Steve Smith has secured a second brilliant century of the match as he led Australia to a handsome lead of 141 on the fourth morning of the Ashes opener at Edgbaston.
He carved out a brilliant 144 to rescue his side in the first innings, and Smith once again proved a class above an England attack badly missing the injured James Anderson, reaching 98 not out at lunch.
It didn't take long for that 98 to turn into a century for Smith, who is proving to be a real pain for the England attack.
In all, the tourists scored 107 for the loss of only one wicket as they reached 231 for four, grabbing the initiative in unequivocal fashion with every run taking the game away from England.
Smith was responsible for 42 of them quite effortlessly, the bulk coming in a stand of 130 with Travis Head, the only wicket to fall when Ben Stokes took his edge for 51.
The last player to score twin hundreds in an Ashes Test was Matthew Hayden in Brisbane 17 years ago, and in doing so, Smith became the fourth Aussie to achieve the feat.
With Anderson’s calf injury ruling him out of bowling again in the match, it was a surprise to see Chris Woakes not bowl a ball before lunch, particularly given he was fit enough for fielding duty. Whether he was not available to bowl or simply withheld, it was an unexpected turn of events on his home ground.
England took the field hoping for a big show from spinner Moeen Ali, who removed Cameron Bancroft on day three, but also shipped 47 runs in his nine overs.
His ball scuttled low off the pitch and his fifth looped accidentally out of the hand, passing well above Smith’s head for a no-ball. It was an ominous start to a seven-over spell which failed to build pressure or bring chances, Smith and Head in full control.
It's truly been a phenomenal first Test for Steve Smith, and his record against England in the Ashes cannot be ignored.
The Aussie has now scored four centuries and a double century in his last 9 Ashes innings, highlighting his quality against England.
The 46* in the above image is his current innings, which has, of course, since increased to 104.
He truly is in a league of his own, and he is certainly going to be the key for Australia over the next few weeks.News Now - Sport News