After suffering a concussion, Steve Smith on Wednesday returns on a rain-hit, and blustery day one of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Old Trafford.
Australia tumbled to 28-2 after winning the toss which won them the batting in chilly Manchester. Stuart Broad dismissed David Warner (0) for the fifth time in seven innings and also removed his opening partner Marcus Harris (13).
Smith, however, added 116 with Marnus Labuschagne, whose 67 was his fourth consecutive score in excess of 50. This took his runs tally for the series to 438 at an average of 146 as the tourists closed a day on which only 44 overs were bowled on 170-3.
Due to the windy conditions, the bails which were blown out of their grooves were replaced by heavier ones, while a crisp stay packet also stopped play.
As a result of the weather condition, the players went off for lunch for three hours.
Smith, who batted with Stem Guards after his blow to the neck at Lord’s remained serene – adding a 26th Test fifty to his scores of 144, 142 and 92 earlier in the series. He had at one point, swept away a rogue beach ball before the rain returned and ended the day prematurely.
As expected, Jofra Archer, who had felled Smith with that bouncer at Lord’s was fired up. The English seamer cranked up his pace to the 30-year-old having operated in the low eighties before that.
With only 44 overs possible, Smith took Australia to a good position on a pitch that looks ideal for batting but may be difficult when England come to bat last.
With Smith still in the team, Australia may record a victory. The partnership between him and Marnus Labuschagne may guarantee a win which can make them retain the Ashes with a Test to spare.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed