Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Smith’s century proved to be a game-changer for Australia
Australia batsman Steven Smith struck a sparkling century on the opening day of the fifth Test in Sydney to give the baggy greens the upper hand heading into day two of their clash with arch-rivals England.
Smith was well supported by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who smashed an outstanding half-century.
England pace bowler Ben Stokes deserves credit as well as he picked up six wickets.
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bowl first.
His decision to do so paid off as Australia opening batsman David Warner was clean bowled by Stuart Broad for 16.
Warner’s opening partner, Chris Rogers, only managed to score 11 runs before he was cleaned up Stokes.
Australia found themselves in even more trouble when Shane Watson, captain Michael Clarke and George Bailey were all dismissed in quick succession.
With the baggy greens struggling at 97/5, Smith and Haddin came the rescue with a brilliant 128-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Haddin was caught by Cook at first slip off the bowling of Stokes.
Despite losing Haddin, Smith continued to take the attack to England and even put together a vital 56-run partnership with pace bowler Ryan Harris, during which he registered his third Test century.
Thanks to Smith’s 115, which came off 154 balls and included 17 boundaries and a six, Australia were able to go from 97/5 to 326 before they were bowled out.
Stokes, who recorded his maiden five-wicket haul, ended up taking six wickets, while Broad snapped up two and James Anderson and debutant Scott Borthwick chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Trailing by 326, England got off to the worst possible start as opening batsman Michael Carberry was brilliantly caught by Nathan Lyon at leg slip off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson for a duck.
Cook and Anderson managed to compile a two-run partnership before the umpires brought play to an end for the day.
Johnson picked up one wicket for the baggy greens.
England ended the day on 8/1 and will continue batting tomorrow at 10:30 local time, 23:30 GMT (previous day)].