

Add Comment

About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

More cricket News

Special Features