Smith ton helps Australia dominate England in Ashes opener

Australia's Steve Smith and Matthew Wade walk off at stumps. (Reuters)
Updated 04 August 2019

Smith ton helps Australia dominate England in Ashes opener

  • Australia set England a daunting 398 to win the Ashes opener at Edgbaston
  • Steve Smith made 142 following his 144 in the first innings of the match

BIRMINGHAM: Steve Smith hit his second century of his comeback Test on Sunday as Australia set England a daunting 398 to win the Ashes opener at Edgbaston.
Ashes-holders Australia, bidding to win their first Test series away to England in 18 years, made 487-7 declared in their second innings as they capitalized on the absence from the home side’s attack of the injured James Anderson.
That left England needing 398 for victory — the most they have made in the fourth innings to win a Test was 332-7 against Australia at Melbourne back in 1928/29.
Australia captain Tim Paine’s declaration late on the fourth day left England with an awkward seven overs to bat before stumps.
Rory Burns, fresh from his maiden Test century in the first innings, and Surrey teammate Jason Roy saw England to 13-0 at the close.
Smith made 142 following his 144 in the first innings of the match — the former Australia captain’s first Test since the end of a 12-month ban for his role in last year’s ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
He is just the fifth Australian to score hundreds in both innings of an Ashes Test.
Matthew Wade marked his first Test for nearly two years with a fine 110.
Smith, having reached lunch on 98 not out, went to three figures in style when he cover-drove England paceman Stuart Broad for his 10th four in 147 balls faced.

He celebrated by removing his batting helmet and waving his bat joyously toward the Australia changing room.
And while there was applause from a packed crowd, there were also renewed chants of “Crying on the telly, we saw you crying on the telly” in a reference to the emotional press conference Smith gave in Sydney after he was sent home from South Africa.
“When he goes out to bat, it’s almost like he’s in a trance-like state,” former Australia captain Waugh told Channel Nine.
“He knows exactly what he’s trying to do, exactly what the opposition are trying to do... he analyzes every ball and it’s like a computer, he spits out the answer,” added Waugh, now a mentor to the Australia squad.
Smith has now scored 1,116 runs in his past 10 Ashes innings, a figure second only to the 1,236 made over the same span by Australia’s Don Bradman — widely regarded as Test cricket’s greatest batsman.
England captain Joe Root brought himself on to bowl his part-time off-breaks and deployed Joe Denly’s occasional leg-spin as frontline spinner Moeen Ali struggled to exert any control.
Wicketkeeper Wade, playing as a specialist batsman, with Paine behind the stumps, reverse-swept Root to complete a 70-ball fifty.
The new ball, however, did eventually give England the wicket they craved.
Chris Woakes got a delivery to deviate in the air outside off stump, with Smith edging an intended drive to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
As Smith walked back after a 207-ball innings including 14 fours, the cheers at last drowned out the jeers.
Wade, who overturned an lbw decision on 69, reverse-swept Root for the 15th four of his innings to complete a 131-ball hundred, his third in Tests.
He holed out off Ben Stokes soon afterwards but it scarcely made any difference, with James Pattinson belting Broad for one of four sixes in his rapid 47 not out as England became increasingly ragged in the field.


Dakar Rally stars gear up for ‘thrilling’ Saudi race challenge

The first stage of Rally Qassim began in Umm Sidra covering a distance of 170km. Several drivers are keen to test before the Dakar Rally crosses the country for the first time in January 2020. (SPA)
Updated 18 October 2019

Dakar Rally stars gear up for ‘thrilling’ Saudi race challenge

  • French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally, revealed that he was initially surprised to hear that the competition had been moved from Africa to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Dakar Rally drivers are gearing up for a “thrilling and exciting” challenge when the world-famous desert race is staged in Saudi Arabia for the first time next year.
The Kingdom will host the event from Jan. 5 to 17, 2020 with top racers from around the globe traveling thousands of kilometers through inhospitable terrain in cars, trucks and on quad bikes and motorcycles.
The rally will begin in Jeddah and follow a tough route through desert, sand dunes and mountainous areas taking in NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Riyadh and Qiddiya.
French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally, revealed that he was initially surprised to hear that the competition had been moved from Africa to Saudi Arabia.
“However, after doing some research, I realized that Saudi Arabia was a very wonderful and suitable country for the rally. It has different terrain types, and I expect us to have a perfect track. The vast desert gives me hope that the 2020 Saudi Dakar Rally will be more thrilling and exciting than Africa,” he said.
Five-time Dakar Rally winner and fellow French driver, Cyril Despres, said that racing in Saudi Arabia would be a new adventure that could only be experienced by those who lived up to its challenges.
“When I heard that the Dakar Rally was moving for the first time to the Middle East, I remembered the words of its founder, Thierry Sabine, who said that if you liked exploring the African continent, you would also love exploring other parts of the world,” he added.

Positive move
British rally raid motorcycle rider, Sam Sunderland, who won his category in the 2017 Dakar Rally, said he was delighted to be participating in the Saudi race. “I believe that this change is good, as I have lived in Dubai for 10 years, having adapted well to the Middle East’s atmosphere.

When I heard that the Dakar Rally was moving for the first time to the Middle East, I remembered the words of its founder, Thierry Sabine, who said that if you liked exploring the African Continent, you would also love exploring other parts of the world.

Cyril Despres, French driver

“Exploring a new area is a positive move for the Dakar Rally, and I am certain that everyone who practices this sport is excited to explore a new ground for racing,” Sunderland added.
ED Racing Team driver, Issa Al-Dossari, said the main reason he had taken part in Rally Qassim was to prepare for the Dakar challenge.
“We will be using two cars in the rally. We look forward to raising the level of preparedness for many coming global events. But this does not mean that we will not compete for the top places.”
Al-Dossari invited sports fans to visit the team’s headquarters at Date City to see equipment and meet its members.
The team must participate in two different cars, the first driven by Al-Dossari with his French navigator Sébastien Delaunay, and the second with Emirati Abdallah Al-Huraiz behind the wheel and Ali Hassan navigating.
The first stage of Rally Qassim began on Friday in Umm Sidra covering a distance of 170 km, with stage two raced over 200 km.
Meanwhile, entry registrations for the Dakar Rally are still open in all categories at https://www.dakar.com/en/the-competitors/register.