Steve Smith is "like a computer" when he is batting, Steve Waugh said after the Australia star scored another Ashes century.

Smith made his second century of the first Test against England at Edgbaston, putting the tourists in a winning position on day four on Sunday.

The right-hander, playing his first Test since his ball-tampering ban, made 142 in the second innings, having rescued his team with 144 in the first.

Smith became the first Australian to score two centuries in the same Test in England since Waugh in 1997.

Waugh, a mentor with the Australia team in England, lauded Smith's approach and said the 30-year-old seemed to have answers for whatever opposition sides threw at him.

"His preparation is amazing. He's thorough, he hits more balls than I've ever seen anyone [hit]," former Australia captain Waugh told Channel Nine on Sunday.

"When he goes out to bat it's almost like he's in a trance-like state. He knows exactly what he wants to do.

"He knows the opposition, what they're trying to do, how they're trying to get him out and he seems to have an answer for everything.

"He's an incredible player. I don't think I've ever seen anyone quite like him and his appetite for runs is second to none. His technique is amazing, it's unique, but he knows what he's doing, he knows how to score runs.

"It's like he analyses every ball, and it's like a computer – he spits out the answer."

England will resume day five at 13-0, needing another 385 runs for victory in a Test they are more likely set to look to save.

Steve Smith insists regaining the Australia captaincy is "not on my radar" after he completed centuries in both innings of the opening Ashes Test against England.

Cricket Australia stripped Smith of the captaincy and banned the batsman for 12 months for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket.

But Smith has not missed a step during his first Test back, rescuing Australia's first innings with a sublime 144 that steered the visitors to 284 from 122-8.

He was at it again at Edgbaston on Sunday, racking up 142 as Australia posted 487-7 declared to put the tourists in position for a victory that had seemed so unlikely a couple of days ago, with England needing to bat out the final day having been set 398 to win.

However, Smith has no designs on taking back the captaincy from Tim Paine and insists his immediate goal is just to help the team through his performances with the bat.

"It's certainly not on my radar at the moment [regaining the captaincy]," he told a news conference.

"It's just about going out there and doing my job as a batsman and scoring runs. 

"Of course I'm experienced now and able to help Tim [Paine] in any way that I can and he knows I'm there to help him and give him some suggestions and things like that as much as I can.

"If I see something I'll always go to him and try and help for the betterment of the team."

Nathan Lyon will be under pressure to deliver when Australia try to seal victory on day five of the first Ashes Test, says England batting coach Graham Thorpe.

Centuries from Steve Smith and Matthew Wade wrested the initiative away from England on a sensational Sunday for Australia, who declared on 487-7 to set the hosts 398 for victory at Edgbaston.

It means England, who closed at 13-0 in reply, have to bat out the whole day on Monday to rescue a draw on a pitch that should be well suited to Australia spinner Lyon.

Thorpe recognised that, but says Lyon has a tough task ahead of him as well.

"The pitch is taking a turn. Nathan Lyon will be important - they will want him to bowl well," Thorpe told Test Match Special. 

"He's under pressure as well - he's probably got 200 deliveries through the day."

A few eyebrows were raised by England's decision not to utilise Chris Woakes at all in a morning session of frustration for Joe Root's men, but Thorpe defended the home side's tactics given the absence of seamer James Anderson due to a calf injury.

"He's [Woakes] fine. It may have been that we were looking at spin options to start with and Stokes and Broad as well," he added. "Being a bowler down, [we were] just juggling the workloads."

Moeen Ali [2-130] had a day to forget and there was only a muted celebration when he bowled a peach through the gate to remove Tim Paine.

With Moeen also struggling with the bat, his place in the line-up is under threat, but Thorpe vowed the coaching team will rally round him.

"Moeen had one of his tougher days, [but] you've got to support all your guys in the dressing room. We know we leaked more than we wanted to," Thorpe added to Sky Sports.

"You have to help him, that's the thing for us in the dressing room, to support him where we can [to] help him improve going forward."

Steve Smith admits he did not know if he "still had it" after making a sensational return to Test cricket with Australia in the Ashes.

The former captain made a sublime century in Australia's second innings on day four, his second hundred of the match, scoring 142 as Australia declared on 487-7 to set England a daunting target of 398.

It has been a remarkable comeback to the Test arena for Smith after he was banned for his part in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket.

An elbow injury earlier this year also played on the mind of Smith, who reflected on an emotional few days at Edgbaston. 

"It's been incredibly special, obviously I've been out of the game for a while. I was a little bit nervous coming into the first day and I don't normally get nervous coming into games," he told Sky Sports.

