Ashes 2019 4th Test: Australia’s premier batsman Steve Smith made a brilliant comeback after missing the Headingley Test due to an injury as he slammed his eight consecutive half-century in Tests to put Australia in the driver’s seat at stumps on Day 1. Smith once again showcased why he is the best Test batsman in the world currently, as he countered a quality attack on an overcast day at Manchester. Even as rain interrupted play, it did not seem to bother Smith at all as he remained unbeaten on 60 at stumps on Day 1. Australia with 170/3 was on top at the end of Day 1.

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For England, Stuart Broad was the most impressive bowler as he scalped a couple of wickets. He also got England off to a dream start when he picked the ever-so-dangerous David Warner of the second ball of the first morning. Broad struck once again as he send Marcus Harris (13) packing. Harris’ departure brought Marnus Labuschange in the middle. Smith and Labuschange then put on an important 116-run-stand before Overton dismissed Labuschange for a well-made 67. Labuschange’s fifty was his fourth after replacing an injured Smith. He has been in ominous form and that is a positive for Australia.

When play was finally called off after tea, Travis Head was on 18 and was well-set. Australia will now hope that they can build on from where they left on Day 1. For England, it will again be about getting Steve Smith out, which has been very difficult in the ongoing Ashes.

Brief scores: Australia 1st innings: 170/3 (Marnus Labuschagne 67, Steve Smith 60 batting; Stuart Broad 2/35) at stumps on Day 1