Steve Smith stared down a depleted England attack and a hostile Edgbaston crowd as his superb century single-handedly rescued Australia on the opening day of the 2019 Ashes.
The first Specsavers Test would have kicked off with England seemingly well in the box seat had Smith not hit a brilliant 144, more than half of his team’s 284 all out and a distant dream after they limped to 122 for eight.
Sixteen months after watching their careers collapse in disgrace following the sandpaper scandal, Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all returned to boos, jeers and brickbats from the notoriously raucous Birmingham crowd, but while the latter pair faltered Smith flourished.
England had one hand tied behind their back from the moment record wicket-taker James Anderson was struck down by a right calf injury that restricted him to one four-over spell, and he faces an uncertain future in the match and the series.
After Smith’s tour de force was ended, Rory Burns and Jason Roy were left to face two awkward overs at the close but held their nerve to reach 10 without loss.
Follow the action from Edgbaston with our live commentary below..
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