Australia is on top of England after day 4 of the first Test of Ashes 2019. It was another Steve Smith day in the Ashes but this time he had company from Matthew Wade. Both of these batsmen got to their respective centuries and batted England out of the game.
It was Steve Smith’s first Test since returning from a ban for his part in the ball-tampering scandal. After his brilliant knock of 144 in the first innings, the former Aussie captain scored another 142 runs in the second innings.
At first, Smith put on a 130-run partnership with Travis Head. Head got out after reaching his fifty. Then Smith put another 125 runs partnership with Matthew Wade. When Smith got caught behind for 142, Australia had taken the lead past 200 runs.
Smith became the eighth batsmen to score hundreds in each innings of an Ashes Test and the first since Matthew Hayden at the Gabba in 2002. It was the first time in his career, Smith registered two centuries in a Test.
This was the 10th Ashes hundred for Smith, and it took him to the joint third most for a player in Ashes. Before him, former Aussie captain Steve Waugh had ten hundreds at Ashes Series. The great Don Bradman is topping the list with 19 hundreds and Jack Hobbs is on second with 12.
After Smith’s departure, the lower order then made some useful contributes to further extend the lead. But it seems like Australia missed a chance of declaring early. If they do so, there will be more overs left to bowl out England.
Chasing such a total is out of the question, but the hosts’ survival hopes were boosted by openers Rory Burns and Jason Roy coming through seven overs to close on 13-0. Nonetheless, the equation is simple, 10 wickets for Australia and 90 overs to survive for England.
England will have to bat out the final day if they are to avoid losing an Edgbaston Test for the first time in 11 years. Surely, Day 5 of this first Test of Ashes 2019 is going to be bonkers.