"It was nice to get that first hundred, I've never scored hundreds in both innings before, so I was keen to do that.

"It was a very emotional first hundred on day one, I was kind of lost for words and had to take a deep breath, my spine was tingling.

"There was a time I didn't know if I wanted to do it again, just before I had my elbow brace off, I didn't know if I had it in me. 

"I've never felt that way about cricket in my life. It was strange feelings and emotions, now I'm back doing what I'm enjoying, practising hard. Wearing this cap, it's an honour and I'm grateful."

On the feeling of making his first hundred, Smith said: "It did overcome me, I had to take a few deep breaths. 

"It's really special, it's great to be back playing Test cricket, I love Test cricket, I love playing England, it feels like Christmas morning every morning coming here and doing this."

Smith's heroics and a fine century from Matthew Wade, his first in Test cricket since January 2013, completely altered the state of the game with England now needing a huge effort to secure a draw.

The ex-skipper pinpointed spinner Nathan Lyon as the key for Australia on day five.

"I was able to have some good partnerships with Travis Head, who I thought played really well, and Matthew Wade played with such freedom – I'm really proud of him and the way he played," he said.

"There's going to be some spin, Nathan Lyon's obviously going to be important for us.

"There's a bit of variable bounce, [we need] the quicks hitting the stumps and Gazza doing his thing from one end, quicks rotated from the other."

Steve Smith and Matthew Wade made sensational centuries as Australia took charge on the fourth day of the first Ashes Test and left England toiling at Edgbaston.

Former skipper Smith was once again the scourge of England with his sublime 142 seeing him become just the third Australian to make centuries in each innings of an away Ashes Test.

Stands of 130 and 126 with Travis Head (51) and Wade (110) saw Australia completely turn the tide of an enthralling opening contest, which England now can only realistically hope to draw.

The brilliance of Smith, who played with the ease of a man practicing in the nets, and Wade – who ended a wait for a Test century dating back to January 2013 – means an away win and an 18-year wait for an Australia victory at Edgbaston in any format is the likeliest outcome unless weather intervenes.

Australia declared on 487-7 to leave England, who were 13-0 at stumps, chasing a near-impossible 398 for victory and facing the daunting prospect of batting out a full day against the spin of Nathan Lyon on a deteriorating pitch.

Stuart Broad saw a couple of leg-before appeals against Head turned down and Smith found a gap in the field with a sliced, aerial cover drive on a morning of frustration for England.

Some hard running brought up their century stand, but Head's edge off Ben Stokes drew a sharp low catch from Jonny Bairstow.

Still Smith plugged away like the proverbial immoveable object and, having reached lunch on 98, quickly found the two runs he needed to bring up his century.

A couple of neat drives off the out-of-sorts Moeen Ali for boundaries preceded a desperate and woeful review against Smith on 125, with DRS showing the delivery was clearly doing too much.

Wade quietly punched his way to 50 off 70 balls before England finally made the crucial breakthrough by removing Smith, who clipped Chris Woakes behind with an attempted drive against the new ball.

It did little to stem the tide as Wade brought up three figures in the final session with a fine reverse sweep off the middle of the bat.

A pull straight to deep-backward square off Stokes finally ended Wade's knock and Tim Paine (34) - who passed 1,000 Test runs - was bowled through the gate by Moeen.

James Pattinson clubbed four sixes in an entertaining 48-ball 47 before Paine called the declaration.

Rory Burns and Jason Roy valiantly batted out the remaining seven overs in fading light, but a huge effort will be required if England are to avoid defeat in Birmingham.


SMITH TURNS THE TIDE AGAIN

How different things could be for England. Australia were 122-8 in the first innings before Smith's first century led the recovery. A first-innings lead of 90 may have been enough had it not been again for Smith's excellence, with Wade's knock also helping to hand the initiative to the visitors.


WADE MAKES HIS CASE

Wade's place in the Test side was questioned before the match and a score of one in the first innings did little to silence his doubters. But boy did Wade, who earned his spot by making 1021 runs in the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield, justify his place. With England so focused on Smith, Wade nonchalantly built his way to a three-figure score that was every bit as important as Smith's century.


MOMENT OF THE DAY

Smith could hardly have dreamed of a better return to the Test arena following his part in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket. The incident will forever leave a stain on his legacy, but without his brilliance Australia would not be in this position. His century was reached with an exquisite lash through the covers off Broad, leading to a raise of the bat and an ear-to-ear grin.

Matthew Wade joined Steve Smith in making a century before free-scoring Australia declared on 487-7 in their second innings to set England the near-impossible task of chasing 398 for victory in the first Ashes Test.

