Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all given lengthy bans for their part in Australia’s ball-tampering scandal six years ago.

Captain Smith and vice-captain Warner were both handed 12-month suspensions while Bancroft, the batsman who was caught on camera attempting to change the condition of the ball using sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa, was banned for nine months.

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said: “The CA board understands and shares the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about these events.

“They go to the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport and the penalties must reflect that.

“These are significant penalties for professional players and the board does not impose them lightly. It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers.”

Smith and Bancroft gave a press conference after the third day’s play where they admitted a premeditated attempt to tamper with the ball.

Smith spoke of a “leadership group” making the decision to tamper with the ball and, in announcing the severe punishments, CA revealed Warner, 31, was charged with devising the plan, instructing a junior player – Bancroft – to carry it out and demonstrating how to do it.

Smith gave a tearful press conference on his return to Australia, saying: “I know I’ll regret this for the rest of my life, I’m absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness.

“I’ve been so privileged and honoured to represent my country and captain Australia. Cricket is the greatest game in the world and it’s been my life – I hope it can be again. I’m absolutely devastated.”

Smith and Warner both returned to the Australia side at the Cricket World Cup in 2019, with the former made vice-captain of the Test side in 2021, while Bancroft played for his country again in the Ashes series the same summer.

Rising fast bowler Shamar Joseph has dedicated his ICC Men’s Player of the Month for January award to his West Indies Test teammates and cricket fans at large, with a vow to continue working hard to deliver more memorable performances in what promises to be an exciting career.

Not many players have made a more impressive start to their international career than Joseph, who burst onto the scene during the Two-Test series against Australia and rose from relative obscurity to the cusp of stardom after just two matches. His pivotal role in West Indies’ historic second Test victory over the world champions, not only etched his name in the annals of the sport's history, but it also left an indelible impression on cricket fans around the world.

Joseph's introduction to international cricket was so eye-catching, that the right-arm bowler beat out strong opposition from England batter Ollie Pope and Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood to claim the first men's monthly award for the new calendar year.

“I am extremely delighted to win this award. To get such an award on the world stage feels special. I totally enjoyed every moment of that experience playing for West Indies in Australia, especially the magic of the final day at the Gabba. Taking the wicket to win the match was a dream," Joseph said shortly after ICC's announcement on Tuesday.

“It was a truly memorable moment for me, and I just want to continue to work hard and deliver more match-winning performances for the West Indies with the ball; and when required also with the bat," he added.

It didn't take long for Joseph to make his mark on debut in the first Test against Australia, as the 24-year-old revived memories of West Indies quicks of yesteryear, when he claimed the prized wicket of the world's number two-ranked batter Steve Smith with his very first delivery.

Joseph picked up another four Australian scalps on his way to sensational figures of 5-94 in his first Test appearance in Adelaide and he backed up the effort, with decent scores of 36 and 15 coming into bat for his side at number 11.

Somehow, Joseph produced an even better performance during the West Indies' upset victory over Australia in the second Test in Brisbane. He produced a spell for the ages to collect figures of 7-68 that helped the Caribbean side to their first Test triumph in Australia since 1997.

Through two Tests, Joseph collated 57 runs at a decent batting clip of 28.50, and also took 13 wickets at an imposing average of 17.30.

“I want to say special thanks to the teammates and support staff in Australia who backed me from the start to get the job done. I will be the one receiving the award, but this is also for the team, and all the fans of the West Indies as well," Joseph noted.


West Indies fast-bowling sensation Shamar Joseph has jumped a massive 42 spots up the ICC Men’s Test rankings this week to sit joint 50th on the list.

Joseph, whose breathtaking performances in the recently-concluded two Test series against Australia earned him the Player of the series award, was instrumental in the regional side's historic second Test win against the World Champions. He took five wickets for 94 runs in the first encounter, which Australia won by 10 wickets and seven wickets for 68 runs in West Indies' famous eight-run win.

The 24-year-old Joseph and his pace partners all secured ranking upgrades, as Kemar Roach moved two places up to 17th and Alzarri Joseph inched four places up to 33rd. New Zealand’s Kane Williamson remains the Number one batsman ahead of England’s Joe Root and Australian Steve Smith, while the bowling list is headed by Indian Ravi Ashwin followed by South African Kagiso Rabada and Australia's captain Pat Cummins.

All-rounders Jason Holder, ranked at seventh, and 10th-ranked Kyle Mayers, the highest rated West Indies players on the all-rounders’ list, did not play against Australia in the recent series. India’s Ravi Jadeja heads that list.

