One could not have written a better opening script for the World Test Championship. Beginning from the era of Sir Don Bradman to the pyrotechnics of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, the Aussies always find a brilliant one-man solution to tackle their oldest rivals. Steve Smith right now is carrying the torchlight with a touch of unorthodox brilliance. His ton ensured Australia’s sinking ship was saved towards the fag end of the day.
Umpiring errors were an integral part of the opening day’s play and it cost Australia the wicket of one of their stalwarts, David Warner. He was wrongly adjudged leg-before, but the southpaw was not confident enough to review and hence found himself in the dressing room. A flurry of wickets kept the English on top, with Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes dictating terms.
Steve Smith was always going to be a solution for some major problems, so was he on a cloudy Birmingham afternoon. While he stood tall at one end, his partners were tamed and sent back cheaply. Apart from a sturdy 64-run partnership alongside Travis Head, there was very little resistance. After skipper Tim Paine and Matthew Wade walked back, the Smith-show began alongside Peter Siddle.
Smith and Siddle counter-attack the World champions
At 122/8 just before a rain interruption, it seemed like the current World champions had slurped and burped their old rivals. But an unexpected fightback from Peter Siddle gave Smith the leverage to carry on and continue his onslaught. The fast bowler wasn’t completely comfortable in the middle, but he took his chances and reaped good rewards for the risks.
Just when the 30-year-old from New South Wales was closing in on a century, Moeen Ali broke this crucial 88-run partnership and Siddle missed out on a well-deserved fifty. But Lyon stood his ground as Smith marched his way to another century, adding to his glittering portfolio of astounding cricket knocks. It was his 24th in Tests and also the 9th in Ashes.
Smith was in carnage mode after reaching three figures as the new ball was soon approaching. He accumulated plenty of important runs and steered his side past the 280-run mark. Stuart Broad picked up his 100th Ashes wicket almost immediately with the new ball as he knocked over the centurion’s stumps. With boos ringing around amidst a few cheers, Smith walked back after a flabbergasting 144 off 219 deliveries.
England got to play just two overs before stumps on the first day and as one would expect, even these two overs had its share of drama. England will continue their pursuit at 10/0 with James Pattinson and Pat Cummins handling the new ball.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the Aussie fightback
Steve Smith has shown his class. Again. Genuine great in test cricket.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 1, 2019
What an innings from Smith – Putting ‘the pressure back on the bowlers’ by good concentration, solid defence, batting time & high skill! England were equally fantastic today #ashes
— Nick Compton (@thecompdog) August 1, 2019
— Tino95 (@tinobest) August 1, 2019
Such a Sweet Revenge ! Steve Smith 🔥 pic.twitter.com/eifATvzUCE
— A∂itуα (@Aditya__17) August 1, 2019
What a day … Bloody love the #Ashes … !!! Proper Cricket …….
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 1, 2019
Really was an extraordinary innings from Steve Smith in his comeback test, an innings full of guts , intensity and tenacity .
From 122/8 , he has taken Australia to 284. #Ashes pic.twitter.com/jwapJu5FLi
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) August 1, 2019
Just how good is Steve Smith in white flannels….another ton. Given the context and his team’s situation, it’ll be at par with the one he scored in Pune. Grit. Determination. Best Test batsman on the planet?? #TheAshes
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) August 1, 2019
Whatever you think of Steve Smith,,,,the context of this test hundred must be appreciated for its sheer skill, tenacity and single-mindedness. Must rank very high on his list of 24💯’s.
— ian bishop (@irbishi) August 1, 2019
Aussies in the crowd & the dressing room are beginning to look healthy..& lively..Thx to @stevesmith49 the OZ bowlers will have something to bowl with…!!England missed the services Of ageing #JimmyAnderson…even so kudos to Australian never-say-die spirit..!!
— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) August 1, 2019
What a 100 for Steve Smith. Under difficult conditions, arguably one of the best batsman in Test Cricket. #Ashes
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 1, 2019
Steve Smith announces his Test comeback in style. This is a very special 100 #ENGvAUS
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) August 1, 2019
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) August 1, 2019
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