The brilliant Wade racked up his first three-figure score in Test cricket since January 2013 with a brilliant 110 and James Pattinson made an entertaining 47 not out as Australia continued to make England toil on day four at Edgbaston.

And with Australia reaching such an impressive score, captain Tim Paine waved in his men with around an hour of play remaining in Birmingham.

It meant England will have to bat out the closing stages of Sunday and the entirety of Monday on a wearing Edgbaston pitch that will have Australia spinner Nathan Lyon purring to avoid defeat.

England finally claimed the crucial wicket of Steve Smith but Australia were turning the screw on day four of the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

The brilliant Smith quickly found the two runs he needed to reach three figures for the second time in the match, becoming just the third Australian to hit centuries in each innings of an away Ashes Test.

A rare lapse of concentration in another sensational knock saw Smith edge Chris Woakes behind, but a 126-run stand with the equally terrific Matthew Wade (86 not out) – which followed a three-figure partnership with Travis Head in the morning session – meant Australia were 356-5 at tea and leading by an imposing 266.

Smith was playing with the ease of a practice nets session, his performance typified by a couple of brilliantly timed drives off Moeen Ali that raced away for four.

England's desperation to oust Smith came to the fore with a woeful review for lbw off Moeen that was clearly doing too much.

With England firmly focused on Smith's wicket, Wade quietly punched his way to fifty, a sweep off Joe Root careering past Jonny Bairstow and scuttling to the ropes to bring up the half-century.

A poor Test for the umpires continued when Joel Wilson lifted the finger against Wade for leg before off Stuart Broad, only for DRS to show the ball was going well above the stumps.

There was finally relief for England when Woakes found movement off the new ball and Smith's attempted drive clipped behind to a gleeful Bairstow, but the hosts were facing up to the realisation the best they can hope for from the match is a draw with Wade and Tim Paine (7no) at the crease.

Steve Smith became just the third Australia batsman to score a hundred in each innings of an Ashes Test on English soil after he brought up his second century at Edgbaston.

The former Australia captain scored a magnificent 144 from 219 deliveries in the first innings of the opening Test and led the charge for the visitors second time around on Sunday.

Having started the fourth day on 46, Smith moved onto 50 early on in the morning session, and though two slack shots almost cost him his wicket, he marched towards another century.

Moeen Ali's tight over before lunch ensured Smith was made to wait until the second session, but the 30-year-old duly brought up his second century of the match with a cover drive for his 10th boundary shortly after the restart.

Smith's shot saw Australia reach 236-4, a lead of 146.

In reaching three figures again, he became the first Australian to score 100 or more in both innings against England since Steve Waugh at Old Trafford in 1997, and only the third in history, with Warren Bardsley having also achieved the feat at the Oval in 1909.

England failed to stem Australia's momentum early on day four of the first Ashes Test with Steve Smith predictably leading the tourists' charge.

Having steadied the ship on Saturday evening, Smith, who scored 144 in the first innings, moved past 50 - the ninth time the 30-year-old has scored 50 or more in both innings of a Test - before ending the opening session on 98 not out.

Travis Head (51) provided useful back-up with 51 before clipping a Ben Stokes slower ball to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.

Matthew Wade picked up where Head left off, with 15 from 17 deliveries, but it was Smith who was again the dominant figure. The former captain now stands within two runs of becoming just the third Australia batsman to score two centuries in the same match in an away series against England after guiding his side to lunch on 231/4, a lead of 141.

With Stuart Broad having two leg before wicket appeals to Head turned down, Smith moved onto 50 with a neat clip down leg side, though he was fortunate a sliced, aerial cover drive found a gap in England's field soon after.

Some hard running brought up their 100 partnership, although Smith had another slice of luck when Jason Roy just failed to get to a lofted shot at leg gully.

Head did not have such good fortune, however, with Bairstow doing well to stoop low and take the catch after Stokes had drawn the edge.

With Wade wasting no time in pulling out some stylish shots at the other end, Smith calmly progressed into the 90s, though a tight over from Moeen Ali ensured there was no raising of the bat before lunch.

England will hope for more from Ali this afternoon with Chris Woakes failing to bowl so far on Sunday. 

James Pattinson said Australia would be "in a bit of trouble" without Steve Smith as he backed the star batsman to rescue the tourists yet again in the Ashes.

Smith has kept Australia alive against England at Edgbaston, where the Aussies hold a slim 34-run lead heading into day four of the opening Test.

After marking his Test return with a stunning 144-run knock following a 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith thwarted England again via an unbeaten 46 to lead Australia to 124-3 at stumps on Saturday.

