Ever since that fateful day at Newlands in March, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have come to be defined by the ball-tampering episode that marred Australia's series in South Africa.

It is an unfair aspect of being in the public eye that one mistake can tend to overshadow the achievements that lead athletes to reach such a position of prominence in the first place and, having served lengthy bans, the Australia trio have had little opportunity to repair their images with stellar on-field showings.

Warner did so somewhat in the Cricket World Cup and Bancroft has impressed on the significantly smaller stage of County Championship Division Two but for Smith, the most admired of thet riumvirate prior to the saga that rocked Australian cricket, his redemption moment had not been forthcoming.

That was until Thursday, the opening day of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, where Smith brilliantly and at times brutally wrested back control of his own narrative with one of the finest and most memorable hundreds in the history of cricket's most prestigious series.

Even as one of the best batsmen on the planet, it would have been easy for Smith to wilt under the pressure in front of the raucous Birmingham crowd, one keen to remind of him of the Cape Town incident at every opportunity, and he had plenty of chances to do so.

He could have done so at 35-3, with Warner and Bancroft having already departed and England smelling blood, as they were after the hosts ripped through the rest of the middle order to leave Australia 122-8.

Nobody would have been overly critical of Smith had his resistance ended at that point. However, he was clearly in no mood for his innings to be in vain.

So often visibly angered by his dismissals during Australia's ultimately unsuccessful World Cup campaign, throughout his 219-ball stay Smith had the look of a man fuelled by desperation and determination for the focus to be shifted firmly back on to what he does best.

That much was evident in the indignant look he aimed towards umpire Aleem Dar as Smith emphatically and correctly signalled for a review after being given out lbw on 34, and in the way he ruthlessly took the game to a tiring England attack late in the day, racking up 16 fours and a pair of sixes and showing little regard for the spin of Moeen Ali and Joe Denly.

What made his contribution even more impressive was the way he counter-attacked while perfectly managing the situation, farming the strike and forming partnerships of 88 and 74 with tailenders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to take Australia to 284 all out.

It was an innings befitting a captain. Though Smith no longer wears the armband, it was he who stood up and delivered when Australia most needed a saviour and, even in a stadium filled with boo-boys, there were few who begrudged him his moment when he brought up his 24th Test century with a glorious cover drive.

For all England's admirable exploits with the ball, it is the image of Smith standing arms aloft soaking in the adulation that is the abiding one of the opening day of the series. For all the sandpaper cards, jeers and chants about him "crying on the telly", it is Smith's remarkable display of obduracy and craftsmanship that will claim the headlines in England and Down Under.

What happened in South Africa will always be a part of his journey but, with the spotlight now back on his batting brilliance, Smith is finally the author of his own story once again.

The newly implemented  ICC Test Championship is supposed to bring fans back to Test cricket but will it succeed?

Steve Smith relished the opportunity to quickly put his Test lay-off behind him with one of his best Australia centuries in the longest format.

Australia were rocking on the first day of the Ashes opener at Edgbaston either side of Smith's arrival at number four, reduced to 122-8 as Stuart Broad dominated for England.

But former captain Smith, playing for the first time since his 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, kept plugging away.

A magnificent knock of 144 off 219 went a long way towards silencing the boos in the England crowd and Smith acknowledged it would have to go down as one of his greatest Test innings, dragging Australia back to 284 all out.

"It's got to be one of my best hundreds definitely," he said. "It's the first Ashes Test match and the ball was doing a fair bit out in the middle, so I had to work really hard.

"I got beaten a few times but let that go and concentrated on the next ball and kept digging in.

"I know the first Test of an Ashes series is always big, so I didn't want to give my wicket up easily, I wanted to keep fighting and, fortunately, I was able to dig in and get us to a reasonable total.

"I thought Peter Siddle did a magnificent job, with that partnership we were able to build, and Nathan Lyon was magnificent. He actually said to me that was the most nervous he's ever been out in the middle batting.

"To be able to get to 100 and give him a really big hug and let all my emotions out was pretty special."

Smith was asked if the century had special meaning given his involvement in the fiasco in South Africa last year, but he insists he has already moved on.

"That's all in the past now. I'm moving on," he said. "I'm proud to be back here, playing for Australia and hopefully contributing to a Test win here.

