Smith ton secures draw on lifeless pitch

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An unbeaten hundred from Australia batting master Steve Smith helped the hosts salvage a draw on day five of the fourth Ashes Test on a flat MCG pitch.

England needed a bag full of quick wickets early on day five to stand any chance of securing a morale boosting consolation win.

Australia opener David Warner also played a key role with his uncharacteristic 86 off 227 balls.

England managed to bowl 22.1 overs in the morning session despite yet another rain delay.

The part-time off-spin of Joe Root eventually removed Warner who couldn’t resist the slog with the field up and holed out.

England ignited faint hopes again before the break when Stuart Broad plucked out Shaun Marsh (4) cheaply with Jonny Bairstow snapping up a sharp catch.

After the break though Mitchell Marsh (26*) and the skipper were resolute creeping past the England score to a mark of relative safety before they declared on 263/4.

Smith went to his 23rd career century in his 110th innings, only Don Bradman and Sunil Gavaskar have reached the mark quicker, and his third of an incredible Ashes campaign for the skipper.

The captains shook hands after the declaration and the match ended in a bore draw that will shine a spotlight on the drop in pitches used at the MCG after yet another lifeless surface was trotted out.

Root told BT Sport after play: “It’s as flat a wicket as you’ll ever see. If you played on that for another four days the result would be the same. Credit to our guys for the wickets that they did take.

The skipper said of the wicket of Warner: “I got my birthday present.”

England have avoided being whitewashed but they will no doubt be disappointed at not notching a win in Melbourne.

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