Smith teamed up with Travis Head (21 not out) after England reached 374 and a lead of 90 as Australia paceman Pattinson hailed the country's former captain.

"I was talking to a bit of press before about great players, they always stand up when you need them and I think he's done that this game," Pattinson said. "Without him we'd be in a bit of trouble.

"He's a fantastic player and to do it after everything that he's been through. He's been copping a bit from the crowd which has amused a lot of people.

"But to his credit he just gets on with it and he's a fantastic player. He's someone who lifts the group when he's out there. He's an unbelievable player."

There was a nervy moment when Smith was hit on the head by a Ben Stokes bouncer in the 29th over of Australia's second innings.

Initially dazed, Smith continued batting after passing a concussion test, as Cameron Bancroft (7) and David Warner (8) struggled, with Usman Khawaja (40) the next-best performer.

"It was quite a good reaction from him [Smith], wasn't it?," Pattinson told reporters.

"We had a little bit of a chuckle in the dressing-room. He always puts a bit of mayo [exaggerates] on things. He's a fantastic player and he seems to be fine now."

Chris Woakes does not appear to have much hope of "the best fast bowler who's ever lived" James Anderson being available to play a part on day four of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Though Anderson batted as England were bowled out for 374, giving them a first-innings lead of 90, he did not join the hosts as they returned to field on day three.

In his absence England reduced Australia to 124-3, the tourists 34 runs ahead when bad light stopped play, with Steve Smith unbeaten on 46 having rescued them with a remarkable 144 in the first innings.

England need to find a way of dislodging Smith if they are to set up a manageable run chase, and Woakes indicated they will have to do so without their leading Test wicket-taker.

Asked how he felt when he learned Anderson would not be on the field for Australia's second innings, Woakes told a media conference: "I was gutted for Jimmy, he's obviously dying to play more than anyone and wants to play more than anyone.

"But it wasn't right which was unfortunate for him and unfortunate for us as a team with him being the best fast bowler that's ever lived, in my opinion, with the amount of wickets he's taken and all that.

"[His absence] is a bit of a blow but at the same time us as a unit have to go out there and try to do the job.

"Moving forward, I actually don't know [whether he will be available on Sunday]. The fact he hasn't taken much part in the game so far doesn't look too promising but I actually don't know.

"It's a well-poised Ashes Test match. It's been a great Test match so far, reasonably even. We're pretty happy having them 30 for three.

"If we can start well in the morning, two big wickets up front could be quite crucial. All of a sudden if you have them 50 or 60 for five, it's a big turning point. Tomorrow morning, as always, is important."

Woakes put on a stand of 65 with Stuart Broad to help build a decent lead after England had lost four wickets for 18 runs and slumped to 300-8, and Woakes knows how vital those extra runs could prove.

"That partnership with Stuart, 60 runs or so, could be quite a big part of the game," he added.

"Pleased with the way we played and it was quite important we put on a partnership there because at that point it wasn't looking like we were getting too big of a lead."

Chris Woakes conceded England will have to go back to the drawing board to find a way to get Steve Smith out as the hosts seek to set up a manageable chase in the first Ashes Test with Australia.

England began day three at Edgbaston on 267-4 but a middle order collapse saw them bowled out for 374 in response to Australia's 284.

That first-innings lead of 90 would have been significantly more if not for Smith's remarkable 144 on day one, and he again proved immovable after England made early inroads in the second innings.

Australia were 27-2 after David Warner and Cameron Bancroft went cheaply, but Smith was unbeaten on 46 as Australia reached stumps on 124-3 with a lead of 34.

Smith is the key wicket for England in their quest to avoid having to chase a difficult total, and Woakes suggested they will have to devise a new plan to find it.

Asked by Sky Sports how to get Smith out, Woakes jokingly replied: "Have you got any ideas?

"He's obviously a world-class player and world-class players don't make mistakes, and Steve doesn't make too many mistakes.

"On a wicket like that, you almost have to build pressure, build pressure, build pressure and hope a batsman does make a mistake sometimes.

"I think we go back to the drawing board, have a look - on this surface, how is the best way to get him out, how to dry him up and also attack the other end as well.

"We probably didn't get our lengths exactly right, but at the same time, having them [effectively] 30-2, I think you'd probably still say we're slightly ahead."

Despite Woakes' assessment of the match situation, Australia seamer James Pattinson expressed satisfaction with where Australia are, the tourists having been 122-8 on the first day.

"To be in the position we are in now, I think we would have taken it [at the start of the day]," Pattinson told Sky Sports. 