"There's obviously a long way to go, but we've got ourselves a reasonable total. Hopefully we can start really well with the new ball."

Smith added: "There were times throughout the last 15 months where I didn't know if I was ever going to play cricket again. I lost a bit of love for it at one point – particularly when I had my elbow operation.

"It was really bizarre that it was the day I got the brace off my elbow that I found a love for it again.

"It was like a trigger that just said, 'I want to go again, I want to play, I want to play for Australia and make people proud, do what I love doing'.

"I'd never had those feelings before where I didn't have a great love for the game. It was there for a little while and, fortunately, that love's come back.

"I'm really grateful to be in this position now, playing for Australia again and doing what I love."

Steve Smith's sublime innings showed England that big runs can be scored in the opening Ashes Test, according to Stuart Broad.

On his first Test appearance since being banned following his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith put on a masterful display at Edgbaston, hitting 144 from 219 delivers to rescue the visitors after they slumped to 122-8.

Broad, who brought up his 100th Ashes wicket by dismissing Smith late on, starred for England with the ball after fellow paceman Jimmy Anderson had succumbed to injury.

With England set a target of 284, Rory Burns and Jason Roy batted out the last two overs of play for 10 to leave the match finely poised heading into day two.

And though Broad recognised the damage Smith's knock had done to England's hopes, he also felt it should provide inspiration as they look to build a total in Birmingham. 

"He's played beautifully. He's always been awkward to bowl at," he said.

"But I think we bowled really well at him up until tea. I think he then took advantage of the ball being a bit softer.

"Virat Kohli did similar to us last year, getting 149 out of a lowish total.

"There's no real positives out of Smith getting 144 on the first day of the series, but it shows if we apply ourselves then runs can be scored on there, particularly if you get in.

"It's a tricky pitch to start but if someone goes and gets to 30 we can capitalise."

Broad also understands England must prevent Smith from inflicting similar pain across the series if they are to stand a chance of regaining the urn.

"It seemed like he was really fidgety today and getting a bit frustrated at himself for not hitting a four," he added.

"But maybe that's because I haven't played against him in 18 months and I forgot how much he moves around.

"He's got a fantastic record, so you have to make those first 20 balls count. He's arguably the best batter in the world at batting with a tail, so for us to win this Ashes series we're going to have to get him out early."

Stuart Broad is hoping for good news as England await an update on the full extent of the injury suffered by James Anderson during the first Ashes Test. 

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson had been deemed fit to start the series opener after suffering with a calf problem in recent weeks, but an issue with the same muscle saw him limited to just four overs on Thursday.

Broad, who picked up the slack with a superb five-for, revealed the veteran apologised for his inability to aid the cause.

But England are optimistic that a test on the "tight" calf would return positive results.

"[Anderson] went off straight after his spell but didn't say anything and came out back to field. We don't know the full extent yet," said Broad, in quotes reported by BBC Sport.

"He is a bit quiet and came up to the bowlers and said sorry but there is nothing to be sorry about. He is a bit quiet and bit frustrated.

"All we can hope is the news is better than we expect."

Figures of 5-86 included Broad's 100th Ashes wicket, removing the resolute Steve Smith after an outstanding 144 to close the Australia innings.

Having seen the tourists recover from 122-8 to 284 all out, Broad acknowledged he had forgotten quite how exacting such rollercoaster contests can be in one of sport's greatest rivalries.

"I feel quite exhausted," he said. "I think that comes with the emotion of the first day of an Ashes series.

"You forget how emotionally draining these series can be and we went down to a three-man seam attack, which upped the overs.

"Smith played a wonderful knock, but anytime you bowl them out for under 300 on the first day of a Test match, we're pretty happy.

"It looks like there's runs out there if someone gets in, so we should take encouragement from the way he played.

"Australia threw it back at us after tea and I'd expect that throughout the series."

Steve Smith revealed his magnificent innings against England gave him "the shakes" after he came to Australia's rescue in the first Ashes Test.

The former Australia captain struck 144 off 219 deliveries in his first Test appearance since the ball-tampering scandal.

Australia certainly needed their talismanic batsman at his best, having slumped to 122-8 before salvaging a total of 284 at Edgbaston.

