Ton-up Smith turns tide for Australia in Ashes opener

Australia’s Steve Smith celebrates his century at Edgbaston. (Reuters)
Updated 01 August 2019

Ton-up Smith turns tide for Australia in Ashes opener

  • Australia were in dire straits against England in Birmingham at 122-8 but their last two wickets more than doubled the score and Smith was last man out for 144 in a total of 284
  • Former captain Smith, who returned to international cricket during the recent World Cup that England won, was subjected to repeated jeers by a partisan crowd

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom: Steve Smith marked his first Test since completing a 12-month ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal with a superb century to rescue Australia on the opening day of the Ashes series on Thursday.
Australia were in dire straits against England in Birmingham at 122-8 but their last two wickets more than doubled the score and Smith was last man out for 144 in a total of 284.
Rory Burns and Jason Roy then survived two overs as the hosts ended the day on 10-0.
Former captain Smith, who returned to international cricket during the recent World Cup that England won, was subjected to repeated jeers by a partisan crowd.
But he answered the boos in style with his 24th Test century and ninth against England.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Smith told BBC Radio. “Obviously been a while since I’ve been able to put on the whites and the baggy green (cap).
“I’m really proud of the way I was able to stand up today. We were in a bit of trouble there and we had to dig deep on a wicket that wasn’t easy.”
Australia had slumped to 17-2 when Smith came in to bat after current skipper Tim Paine had won the toss.
Wickets fell steadily but Smith found the ally he needed in Peter Siddle, with the recalled number 10 making a valuable 44 — the second-best score of the innings — in a ninth-wicket partnership of 88.
Up until that point it seemed England would not suffer from the absence of James Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, who had only bowled four overs before suffering a right calf injury.
Longtime new-ball partner Stuart Broad took 5-86 in 22.4 overs and fellow paceman Chris Woakes chipped in with 3-58 on his Warwickshire home ground.
But Australia’s total may yet be enough to embarrass an England side who collapsed to 85 all out before beating Ireland at Lord’s last week.
The fans booed the visitors when they walked out for the pre-match anthem ceremony with Australia’s XI containing Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft — the three players banned following the ball-tampering incident that took place during a Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March 2018.
Dangerous left-handed opener Warner was lbw to Broad for two and did not bother with a review, even though technology suggested the ball would have missed leg stump.
As the cheers from the crowd at an early wicket died down, Warner was subjected to a prolonged chorus of boos on his walk back to the pavilion, with spectators waving strips of sandpaper and shouting “cheerio.”
Fellow opener Bancroft, who actually applied sandpaper to the ball at Newlands, then fell for eight when he edged an excellent Broad delivery to England captain Joe Root at first slip.
The combination of Bancroft departing and Smith walking in to bat prompted even louder jeers from what has long been England’s most raucous home crowd.
After lunch, Smith successfully reviewed after being given out lbw for 34 to Broad not playing a shot.
Paine fell cheaply as the wickets tumbled but Smith found the ally he needed in Siddle, who shamed many of his top-order colleagues until he was caught at short leg by Jos Buttler off the bowling of Moeen Ali.
But soon afterwards Smith clubbed Ali for a four and a six to go to 98 before a cover-driven boundary off all-rounder Ben Stokes saw him to three figures in 184 balls, including nine fours and a six.
Smith, amid a chorus of boos and cheers, celebrated by exultantly waving his bat.
He piled on the agony for England, swinging Broad to leg for six before the angry seamer clean bowled him.


Sterling, Mbappe light up Champions League with hat-tricks while Spurs claim key win

Updated 56 min 30 sec ago

Sterling, Mbappe light up Champions League with hat-tricks while Spurs claim key win

  • Compared to Sterling, Mbappe took a sluggish 22 minutes to score his three goals

PARIS: Raheem Sterling and Kylian Mbappe both scored second-half hat-tricks in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur all recorded big victories.
Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich labored to wins on a night which brought 30 goals in eight games, a third of which were scored by Premier League clubs.
Sterling’s three goals came 11 minutes apart in the second half as Pep Guardiola’s City thumped Atalanta 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium to maintain their perfect record in Group C.
The Italians had earlier taken the lead from Ruslan Malinovskyi’s 28th-minute penalty, but they were soon overrun and remain without a point in their debut Champions League campaign.
Sergio Aguero equalized from a Sterling assist and the Argentine scored a penalty to put City ahead before the break. Sterling then took over, although City finished with 10 men as Phil Foden was sent off late on.
“I should have had four. Riyad Mahrez put me through and I was looking to put one on a plate for him. But I went through and should have finished it,” Sterling admitted to BT Sport.
City’s will seal a place in the last 16 if they win away to Atalanta next, as nearest rivals Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb played out a 2-2 draw in Ukraine earlier.
Yevhen Konoplyanka and Brazilian substitute Dodo netted for Shakhtar, with Dinamo’s goals coming in between from Dani Olmo and a Mislav Orsic penalty.
Compared to Sterling, Mbappe took a sluggish 22 minutes to score his three goals in PSG’s 5-0 romp away to former European Cup runners-up Club Brugge in Belgium in Group A.
Mauro Icardi scored twice for the French champions, who were without the injured Neymar but had Angel Di Maria in exceptional form — the Argentine set up four goals.
According to sports statisticians Opta, the last player to come off the bench and score a hat-trick in the Champions League was Spaniard Joseba Llorente for Villarreal in 2008.
“I wanted to start and I thought I was going to start, but the coach made his choice and I had to accept it. I also wanted to show that it’s difficult to get by without me,” Mbappe told French broadcaster RMC Sport.
PSG have a maximum nine points, are yet to concede a goal in Europe this season and will be through to the last 16 with a win at home to Club next month.
Below them, Real Madrid are up to second after claiming their first win in Europe this season. Eden Hazard set up Toni Kroos for a first-half strike that handed them a 1-0 victory over Galatasaray in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, there was a welcome win for Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham, who crushed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 in north London, three weeks on from their 7-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich at the same venue.
Captain Harry Kane scored twice for Spurs either side of a Son Heung-min brace and an Erik Lamela goal as they moved up to second place in Group B on four points.
“We know we have had a tough run of results and that was the perfect way to respond,” said Kane.
They remain five points behind group leaders Bayern Munich, for whom Robert Lewandowski bagged two in a 3-2 win at Olympiakos that maintained their perfect record.
The Pole has 18 goals this season and 58 career Champions League goals — only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Raul and Karim Benzema have more.
Youssef El Arabi gave Olympiakos the lead, but Lewandowski’s brace either side of half-time changed the game and Corentin Tolisso fired in a magnificent third before Guilherme pulled one back.
In Turin, Juventus needed a late Paulo Dybala pair to come from behind and beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-1 in Group D.
Aleksei Miranchuk gave the Russians the lead on the half-hour and it took a stunning strike by Dybala to bring the Italian champions back level with 13 minutes left.
Moments later the same player scored from the follow-up after Alex Sandro’s shot was saved.
Juve are level atop Group D on seven points with Atletico Madrid, who edged out Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 thanks to Alvaro Morata’s 78th-minute header.