The Gabba in Brisbane witnessed an extraordinary display of courage and skill as Shamar Joseph, nursing an injured toe, produced an astounding seven-wicket haul that propelled the West Indies to a historic eight-run victory over Australia in the second Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

The young fast bowler's seven-wicket haul on the fourth day turned the tide, securing not only the Test match but also tied the series 1-1. It was the West Indies first Test victory in Australia since 1997. Joseph, who had figures of 1-56 and 7-68 in the match, took total of 13 wickets during the two Tests and was awarded the Richie Benaud Medal as Player of the Series.

Riding the high of his extraordinary feat, the 24-year-old Guyanese fast bowler, who bowled unchanged for 11.5 overs on the final day, expressed gratitude for his teammates' support and the medical intervention that enabled him to play through the pain after being struck on the big toe by a Mitchell Starc yorker the night before.

The young bowler, who had contemplated skipping the remainder of the match, said he stuck to the basics that brought him the rewards.

"Shout out for my teammates for their support. I wasn't even going to come to the ground today. But the doctor did something to my toe. I don't know what he did. But it worked. I just stuck to the basics. Stuck to the top of off. I feel like we win the entire series by winning this Test. Shout out to my teammates for their support. I cried for my five-wicket haul but I'm so happy now. I'm not even tired. I would have kept bowling," exclaimed Joseph.

The elation was shared by the West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, who seized the opportunity to respond to criticism from retired Australian Test cricketer Rodney Hogg. Hogg had labeled the West Indies team as 'pathetic and hapless.' Brathwaite, flexing his biceps, challenged Hogg's assessment and credited it as motivation for his team's spirited fightback.

"We won a Test match in Australia. It does a lot for West Indies cricket. It means a lot. It's been a number of years since we've won a Test match here. But my message to the group is that this is the beginning. It's amazing, we enjoy this, but this has to continue. I'm extremely proud,” Brathwaite declared.

“I must say we had two words that inspired us in this Test match. Mr. Rodney Hogg said that we were 'pathetic and hopeless.' That was our inspiration. We wanted to show the world we're not pathetic.”

Brathwaite then singled out Joseph for his remarkable performance.

“I knew I had Shamar probably an hour before play. The doctor said he got an injection and he's quite good and then he told me he's going to do it. I had to back him. He's a superstar and I know he'll do great things for West Indies in the future. Just his belief. It's a great example for this team to follow. As I said, this is the beginning. We have to continue and play with heart and keep fighting for West Indies. I would love more Test cricket for sure," declared Brathwaite.

The final day's play saw Steven Smith standing as the lone barrier against Joseph's onslaught. Smith's unbeaten 91, however, wasn't enough to save Australia as Joseph dismissed key batters in quick succession, setting up an intense and nail-biting finish.

 Resuming from their overnight total of 60-3 with Steve Smith on 30 and Cameron Green on nine, Australia appeared to be cruising towards the target of 216 at 113 for 2 until Joseph struck with the wickets of Cameron Green and Travis Head in consecutive deliveries.

He then dismissed Mitchell Marsh and Alex Carey as Australia lost 4 for 23.

Joseph claimed his second five-wicket haul in as many matches by dismissing Mitchell Starc, who had briefly counterattacked.

Joseph, who had sunk to his knees with his head on the ground pushed through the pain and exhaustion to nick off Pat Cummins.

The umpires extended play 20 minutes after Joseph dismissed Cummins, but neither he or Alzarri Joseph could not get through Smith and Lyon. After the break Alzarri dismissed Lyon with Australia still needing 27.

Joseph would not be denied and flattened Josh Hazlewood’s off stump too see the underdogs claim a famous victory.

West Indies earned a famous victory over Australia as Shamar Joseph overcame injury to inspire them to an eight-run victory at the Gabba.

Joseph had retired hurt while batting on day three after being hit by a Mitchell Starc yorker but claimed figures of seven for 68 in only his second Test to rip through the batting order and earn a first Windies win on Australian soil since 1997.

Steve Smith carried his bat for 91 but none of his colleagues reached 50.

The hosts started day four 60 for two, needing 156 runs to secure a win in the second Test, and looked to be going well as Smith and Cameron Green added 71 for the third wicket.

Joseph ended the partnership with a brilliant delivery to send the top of Green’s off-stump flying.

He struck again the following ball to send Travis Head back to the pavilion with a king pair and Mitchell Marsh and Alex Carey soon followed as the Australia batting line-up began to dwindle.

Starc fought back alongside Smith, scoring 21 off 14 before being caught by Kevin Sinclair off Joseph, and captain Pat Cummins was unable to recreate his first-innings heroics as he fell to Joseph for two.