And Smith could not hide his emotion after digging his side out of a hole before England closed on 10 without loss.

"I got the shakes a bit and all the hairs on my neck stood up," Smith told BBC Sport's Test Match Special.

"I have worked really hard in the last 18 months to come back and prove a few people wrong. I have heard a few people say I struggle against the seaming ball so it was nice on the first outing here to dig deep and get through.

"I am lost for words at the moment."

Smith, who along with David Warner received a hostile reception from the English crowd during the World Cup, was booed by the home faithful in Birmingham when he was finally dismissed, but the 30-year-old took little notice.

"It doesn't bother me. I don't really listen," he added.

"I did get good support from the Australia contingent. They were very loud and the boys on the sideline and in the dugout were cheering me on. That is what matters to me."

England's Jos Buttler, meanwhile, acknowledged the hosts were frustrated not to have taken full advantage of the position they found themselves in by mid-afternoon.

"It's frustrating, isn't it? He played a fantastic innings," Buttler told Sky Sports when asked to comment on Smith's performance.

"Do you put everyone back and suck it up? I think you have to try and find a way of keeping a dismissal in the game as well. 

"I think we bowled fantastically well, the partnership between Siddle and Smith, it was frustrating that we couldn't break it earlier."

The opening day of the 2019 Ashes was one for Aleem Dar and Joel Wilson to forget as the umpires made a host of incorrect decisions at Edgbaston.

We take a look at the seven errors made by the two on-field officials on Thursday, as Australia made 284 all out.

 

1.1 overs: David Warner is given not out by umpire Dar despite getting a thin edge down the leg side from Stuart Broad. In fairness to Dar, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was the only England player to appeal with any gusto.

3.5 overs: Four balls after surviving an England review, Warner is adjudged lbw to Broad by Dar for two. The opener barely consults his partner Cameron Bancroft before walking off, but replays show he should have reviewed the decision, with Broad's delivery projected to slide past leg stump.

14.2 overs: Umpire Wilson turns down a vociferous appeal after England think they have Usman Khawaja caught behind off Chris Woakes. On this occasion, the hosts' review is successful as UltraEdge picks up the finest of edges from Australia's number three.

33.5 overs: England are joyous as Smith pads up to a Broad delivery and Dar raises the finger. An aghast Smith reviews almost immediately and the decision is justified, with HawkEye showing the ball missing off stump.

34.6 overs: The latest umpiring howler arrives just seven balls later. This time, Wilson turns down an lbw appeal from Woakes against Matthew Wade. England review and another on-field decision is overturned.

39.6 overs: Dar decides James Pattinson is lbw to Broad. The batsman opts against a review, perhaps due to the presence of key man Smith at the other end, but replays again show the ball would have missed leg stump.

46.1 overs: Peter Siddle is lbw to Woakes, according to Wilson. A review proves the umpire wrong as a massive inside edge is revealed.

Steve Smith scored arguably the finest century of his Test career to rescue Australia from the brink of collapse in the first Ashes Test against England side facing an anxious wait to learn the extent of an injury to James Anderson.

Having won the toss and opted to bat, Australia twice looked in deep trouble despite England only being able to get four overs out of leading Test wicket-taker Anderson, who was sent for a scan due to "tightness" in his calf.

Australia were reduced to 35-3 and then 122-8, but on each occasion former captain Smith performed a rebuilding job and was rewarded for anchoring the innings with a hundred on his first Test appearance since serving a 12-month ban.

He thrived amid the predictable boos that greeted him, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft following their suspensions for ball tampering in the South Africa series last year and, having successfully reviewed an lbw decision on 34, racked up 144 to guide Australia to 284 before Stuart Broad bowled him to claim his fifth wicket and 100th in Ashes cricket.

England survived two overs without loss before the close, reaching stumps on 10-0.

Australia won the toss and opted to bat, a decision that looked questionable as the first three wickets fell in short order. Warner, having been incorrectly given not out caught behind, went in the fourth over lbw to Broad.

HawkEye showed the ball would have missed the stumps, setting the tone for a day when umpire errors were commonplace, before Bancroft edged the same man to first slip.

