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From Stephan Shemilt
BBC Sport in Old Trafford
Steve Smith once more had the step of England’s bowlers in his own return to a day from the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.
Smith, who missed the third Test notched up a record-extending eighth successive Ashes half-century to end the afternoon 60 not out and take the tourists into 170-3.
Australia had been decreased after winning the toss for Smith to include 116 together using Marnus Labuschagne, whose 67 was his fourth score in excess of 50.
After the temptations of England’s extraordinary triumph at Headingley which levelled the series this is really a subdued event, thanks to the bitter cold, blustery winds and showers.
The burst using the ball, the home attack of bar Stuart Broad struggled to supply a continuing threat, fitting the mood.
The players were not viewed for three hours as soon as they went off for lunch and dinner, it got too thick to prevent any additional action following a tea was taken at 17:30 BST, though they were able to play some rain.
Still, though just 44 overs were possible, Smith took Australia to a place that was great if England come to bat 37, on a pitch that looks perfect for batting , but might be difficult.
An Australia success would see them retain the Ashes with a Test.
A September Evaluation in Manchester looked vulnerable to the components and that had been a day when audiences shivered, players pulled on sweaters and rain was not far away.
The gusts had debris drifting across the field from the stand that is temporary that is enormous and the bails were blown that the umpires just did without.
If Smith was easy to blow over. It required a Jofra Archer bouncer to dropped him in the second Test and then rule the captain.
Here he returned and returned straight back into judgement the attention and idiosyncrasies that brought scores of 92 and 144, 142 to him .
Labuschagne and smith formed a master-and-apprentice venture, the two Australia players that England have not been in a position to restrain batting for the very first time.
It appears like long Smith spends in the crease on Friday goes a long way to determining the game, albeit with more rain forecast over the next two days.
Australia captain Tim Paine took the opportunity to bat on a dry surface after verifying that Mitchell Starc had substituted fellow pace bowler James Pattinson in his team.
After Broad had David Warner caught behind for a duck in the first over – the next time he has dismissed the opener in the show – and followed by Marcus Harris lbw that were hammering, it seemed like England will ride the momentum of Headingley.
They were refused by Smith and Labuschagne, who eased effortlessly into the methods that have brought them success.
Labuschagne appeared to score off the front foot and cut if spinner Jack Leach dropped short.
Smith played drives and nudged and nurdled to the leg side, including an incredible one through the covers Stokes while on his knees.
It required a beautiful nip-backer to that which was the close with Travis Head inhabiting a Stokes review for lbw to accompany Smith to bowl Labuschagne, from Craig Overton.
Broad bowled early on, sometimes and swinging the new ball away from the left-handers getting it to nip off the seam.
But below par, the England bowlers were collectively then, even if they could perhaps be slightly excused given the hard conditions they had been needing to battle.
There were instances when the fielders were frustrated in the problems with mess and the bond problems causing the Australia batsmen to delay proceedings caused by the end.
Once the sun was out and the rest calm, Archer was down to pace, failing to fulfil the expectation of his struggle when both locked horns for the very first time one which attracted a massive roar from the audience, by Smith.
By bowling brief, leach started and Stokes and Overton went more than four runs an over. Beneath the floodlights, one was left wondering exactly what movement and the length of the omitted Chris Woakes might have achieved.
Overton generated the ball that got a fiery spell bowled in the day’s conclusion, but they were minutes of penetration.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special:”What today proved to me personally is that all the discussion of momentum between games is absolute nonsense. Today what Australia have achieved is nullify Headingley.
“Against both batting units, if you can be consistent out off that stump, things could occur. I wonder if England will realise that they’ve possibly missed a huge opportunity now.”
England bowler Craig Overton:”It had been quite a frustrating evening with the wind but it was pleasant to get the wicket. It is tough in these ailments.
“Steve Smith is the major one which we want to get. We’ll return with a positive attitude and attempt to make him early.”
Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne:”To really have a loss like this [at Headingley] that was in our grasp was unsatisfactory but the way went on the match today we are here and in the competition. We’re really excited to procure the Ashes.”
Ex-Australia bowler Glenn McGrath:”I don’t believe England bowled as well as they would have hoped. These circumstances are always harder for the fielding side. I didn’t see too many demons in this pitch.”
Injured England pace bowler Mark Wood:”On a day such as this, it is hard to get that intensity straight up. It feel like a gloomy day entirely. It was a bitty day.”
Why was Ben Stokes’ Test at Headingley the England win of all time?
Analysis and opinion from the cricket correspondent of the BBC.
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