Ashes, 5th Test: Smith ton dismantle England

LONDON: Steven Smith scored his second hundred of the series as Australia piled up an impressive 481 in the first innings of the fifth and final Ashes Test against England at The Oval on Friday.


Australia may have lost the Ashes, at 3-1 down in a five-match series, but captain-elect Smith´s 143 was the cornerstone of a much-improved batting display.

England´s reply then suffered a setback when skipper Alastair Cook, who had made 22, with four fours, was bowled on the stroke of tea on the second day by a superb delivery from Nathan Lyon.

Bowling from round the wicket, the off-spinner got the ball to pitch on middle-and-leg before it turned past left-hander Cook´s outside edge to clip off stump.

At tea, England were 30 for one — a deficit of 451 runs — with struggling opener Adam Lyth eight not out.

Earlier, the 26-year-old Smith, set to succeed Michael Clarke as captain when the Australia skipper retires after this match, struck his 11th hundred in 33 Tests.

It was his second century this Ashes after a career-best 215 in Australia´s 405-run win in the second Test at Lord´s.

Thursday´s innings also saw Smith become the first Australian since Matthew Elliott in 1997 to score more than 500 runs in an Ashes series in England.

Smith received good support in a fourth-wicket stand of 146 with Adam Voges (76), while Mitchell Starc (58) helped him add 91 for the eighth wicket.

But Smith would have been out caught behind on 92 had it not been for a Steven Finn no-ball.

Finn led England´s attack with three for 90 in 29.1 overs, while all-rounder Ben Stokes took three for 133 and off-spinner Moeen Ali three for 102.

But Stuart Broad, whose stunning eight for 15 saw Australia skittled out for just 60 on the first day of the fourth Test at Trent Bridge — a match England went on to win by an innings and 78 runs to regain the Ashes — bowled 20 wicketless overs, for an economical 59 runs.

Australia resumed on 287 for three, a stark contrast to their Nottingham nightmare, albeit conditions were slightly more favourable to batsmen than at Trent Bridge.

Smith was 78 not out overnight and Voges unbeaten on 47.

Voges cut Broad, bowling with the new ball, for four to complete a 99-ball fifty, including nine boundaries, that followed his second innings 51 not out in Nottingham.

But Voges was plumb lbw for 76 when an off-cutter from Stokes kept low.

Next ball 332 for four should have become 332 for five when Smith chased a wide delivery from Finn and was caught behind, only for a replay check to reveal that Finn had over-stepped by a distance.

Finn, though, did have his 100th Test wicket when Mitchell Marsh (three) opened the face and was caught by Ian Bell at second slip.

Smith´s quick single off Ali saw him to a 197-ball hundred, including 12 fours and a six.

But Ali, who on Thursday had dismissed David Warner (85), took two wickets in three balls on the stroke of lunch, with Peter Nevill (18) well caught down the leg-side by opposing wicket-keeper Jos Buttler and Mitchell Johnson bowled for a duck.

Smith´s six-and-a-half-hour innings, which saw him face 252 balls including 17 fours and two sixes, ended when he dragged the ball onto his stumps trying to drive Finn.

The fast bowler ended the innings when he had Peter Siddle well caught in the gully by a diving Lyth.