Friday 19 January 2018 / 03:43 AM

ASHES WRAP: WARNER AND SMITH PUT AUSSIES ON TOP AFTER FIERY BOXING DAY

Australia again finished on top by the end of an eventful and fiery first day of the Boxing Day Test, with a sizzling century by David Warner and yet another classy display from mercurial skipper Steve Smith guiding the hosts to 3/244 at stumps.

England were under the pump early, Warner powering to 83 (off just 94 balls) from Australia’s total of 102 without loss at lunch before Chris Woakes found the breakthrough by trapping Cameron Bancroft (26) in the 35th over.

Warner’s strike-rate slowed to a crawl once he got into the nineties, and he looked to have fallen for 99 when he spooned up a delivery from Tom Curran. But replays showed the debutant seamer had overstepped, and Warner capitalised on his reprieve to bring up his 21st Test ton from the following delivery.

A spiteful exchange between Warner and Curran ensued at the end of the over, but the Australian vice-captain fell for 103 soon afterwards, caught-behind off James Anderson’s bowling.

Stuart Broad claimed Usman Khawaja (17) caught-behind to have Australia delicately poised at 3/160, but the brilliant Smith (65*) and Shaun Marsh (31*) wrenched the momentum away from England with an unbroken 84-run stand.

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