Steve Smith completed his third century of the Ashes series after being dropped by Jofra Archer as England took just two Australia wickets in the morning session on day two of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Smith was untroubled on a dismal, weather-affected first day in Manchester after missing England’s dramatic series-levelling win at Headingley due to concussion.
The former Australia captain made a shaky start on Thursday but punished Archer for failing to take a caught and bowled chance when he was on 65.
Smith, unable to play in Leeds due to a blow inflicted by paceman Archer in the second Test at Lord’s, went on to score his 11th Ashes hundred – a tally which only the great Don Bradman has bettered.
The tourists were 245-5 at lunch, with Smith unbeaten on 101 after Stuart Broad (3-47) and Jack Leach removed Travis Head and Matthew Wade respectively.
Steve Smith in #Ashes 2019:
— ICC (@ICC) September 5, 2019
Smith was even more fidgety than usual when Australia resumed on 170-3, shuffling around the crease, edging and playing and missing early on.
The world’s top-ranked Test batsman had a big stroke of luck when he drove a full toss at Archer, who put him down following through and watched the ball run away for four.
Archer generated extra pace than on day one, but it was Broad who was more threatening and he got the breakthrough by trapping Head (19) leg before.
Australia were 224-5 when Wade (16) had a rush of blood and was well taken by Joe Root trying to launch Leach over the top following a short rain delay.
By then, Smith looked much more like himself, hitting glorious boundaries on both sides of the wicket and he kissed the Australia badge on his helmet and was given a warm ovation when he reached three figures just before the break.