Steve Smith felt wasteful England played into Australia’s hands as he scored a magnificent double century on day two of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.
The prolific top-ranked Test batsman piled more misery on England by reaching three figures for the third time in an outstanding series, putting the tourists in total command.
Smith was dropped by Jofra Archer in the second over of the day on 65 and called back after edging Jack Leach to Ben Stokes at first slip with 118 to his name, the spinner eventually called for a no-ball after overstepping.
The former captain went on to craft a magnificent 211 – his third double hundred against England – as Australia racked up 497-8 before declaring, Tim Paine making 58 after he was dropped twice.
England were 23-1 at stumps and Smith thought Joe Root’s men got their tactics wrong by bowling too short in his first Test innings since suffering concussion after being struck by an Archer bouncer at Lord’s
He said: “Them bowling there (short) means they can’t hit me on the pad or nick me off and it softened the ball up, so it played in our hands, I think, for us to score some big first-innings runs.
“I said before the game that if they’re bowling up at my head then they’re not bowling at my stumps trying to get me out lbw or caught behind the wicket.
“I think that perhaps played into our favour a little bit. When Stuart Broad came on with the new ball he hit some really nice lengths and beat my bat a couple of times.
“He was quite challenging when he hit that length.
“For them to go as short as they did with the new ball and soften that ball up played into our hands.”