Ashes: Steven Smith marks return with double century against England
Ex-Australia skipper Steven Smith slams double ton to notch up third three-figure score of the series as visitors pile on 497-8 before declaring
Australia's Steven Smith marked his return to international cricket with a double century as Australia declared their innings at 497-8 on Day Two of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Old Trafford yesterday.
The world's top-ranked Test batsman went to his third double hundred at this level, and third against England, in 310 balls including 22 fours and two sixes with a legside two off Stuart Broad (3-97). He was eventually out for 211, when a reverse sweep off England captain and occasional spinner Joe Root's leg-break was caught by Joe Denly at what had been backward point.
Smith missed England's series-levelling one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley with a concussion suffered when struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer during the drawn second Test at Lord's. But, even so, he has now scored 589 runs in four innings this series — his first since completing a 12-month ball tampering ban, including three hundreds, at a colossal average of 147.25.
This was the third time this Ashes he had reached three figures following scores of 144 and 142 in the first Test at Edgbaston, with his lowest total of the series the 92 he made at Lord's.
Earlier, Smith and Tim Paine (58), his successor as Australia captain, put on 145 for the sixth wicket. Smith, however, dropped on 65 when Archer failed to hold a caught and bowled chance off a hard-hit full toss. Smith was also reprieved on 118 when caught at slip off Jack Leach only for replays to reveal that the left-arm spinner had bowled just the eighth no-ball of his first-class career.
Australia resumed on 170-3 under sunny skies after Wednesday's rain-marred first day and Smith drove Archer off the back foot through extra cover for a superb four in the second over to go to 65. The next delivery, however, saw Smith hammer a full toss straight back at Archer, who dropped the two-handed caught-and-bowled chance, with the ball going for four after bursting through his grasp. Broad, however, removed yet another left-hander this series when a full-length delivery had Travis Head lbw for 19. Leach lured Matthew Wade (16) into a miscued drive to England captain Joe Root at mid-on.
Steven Smith becomes the first player to score 500-plus runs in three successive Ashes series
Australia 497-8 (S Smith 211, T Paine 58, M Starc 54*; S Broad 3-97, M Leach 2-83, C Overton 2-85) v England
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England v Australia, Day 3: Sony Six, 15:30
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