England successfully reviewed and had Usman Khawaja caught behind for 13, but Smith – in a stand of 64 with Travis Head – mounted his first recovery effort of the day as Australia reached lunch without further damage.

Chris Woakes trapped Head in front in the sixth over after the restart, with an aghast Smith correctly given a reprieve in the following over after initially being ruled out not playing a shot.

Another successful review saw Matthew Wade fall to Woakes lbw before captain Tim Paine and James Pattinson went in the space of three balls to Broad. Paine played a dreadful pull shot and Pattinson's exit came with another incorrect lbw decision.

A sub-200 total looked on the cards but Smith, aided by a battling 44 from Peter Siddle, managed the situation brilliantly, farming the strike and peppering the boundary as the depleted England attack tired.

Siddle, who put on 88 with Smith, fell to Moeen Ali but the ex-skipper added another 74 with Lyon, an innings that comprised 16 fours and two sixes eventually ended by a visibly frustrated Broad before Rory Burns and Jason Roy staved off 12 balls.

Stuart Broad made Ashes history in the first Test at Edgbaston as he took a five-for to reach 100 wickets in the famous series.

The England seamer was the star of the show for the hosts on the opening day in Birmingham as Australia were bowled out for 284.

Broad dismissed Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Tim Paine and James Pattinson as Australia slumped to 122-8, but his search for the fifth wicket that would mark an Ashes milestone proved a frustrating one.

Steve Smith scored a magnificent 144 and anchored stands of 88 and 74 with tailenders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to help Australia recover from a precarious position, before he was finally bowled by Broad as the irritated England seamer brought up a century he did not celebrate.

Stuart Broad made Ashes history in the first Test at Edgbaston as he took a five-for to reach 100 wickets in the famous series.

The England seamer was the star of the show for the hosts on the opening day in Birmingham as Australia were bowled out for 284.

Broad dismissed Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Tim Paine and James Pattinson as Australia slumped to 122-8, but his search for the fifth wicket that would mark an Ashes milestone proved a frustrating one.

Steve Smith scored a magnificent 144 and anchored stands of 88 and 74 with tailenders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to help Australia recover from a precarious position, before he was finally bowled by Broad as the irritated England seamer brought up a century he did not celebrate.

Steve Smith marked his return to Test cricket with a superb battling hundred in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston.

Smith ended his exile from the international circuit at the World Cup, where Australia reached the semi-finals.

However, the Ashes opener marked the first Test for Smith and David Warner, and the first international cricket of any kind for Cameron Bancroft, since the trio received bans for the ball-tampering scandal that marred their series with South Africa last year.

Each of the trio received boos from a raucous Edgbaston crowd yet, while Warner and Bancroft each departed cheaply in a largely disappointing Australia innings, Smith produced one of his finest centuries.

The former captain was given out lbw on 34 to Stuart Broad when not playing a shot but successfully reviewed and went on to play the anchor role in stunning fashion as wickets tumbled around him, helping Australia surpass 250.

He formed a fourth-wicket partnership of 64 with Travis Head and then a crucially ninth-wicket stand of 88 with Peter Siddle and received richly deserved his reward for his performance by bringing up three figures with a wonderful cover drive.

Smith's hundred marked his 24th in Test cricket and his fifth in his last seven Ashes matches and, in the circumstances, could be considered the most memorable of his glittering career.

Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes put England in control of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston as Australia collapsed to 154-8 in the second session of a day marked by unimpressive umpiring.

The tourists mounted something of a recovery after being reduced to 35-3 to reach 83-3 at lunch.

Australia added another 16 to that total before Travis Head (35) departed in the sixth over of the afternoon session, trapped in front by one that straightened from Woakes (3-35).

That wicket prompted a collapse in line with pre-series talk of both teams being short in the batting department, England's attack prospering even after James Anderson went for a scan on a tight calf.

However, England were denied the prized wicket of Steve Smith (66 not out), who successfully reviewed after being given out lbw not playing a shot.

Matthew Wade (1) departed in the next over when he was struck on the pad by Woakes and England correctly reviewed.

