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Ashes: Smith’s unbeaten 66 keeps Australia afloat (Tea)


Birmingham, Aug 1: England seamers Stuart Broad (4/38) and Chris Woakes (3/35) maintained their good show with the ball in the afternoon session as the hosts reduced Australia to 154/8 at tea on the first day of the first Ashes Test at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday.

With Australian wickets falling a pack of cards, it was Steven Smith who kept one end under control with his valiant unbeaten knock of 66, his 25th half-century in Test cricket.

Resuming the second session from 83/3, the visitors could manage 71 runs but lost five wickets, thanks to some lethal bowling by Woakes and Broad.

After six overs in the second session in which Australia had added 16 runs, Woakes trapped Travis Head in front of the wicket.

There was no stopping Woakes, who soon dismissed new man Matthew Wade (1) in similar fashion with just 105 runs on board in the 35th over.

Broad then joined the party and dismissed skipper Tim Paine (5) cheaply. The Australian wicketkeeper's mistimed pull landed safely in the hands of Rory Burns at deep square-leg.

As wickets kept falling for Australia, it was Smith who kept the scorerboard ticking. 

After Paine's dismissal, the English bowlers didn't have to work hard as they easily got rid of James Pattinson (0) and Pat Cummins (5), who were both caught plumb in front of the wicket by Broad and Ben Stokes, respectively, leaving the visitors reeling at 122/8.

Smith was then joined by Peter Siddle, who showed some resistance with the bat as the former notched up his half-century in the 47th over. Smith kept on facing the England bowlers courageously to help his team touch the 150-run mark in the 52nd over.

The duo shared an unbeaten 32-run stand for the ninth wicket which saw Australia averting an early all out in Day One.

Earlier in the morning session, it was England all the way as an inspired show by the duo of Broad and Anderson in the opening hour pegged back the visitors who went into the lunch break at 83/3 in 27 overs.

Opting to bat first under overcast conditions, Australia got off to the worst possible start as they lost David Warner for just 2 in the fourth over, trapped in front by Broad. Interestingly, replays showed that the ball was missing the stumps but Warner didn't review the decision.

The pacer then removed Cameron Bancroft for 8 as Joe Root picked up a smart catch. It was a typical Broad dismissal as he got the ball to pitch just outside off stump in the corridor of uncertainty and the ball nipped in enough to take the edge and fly to first slip.

Usman Khawaja's dismissal was another case of the bowler being repaid for delivering it in the channel. Woakes pitched it just outside the off and Khawaja edged it for Jonny Bairstow to complete a regulation catch. While Bairstow didn't seem too confident, skipper Root got the decision reviewed and it went in England's favour.

Having lost three wickets inside the first 15 overs, it was all about putting the head down and batting till stumps for Smith and Travis Head and that is exactly what the duo did as they went to lunch batting out 12 overs without handing England another wicket. 

While Smith looked to mix caution with a bit of aggression, Head was happy to take a couple of chances. 

Brief scores: Australia 154/8 (Steven Smith 66 batting, Travis Head 35; Stuart Broad 4/38, Chris Woakes 3/35) vs England

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