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03-Aug-2019 17:30:00 GMT
Eng vs Aus - 1st Test, Birmingham, day 3

Smith repels England again as Australia open up lead

Birmingham: England are once again searching for a way to remove Australia's Steve Smith after a see-saw third day left the first Ashes Test deliciously poised.

Smith, who crafted a superb 144 in the first innings, moved serenely to 46 not out to take the tourists to 124-3, a lead of 34 when bad light ended play early at Edgbaston.

At 27-2, Australia were in danger of being blown out of the contest on Saturday evening, only for Smith - in his first Test since returning from a year-long ban - to add 48 with Usman Khawaja and an unbroken 49 with Travis Head.

Former captain Smith silenced a riotous crowd, one that was baying for Australian misery when David Warner was dismissed and, earlier, during a ninth-wicket stand of 65 between Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad.

Woakes made 37 not out and Broad 29 to rescue England from a collapse of four wickets for 18 runs, which included 3-4 in 11 balls.

They helped the hosts to 374 all out and a first-innings advantage of 90, which seemed about the minimum required to negate the challenge of batting last on a surface offering increasing amounts of turn.

Brief scores:
Australia 284 (Smith 144, Broad 5-86) and 124 for 3 (Smith 46*) lead England 374 (Burns 133, Root 57, Stokes 50) by 34 runs

However, the pitch is also losing pace, removing the encouragement on offer for the pace bowlers.

In their quest to dislodge Smith and run through Australia on Sunday, England again look set to be without James Anderson, who batted but did not bowl on Saturday because of a calf injury.

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