Alzarri Joseph picked up his second wicket of the game to dismiss Nathan Lyon before Smith ran out of partners and was left stranded as Joseph wrapped up a famous win by bowling Josh Hazlewood to earn the tourists a series draw.

It is the first time the Windies have avoided a Test series defeat in Australia since 1993.

Steve Smith will take over from the retired David Warner as Australia’s new Test opener after convincing selectors he was “willing and hungry” to embrace a new challenge.

Smith batted as low as number nine on Test debut and has taken every spot up to number three in the course of a prolific career. Now he will head the innings for the first time having publicly pitched to replace Warner.

The 34-year-old’s move will accommodate the return of all-rounder Cameron Green in the top six for the forthcoming series against the West Indies, with Matt Renshaw picked as reserve batter and Cameron Bancroft’s hopes of returning to the Baggy Green fold dashed.

Head selector Andrew McDonald indicated all parties view the switch as a long-term move and praised the former captain for embracing change after 105 Tests and almost 10,000 runs lower down the order.

“It’s selfless that someone who’s had such success in one position or a couple of positions in the middle order, that he’s willing and hungry to have a crack at something different,” McDonald told reporters.

“For someone who has achieved as much as he has over such a long period of time across all formats, it’s a challenge or an itch he’d like to scratch and ultimately for us, as a team, it’s something that fits.

“It provides an opportunity to slot Greeny into number four where he’s had success for Western Australia. Ultimately we are trying to pick our six best batters.

“The regard in which we hold Cameron and the way the rest of that batting order is functioning left us feeling we have someone we think is pretty talented who was potentially going to find it pretty hard to get any Test cricket in the next 12 months or so.”

Stuart Broad was content to give Steve Smith “the benefit of the doubt” after his run-out reprieve left England and Australia neck and neck after day two of the fifth Ashes Test.

Substitute fielder George Ealham, the 21-year-old son of former England all-rounder Mark, came close to swinging things decisively in the home side’s favour when he produced a lightning fast gather and throw to leave Smith scrambling.

Memories of former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting having his stumps thrown down by Gary Pratt 18 years ago came flooding back, but Smith was spared that fate as replays cast doubt over the role of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

He appeared to nudge a bail loose with his arm before gathering the ball and completing the run out, leading TV umpire Nitin Menon to spare Smith on 44. Australia added exactly 100 runs for three wickets after the incident, finishing 295 all out and 12 runs in front.

The decision did not go down well with the majority of the sold-out Kia Oval crowd, but Broad admitted his own grasp of the technicalities was imperfect and accepted the verdict.

“I don’t know the rules to be honest. I think there was enough grey area to give that not out,” he said.

“What are the rules? Was it the right decision? It looked like benefit of the doubt sort of stuff. The first angle I saw I thought ‘out’ and then with the side angle it looked like the bails probably dislodged.”

Broad’s bowling partner James Anderson also sought to take any heat out of the umpires’ call, telling BBC Sport: “It felt like one of those where Australia think it’s not out and we thought it was out.

“I’ve not had a proper look on the TV, but it felt like a very close decision. We have to trust that the third umpire knows what he’s doing and got the decision right.”

Smith, who top-scored with 71, accepted his near miss but doffed his cap in Ealham’s direction after admitting the Surrey second teamer had caught him unawares with his rapid response.

“It was pretty tight, but when I looked the second time it looked like Jonny might have knocked the bail before the ball came in,” he said.

“It looked a close one but it got given not out, didn’t it? He was quick! I know now he’s very quick.

“The next one we hit out there we kind of pushed and he was haring round the boundary, coming in at pace. Had I known that previously, I might have just stayed there for the single.”

England will begin their second innings on Saturday morning, with barely anything to separate the sides as an enthralling series enters its final chapter.

There have been two distinct styles on show, with England scoring at a rampant rate 5.17 across less than 55 overs and Australia taking almost twice as long to get their runs at 2.85.

The tourists have already retained the urn with a 2-1 lead, but both teams have a viable route to victory as they look to finish the series on a high.

“It’s going to be another cracker, I think. Both teams played pretty different on it but pretty successfully,” Broad said.

“At one stage when Smith was nearly run out we thought we could get a pretty decent lead, but the Aussies battled pretty hard there and I think it’s just set up to be a cracking game again. That is the way the Aussies play, they try to see off the new ball, grind you down, and see off a huge number of overs.”

Smith added: “It’s ebbed and flowed the whole way…a few of us got good starts but couldn’t go and get a big score.