"It could have gone either way. England being four down with only 17 runs behind, we could have let the game slip, but to our credit we went out there and took six for 100 and now we lead by a few."

Asked what lead Australia need to make England uncomfortable, Pattinson replied: "Anything over 150, I think, especially going into that last day on this wicket.

"I don't want to put a number on it but I think if we can just bat all day tomorrow and really grind England into the ground a little bit, see if we can get a decent lead and then put them in on the last day."

England made early inroads in the second innings at Edgbaston but face the spectre of another possible marathon innings from Steve Smith with the first Ashes Test in the balance.

The hosts started day three in a commanding position, 267-4 in response to 284, but may have been disappointed not to make that superiority tell to a greater extent on day three.

Rory Burns only added eight to his overnight total of 125 and, while Ben Stokes reached 50, the loss of four wickets for 18 runs left Chris Woakes needing to lead a recovery effort to take England to 374 all out and a lead of 90.

David Warner fell for his second single-figure score of the match before Cameron Bancroft again departed cheaply and Usman Khawaja went to a stunning delivery from Ben Stokes, but Smith - whose 144 in the first innings rescued Australia - continues to prove the immovable object.

His unbeaten 46 and stand of 49 with Travis Head (21 not out) took Australia to 124-3 and a lead of 34 when bad light stopped play, an advantage they would not possess had England's middle order displayed greater resistance.

The saviour of England's World Cup final win, Stokes looked primed to play another talismanic role when he reached 50 off 95 balls but the next delivery saw him nick Pat Cummins (3-84) behind.

A quicker ball from Nathan Lyon (3-112) ended Burns' memorable innings and just five balls later a horrible misjudgement from Moeen Ali saw him go for a duck.

Jonny Bairstow slashed Peter Siddle (2-52) to first slip in the next over to leave England in trouble on 300-8, but Woakes (37 not out) and Stuart Broad (29) combined for a ninth-wicket stand of 65.

Broad had tempered the sense of adventure that usually comes with his spells at the crease but could not resist temptation when he flicked a Cummins short ball to fine leg.

The injured James Anderson supported Woakes well until his ill-advised decision to sweep Lyon ended an innings that promised more, but England were soon celebrating again when Warner clipped Broad behind.

Warner was out on review after an inexplicable error from umpire Joel Wilson, but DRS was not required to send Bancroft walking after he pushed Moeen to short leg.

Khawaja and Smith looked well set before bowling brilliance from Stokes removed the former, and it will likely take something similarly special to dislodge Smith on day four as England try to set up a manageable chase.

Chris Woakes steered England to a lead of 90 in the first Ashes Test as Australia endured a frustrating second session on day three at Edgbaston.

The tourists appeared poised to restrict England to a small first-innings lead after an opening session in which Nathan Lyon spearheaded an Australia revival.

England led by only 44 at that stage but Woakes (37 not out), aided by 29 from Stuart Broad and a brief but creditable show of defence from James Anderson, ensured the tail wagged and produced some very useful runs.

Their advantage and total of 374 all out is short of what may have been expected of England when they reached stumps at 267-4 on day two, but is enough to set up a difficult challenge for Australia in their efforts to give Joe Root's men an imposing fourth-innings chase.

Woakes and Broad were Australia's undoing in their first innings and the pair that will carry the bulk of the burden with the ball grew in confidence with the bat as they put up a ninth-wicket partnership of 65.

That confidence was perhaps Broad's downfall as he attempted to flick a short ball from Pat Cummins to the fine leg boundary, only to be caught by James Pattinson.

Anderson, who did not return to the field after tea as he battles a calf injury and was replaced by sub fielder Sam Curran, did not prove a liability with the bat despite that problem, but England's innings ended as he made the mistake of trying to sweep Lyon.

He instead succeeded only in hitting him straight up in the air, with Cummins taking a comfortable catch to end an innings that once promised much more than it delivered.

 

David Warner joined in the Ashes fun at Edgbaston after England fans goaded the Australia opener over his ball-tampering suspension.

Former captain Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and Warner are playing their first Test since being banned for their part in a plot to use sandpaper to alter the state of the ball in a match against South Africa in Cape Town last year.

Warner has long been a target for supporter ire in this famous old rivalry and when he was sent to field in front of the Hollies Stand during England's innings on Saturday, he was serenaded with choruses of "he's got sandpaper in his hands!".

The 32-year-old responded by holding out his empty palms, earning applause from the locals, before continuing the merriment by turning out his pockets.

England were dismissed for 374 to bring tea on the third day, the hosts boasting a lead of 90 that Warner and Bancroft will aim to make inroads into after their first-innings failures.

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