England faces tough last day as Australia takes control
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — England must bat through the final day of the first Ashes test after Steve Smith and Matthew Wade scored centuries and Australia set the hosts an unlikely winning target of 398 on Sunday.
At stumps, England was 13-0 — and needing another 385 for a shock victory — after Australia had the luxury of declaring at 487-7 in its second innings. England had led by 90 runs after the first innings.
Rory Burns was 7 not out, and Jason Roy 6 not out, at the end of a fourth day totally dominated by Australia which had resumed only 34 runs in front on 124-3.
Prolific batter Smith (142) scored his 25th test century to become only the fifth Australian — and the first since Matthew Hayden in Brisbane in 2002 — to register twin tons in the same Ashes match.
Smith was caught behind off Chris Woakes after the Australian's latest formidable display at Edgbaston.
Smith's 144 in the first innings rescued Australia from oblivion, and his 142 set his team on course for a victory push though Australia may come to regret not declaring earlier with showers possible on Monday morning.
Wade reverse swept England captain Joe Root for a four to earn his third test century before Australia brought up the 400 mark in 96 overs. Wade was caught by Joe Denly off Ben Stokes for 110. Both Wade and Travis Head (51) shared century partnerships with Smith, as the continued absence of England's record wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson limited bowling options.
England had earlier confirmed that Anderson would not be available to bowl for the remainder of the match. He will bat if needed.