“We’re 12 runs in front so it’s pretty much a one-innings game from here. One positive out of the game so far is we have put more overs into their bowlers than the 50-odd ours bowled.”

England’s hopes of squaring the Ashes might have turned on the tiniest of margins at the Kia Oval as Australia’s Steve Smith came desperately close to being run out by substitute fielder George Ealham in a pivotal moment in the fifth Test.

Australia were 295 all out off the final ball of the second day, 12 runs ahead, as Smith rode his luck to top-score with 71 following a scare just after tea.

The 21-year-old son of former England all-rounder Mark Ealham looked to have replicated Ricky Ponting’s famous 2005 dismissal by the unknown Gary Pratt, combining with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to leave Smith diving for the line.

Smith initially looked bang to rights but, instead of departing for 44 and leaving his side 195 for eight, he was reprieved by TV umpire Nitin Menon.

Replays suggested Bairstow had begun to nudge one of the bails loose with his arm before collecting the ball cleanly and there was some debate over whether either bail was fully dislodged before Smith’s bat slid home.

What mattered most was the ‘not out’ decision that appeared on the big screen and the 100 runs which followed.

That was easily Australia’s most productive period of a day that had seen them embark on pedestrian go-slow in the morning session and a jittery collapse in the afternoon.

Having watched England blaze 283 in 54.5 overs, Australia crept just above that mark in 103.1, Ben Stokes taking an excellent two-stage boundary catch to end the innings in the closing moments.

England were one bowler down due to Moeen Ali’s groin strain, but Australia came out with nothing but survival on their mind, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne scoring just 13 runs off the bat in a first hour that tested English patience in the field and in stands.

Labuschagne was completely bereft of intent, scratching out nine off 82 deliveries before Mark Wood finally drew the outside edge England had spent almost 90 minutes probing for.

It looked a regulation catch for Bairstow but he froze on the spot, leaving Joe Root to hurl himself into action at first slip and claim a brilliant one-handed grab. That was the height of the pre-lunch entertainment, with the scoreboard trudging to 115 for two by the break.

Australia had put miles in the English legs and taken time out of a game their rivals need to win, but they had barely moved the dial in real terms.

The limitations of that approach were exposed in the afternoon, with England taking five for 71 to take control of proceedings. Stuart Broad played the role of ringleader, dismissing Khawaja and Travis Head in successive overs to inject some electricity into a game that had gone to sleep.

Khawaja had spent more than four-and-a-half hours in defiance when Broad speared one in from round the wicket and trapped the left-hander in front of leg. Five balls later the seamer was celebrating again, challenging Head outside off stump and getting the nick.

England continued burrowing through the middle order as James Anderson belatedly opened his account for the match in the 16th over, bowling Mitch Marsh off a hefty inside edge and cracking a long overdue smile in the process.

The mistakes kept coming, Alex Carey chipping Root’s tempter to short cover and Mitchell Starc flapping Wood straight up in the air.

Smith was shaping up to be the key figure as he reached tea on 40, but he came desperately close to a self-inflicted dismissal.

Turning back for a second as Ealham sprinted in from the deep and flung a flat throw to the keeper, he looked to be struggling as he dived for his ground.

Replays initially seemed to seal his fate, with his bat short of the crease line as the stumps were broken. He was halfway to the pavilion when he sensed something might be amiss, with the slow-motion footage suggesting Bairstow had nudged one bail loose before gathering the ball in and parting the stumps.

The images were scrutinised for a couple of minutes, analysing when and where the bails left their grooves, before Menon ruled in Smith’s favour. His decision was met with frustration among the home supporters and a healthy dose of confusion elsewhere, as the assembled pundits tried in vain to bring some clarity.

Smith added another 44 before skying Chris Woakes over his shoulder to Bairstow, who did his work well this time.

England should still have taken a lead into day three but struggled to mop up the tail. Pat Cummins made an assured 36 and Todd Murphy landed three sixes on his way to 34.

Woakes had the skipper lbw late on and Root finished things off when Stokes affected a smart catch-and-release take on the boundary to dismiss Murphy.

England will bat again on day three, with barely an inch to separate the sides.

England substitute fielder George Ealham came agonisingly close to his own Gary Pratt moment during the evening session on day two of the fifth Ashes Test at the Kia Oval.

Ealham, the son of former England international Mark, found himself in the thick of the action from the third ball of the 78th over of Australia’s innings.

Steve Smith looked to complete a risky two against the bowling of Chris Woakes, but Ealham sprinted in from the rope and hurled in a hard, flat throw that forced the Aussie batter to dive to make his ground.

