Ashes: England face battle after Steve Smith century gives Australia the edge

Australia took hold of the first Ashes Test thanks to captain Steve Smith’s epic century and two late England wickets on day three in Brisbane.

Smith, ranked as the number one batsman in the world, spent more than eight and a half hours at the crease for his chanceless 141 not out.

With Pat Cummins, who made 42, Smith dragged the home side from 209-7 to 328 all out, a precious advantage of 26 runs.

England took three wickets in the morning session to have the opportunity of a lead of their own, but were made to toil in the afternoon by the remorseless Smith.

When they eventually came to bat, they lost Alastair Cook and James Vince, both to Josh Hazlewood to slip to 17-2.

At the other end, Mitchell Starc and Cummins defied the slow surface to give Mark Stoneman and Joe Root a torrid time with sustained and vicious short bowling.

Root was struck in the grille by Starc and needed two lots of treatment, but, despite numerous scares, England got through without further losses and remain in the contest at 33-2, a lead of seven.

They may, however, have concern over the fitness of pace bowler James Anderson, who spent time off the field in the afternoon.


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