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Steve Smith comes to the rescue

Updated on: 29 July,2023 08:13 AM IST  |  London
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Top-order batsman Steve gets Australia close to England’s 283 after being in dire straits at 185-7

Steve Smith comes to the rescue

Steve Smith during his 71 against England at The Oval yesterday. Pics/Getty Images

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Steve Smith comes to the rescue

Middle-order batsman Steve Smith scored a fighting 71 to get Australia back on track on Day Two of the final Ashes Test here on Friday. He shared a 54-run stand with skipper Pat Cummins to get the visitors close to England’s 283 all out in the first innings after being reduced to 185-7.

At the time of going to press, Australia were 277-8 in its first innings, trailing England by six runs. Cummins and Todd Murphy were unbeaten on 33 and 25
respectively. Earlier, Australia went to tea at 186-7.

Pacer Stuart Broad (2-49) needed five balls after lunch to claim the third Australian wicket and leave Australia on 115-3. Broad pinned Usman Khawaja leg before wicket for 47 and, despite the opener reviewing the out decision, the ball-tracker showed it would have hit leg stump. It brought Travis Head to the crease for an afternoon session that was braced to be more dramatic than a slow-moving morning.

Stuart Broad celebrates the wicket of Australia opener  Usman Khawaja yesterdayStuart Broad celebrates the wicket of Australia opener Usman Khawaja yesterday

Broad was on a roll now and Head feathered behind an edge to Jonny Bairstow on four to give England another wicket. It was Broad’s 20th wicket of the series and left Australia on 127-4, still 156 runs behind England’s total of 283.

James Anderson struck when Mitch Marsh played on for 16. Anderson, who had only four wickets in the series before this Test, picked up a wicket with the fourth ball of his latest spell after Stokes brought him on from the Pavilion End for the first time in this match. Marsh got an inside edge that crashed into leg stump to leave Australia on 151-5 with Alex Carey joining Steve Smith at the crease.

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Root got in on the act when Carey (10) spliced to Stokes, who claimed his 100th test catch for England in the process. Carey had just launched Root for six, but followed it up with a poor shot, chasing a wide delivery and sending it down Stokes’s throat to reduce Australia to 170-6, still 113 runs behind England’s first innings total.

Australia went to lunch at 115-2 in a morning highlighted by a brilliant slip catch from Joe Root.

Root’s one-handed grab to his left as the ball flew between him and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow removed Marnus Labuschagne and gave England its only wicket before lunch.

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