Smith ton and late strikes put Australia on top


Steve Smith’s epic century and a double strike late in the day by seamer Josh Hazlewood put Australia in the pound seats at the end of the third day of the first Ashes Test at the GABBA on Saturday.

Home captain Smith struck a majestic 141 to guide his side to 328 all out, a lead of 26 runs on England who were bowled out for 302 on the second day.

Smith resumed his partnership with Shaun Marsh (51) at the start of the day which stood at 89, and the duo took their stand to 99 with Marsh going on to score his eight half-century in Test cricket.

The visitors then made inroads into the batting line-up with Tim Paine (13) and Mitchell Starc (6) falling fairly quickly but Smith found a willing partner in Pat Cummins.

Cummins scored 42 important runs and shared in a vital stand of 66 with his captain, the duo batting almost all of the second session before Cummins was out to England seamer Chris Woakes.

Smith though started to attack and added 23 for the ninth wicket with Hazlewood (6) and 30 with last man Nathan Lyon (9) as the Aussies took a narrow lead after both teams batted their first innings.

Stuart Broad stuck manfully to his task all day and finished with figures of 3-49 while James and Anderson and spinner Moeen Ali took two wickets each.

Australia made sure they ended the day on top when Hazlewood had Alastair Cook (7) caught at fine-leg before the same bowler had James Vince (2), England top-scorer in the first innings, taken at second slip to leave the visitors on 17/2.

Mark Stoneman (19 not out) and Joe Root (5 not out) survived a hostile spell of fast bowling from Mitchell Starc and Cummins to close out the day on 33/2, a lead of seven.