Former Australia skipper Steve Smith allowed his bat to do all the talking as he marked his return to cricket’s most traditional format with a thunderous knock on the opening day of the Ashes series against England at Edgbaston on Thursday. Making a comeback to the Test format after serving the ban for the ‘sandpaper gate’, Smith wasted no time and announced his return in style to record his 24th Test hundred.
Coming in to bat at number four spot, Smith took the charge of the proceedings when Australia were struggling at 17/2 after current captain Tim Paine won the toss. But Smith, with just last man Nathan Lyon for company, completed his 24th Test century and ninth against England when he cover-drove all-rounder Ben Stokes for his ninth four in 184 balls faced. Here’s how the Twitter world hailed former world number one Test batsman’s knock:-
Smith also became only the second batsman to get 24th Test hundred in just 118 innings. Only legendary Australia batsman Don Bradman (66) achieved that feat in lesser innings than Smith. He surpassed the likes of Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar to achieve the landmark.
Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Smith were playing their first Test match after returning from the ball-tampering ban and the trio got a hostile reception at Edgbaston.
After Australia won the toss and elected to bat in the first Ashes Test against England, hosts’ fans at Edgbaston greeted the Aussies with sandpaper and a banner which read: England Champs, Aussie Cheats.
Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes tore through Australia’s batting line-up on the opening day of the first Ashes Test on Thursday, with Steve Smith fighting a lone battle to keep the rampant World Cup winners at bay.
The visitors were struggling at 154/8 at tea in the game at Edgbaston, with Broad (4/38) and Woakes (3/35) sharing seven wickets between them.
England’s performance was especially impressive given James Anderson, their all-time leading Test wicket-taker, bowled just four overs before going for a scan on a right calf injury.