Australia star Steve Smith marked his first Test innings since suffering concussion with a fourth fifty of the series as he extended his Ashes run-spree against England at Old Trafford on Wednesday. AFP
The former captain missed England’s dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley after being felled by a bouncer from paceman Jofra Archer in the drawn second match of the series at Lord’s.
Smith came in with Australia in trouble at 28-2 after winning the toss on the opening day of the fourth Test in Manchester, facing his first ball from Archer.
He reached his fifty with his seventh four in 81 balls when he extravagantly cover-drove all-rounder Ben Stokes with a shot that saw the batsman end up on his knees.
That boundary took Australia to 142-2 in the 39th over of a rain-marred day.
Marnus Labuschagne, who has made four successive Test fifties since coming in as Smith’s concussion substitute, was bowled by seamer Jamie Overton in the following over for 67, to leave Australia 144-3.
Smith, who this week returned to the top of the world Test batting rankings, is playing in his first series at this level since completing a 12-month ban for ball-tampering.
The 30-year-old former Australia captain scored 144 and 142 in his side’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston before making 92 at Lord’s.
The five-match series is all square at 1-1.