Captain Tim Paine (5) made a dreadful mistake as he pulled Broad (4-38) to Rory Burns at deep square leg, with James Pattinson following him for a duck two balls later, dismissed lbw before replays showed he should have survived

There was no debate when Pat Cummins (5) fell to Ben Stokes (1-44) via the same mode of dismissal as England ploughed into the Australia tail, although Peter Siddle (7 not out) provided more pain for the umpires as he rightly reviewed after edging on to his pads.

Smith reached his fifty in 119 balls at the end of the same over, he and Siddle surviving until tea with rain in the air in Birmingham.

 

Jofra Archer will play a three-day Second XI fixture for Sussex next week as he looks to get overs under his belt ahead of the second Ashes Test.

Archer was left out of England's team for the series opener against Australia at Edgbaston, having battled a side strain during the successful Cricket World Cup campaign.

However, the Barbados-born paceman is expected to be handed a Test debut later in the Ashes and the chances of Archer featuring at Lord's, which hosts the second match from August 14, appeared to increase on Thursday when James Anderson suffered a fresh injury blow.

Anderson bowled only four overs on the first morning of the opening Test before he was sent for a scan due to "tightness" in his right calf, a muscle he tore last month.

While Anderson's future availability has been placed in doubt, Archer will play for Sussex versus Kent in the Vitality Blast 20-over competition on Friday, before switching to red-ball action for the club's seconds against Gloucestershire from Tuesday to Thursday.

Olly Stone and Sam Curran are the other pace bowlers in England's initial Test squad who missed out on selection at Edgbaston. They have also been released to play for Surrey and Birmingham Bears respectively in the Vitality Blast on Friday.

James Anderson will have a scan on his calf after bowling just four overs in the first session of the Ashes.

The England seamer conceded a solitary run from a probing new-ball spell at Edgbaston, as the hosts reduced Australia to 83-3 at lunch.

However, the availability of England's all-time leading wicket-taker for the rest of the match is in question after the ECB confirmed he is suffering from tightness in his right calf.

Anderson injured the same muscle on July 2 playing for Lancashire against Durham, with the problem keeping him out of action until this week.

Stuart Broad took 2-17 and Chris Woakes 1-17 in a strong start for England, although the decision to pick Anderson ahead of the of Sam Curran, Olly Stone and Jofra Archer – the seam trio omitted from the hosts' 14-man squad - is likely to be called into question if he is unable to return.

Stuart Broad claimed two wickets before Australia recovered from a shaky start to reach 83-3 on the first morning of the Ashes.

Touring captain Tim Paine won the toss and opted to bat in the opening Test at Edgbaston, but his side were soon in trouble as the vastly experienced new-ball pairing of Broad and James Anderson started superbly, extracting seam movement to regularly beat the bat.

Broad, bowling notably fuller and posing a continued threat, removed openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for two and eight respectively in a superb first spell.

Australia also lost Usman Khawaja to Chris Woakes prior to lunch, but Steve Smith (23 not out) held firm in his first Test innings since he was suspended for his role in last year's ball-tampering scandal and Travis Head provided some much-needed impetus in reaching 26 not out.

Anderson - a fitness doubt ahead of this match - did not bowl again in the morning after an opening four-over burst that yielded figures of 0-1. He briefly left the field after that spell, although it was not clear whether his lack of overs prior to lunch was due to an injury scare or cautious management of the 37-year-old's workload.

Warner's brief innings was certainly not short of incident. Firstly, he was given a life on one when an edge down the leg side off Broad went unnoticed and England failed to call for a review.

In Broad's next over, England wasted a review after umpire Aleem Dar correctly turned down an lbw appeal. Broad did trap Warner in front four balls later, but replays showed the full-pitched delivery would have missed leg stump, meaning the batsman should have sent the decision upstairs.

Warner's dismissal was predictably greeted with jubilation by sandpaper-waving fans eager to remind the opener of his Cape Town ball-tampering shame.

Bancroft, representing Australia for the first time since that saga, soon became a second victim for Broad, edging to Joe Root at first slip having been squared up by one that left him.

A successful review from England then accounted for Khawaja, who got the faintest of edges to a Woakes delivery.

However, Smith would not be shifted and Head, after beginning his innings with 15 dot balls, scored freely to lift the pressure on Australia, who opted to leave out Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood on a day when showers were forecast in the afternoon.

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