ASHES: Smith keeps England’s bowlers at bay

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Australia captain Steve Smith withstood the charge of the England bowlers to leave the first Ashes Test delicately poised after two days in Brisbane. On a fascinating and, at times, thrilling day, Smith made an unbeaten 64 to lead his side to 165-4, 137 behind. 

That was a significant recovery from 76-4 as England’s attack, expertly marshalled by skipper Joe Root, was excellent in the scorching afternoon heat.  

Smith combined with Shaun Marsh, who is 44 not out, for an unbroken partnership of 89. The tourists earlier lost their last six wickets for 56 runs to slip to 302 all out. 

In control when Dawid Malan (56) and Moeen Ali (38) were together, England surrendered the initiative in a whirl of poor shots, aggression from Australia’s fast bowlers and the trickery of off-spinner Nathan Lyon. 

He claimed two wickets, while pace bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins finished with three each. To slump from 246-4 was feeble from England, but their total was put into context as Australia struggled to score freely on a pitch that remains slower than a usual Gabba wicket. 

Although Smith and Marsh were solid later in the day, England are well in the hunt to end Australia’s 29-year unbeaten run on this ground. (BBC Sport)

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