Smith returns with 144 to rescue Australia in 1st Ashes test

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Steve Smith scored 144 on his return to test cricket after a ban for ball-tampering as Australia recovered from 122-8 to 284 all out against England on the opening day of the Ashes series on Thursday.

England openers Rory Burns (4 not out) and Jason Roy (6 not out) confidently survived two overs in the evening session to reach stumps at 10-0 in the first test.

Smith and Peter Siddle came to the rescue of Australia's first innings with an 88-run partnership for the ninth wicket at Edgbaston, and Smith then shared 74 runs with Nathan Lyon for the last wicket in an extraordinary turnaround.

Smith was finally bowled while trying to smash Stuart Broad. His 219-ball knock included two sixes and 16 fours.

Former captain Smith earned his first test ton — and 24th test century overall in only 65 games — after a 12-month suspension for being involved in a ball-tampering scandal during the third test against South Africa in 2018. He reached his century by hitting Ben Stokes to the boundary, triggering a mixture of boos and plenty of applause from the Birmingham crowd.

Siddle, who was selected for his bowling, hit a valuable 44 before he sent a delivery from offspinner Mooen Ali to Jos Buttler at short leg.

No. 11 Lyon was 12 not out.

England had reduced Australia to 154-8 at tea after the visitors chose to bat and reached 83-3 in overcast conditions at lunch. But Smith and Siddle started to dominate after tea when play resumed following a short rain delay.

Broad took 5-86 to reach the 100 mark for Ashes wickets, and Chris Woakes 3-58.

Jimmy Anderson, England's record test wicket-taker, bowled four tight overs — conceding only one run — before leaving the field in the morning and going for a scan on his right calf.


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