Australia win first Ashes Test against England
Australia overwhelmed England by 251 runs to win the first Test at Edgbaston on Monday. Below AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the opening match in a five-Test clash for the Ashes.
Any thoughts Steve Smith might be rusty on his return to Test cricket following a 12-month ban for his involvement in a ball-tampering scandal were dashed by innings of 144 and 142.
His opening century of this Ashes series revived Australia from the depths of 122-8, while his second helped put them in a position to declare. By scoring hundreds in both innings of an Ashes Test, Smith achieved a feat even beyond Australia’s Don Bradman, widely regarded as cricket’s greatest batsman.
Smith’s Test average of 62.96 is now second only to Bradman’s staggering 99.94 among batsmen to have played 20 innings at this level.
England captain Douglas Jardine resorted to infamous ‘Bodyline’ tactics in a bid to curb Bradman’s run-scoring during the 1932/33 Ashes.
That option is no longer available to current England captain Joe Root, who now faces the difficult task of planning a way to dismiss Smith while making sure his attack don’t get a complex about bowling to the unorthodox batsman.
Smith top-scored with 687 runs at 137.4 during Australia’s 4-0 home Ashes win in 2017/18 and the way he started at Edgbaston, impervious to the booing from home fans, was an ominous sign for England