It instantly provoked memories of former Durham staffer Pratt, who memorably ran out Ricky Ponting during the fourth Test of the 2005 Ashes.

Ealham was denied a similar place in Ashes history after TV umpire Nitin Menon eventually ruled Smith remained not out owing to the uncertainty over what was an extremely marginal call.

Australia were on 193 for seven when Smith dropped the ball towards the midwicket region and set off for two runs with captain Pat Cummins.

Smith stumbled briefly on his way to completing the second run and saw England substitute fielder Ealham throw in brilliantly with Jonny Bairstow dislodging the bails.

Before a decision had been made Smith started his walk back to the pavilion having seen that he was short of his ground, but replays showed that Bairstow appeared to nudge one of the bails out of its groove a fraction of a second before taking the ball from Ealham’s throw.

Further replays also demonstrated enough uncertainty over whether both ends of the bail had left their grooves before Smith made his ground with a dive.

It sparked debate and confusion amongst broadcasters but the cold reality was Smith remained at the crease.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, the lawmakers of the game, later published a statement about the decision and referenced Law 29.1.

“The wicket is broken when at least one bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or one or more stumps is removed from the ground,” the MCC tweeted.

“Tom Smith’s Cricket Umpiring and Scoring, MCC’s Official Interpretation of the Laws of Cricket, adds: ‘For the purposes of dismissal – a bail has been removed at the moment that both ends of it leave their grooves’.”

Smith was able to add a further 27 runs before he was eventually out for 71 after he top-edged Woakes high into the air with Bairstow taking an impressive catch on the run.

England hopes of rounding up quick Australian wickets met with resistance at Emirates Old Trafford, where the tourists reached 107 for two on the first morning of the fourth Ashes Test.

In placid batting conditions Ben Stokes gambled by sending Australia in first, motivated by his side’s 2-1 deficit in the series and the threat of a weekend washout, but in need of early breakthroughs to justify the call.

Stuart Broad responded by taking out in-form opener Usman Khawaja for three, moving to 599 Test wickets in the process, but England managed only one more before lunch when Chris Woakes had David Warner caught behind for 32.

Neither Marnus Labuschagne (29no) nor Steve Smith (33no) started convincingly, but the pair survived to score briskly in the last half-hour and leave the home side needing some afternoon inspiration.

For the fourth time in a row Australia skipper Pat Cummins called wrong at the toss, leaving Stokes to make his margin call.

He handed Broad an immediate chance to tighten his grip over Warner, having snapped him up for the 17th time at Headingley last time out.

The left-hander, who survived heavy scrutiny over his place this week, bagged two ducks on this ground on his last visit four years ago but ruled out a repeat performance off the first ball of the game, slapping a wide loosener from Broad through cover for four.

The crowd were eager to see the returning James Anderson make his mark at the end that bears his name but, despite a typically solid start, it was Broad who got things going.

Nobody has batted longer or made more runs in the series than Khawaja, but he was first fall on this occasion, plumb lbw to a full ball angled in from round the wicket.

Labuschagne has had a much leaner time of it and his struggles continued initially, comprehensively beaten on the outside edge by Anderson on nought and completely misreading an inswinger from Broad moments later.

The arrival of Mark Wood dialled up the pace but, unlike the previous match, Australia managed to use it to their advantage.

His four-over spell went for 21 – as well as four byes – and a thick edge to third man from Labuschagne was as close as he got to a breakthrough.

Instead, it was Woakes who checked Warner’s growing confidence. Setting up camp outside his off stump and drawing a couple of poor shots, he eventually pushed his length a fraction fuller. Warner drove, snicked through to Jonny Bairstow and was on his way.

Smith was next up and almost gifted England a chance with an opening stroke that was entirely out of character.

He stepped inside the line of his first ball from Woakes, hooking straight towards Wood at fine-leg. Had he been stationed on the rope it would have been a regulation catch, but he was several metres in and saw the ball clear his despairing dive en route to a one-bounce four.

The runs began to flow with greater ease as lunch approached, both batters showing greater control and a two-over spell from Moeen Ali costing 17.

Australia centurion Steve Smith admitted Nathan Lyon’s calf injury does not look good with the tourists’ braced to play the rest of the second Ashes Test without their frontline spinner.

Lyon injured his right calf while trying to make up ground to catch Ben Duckett’s lofted pull shot off Cameron Green in the 37th over of England’s innings.

The sight of Lyon holding the back of his calf and being forced to hobble off the pitch brought back memories of Glenn McGrath’s busted ankle on the eve of the second Ashes Test in the 2005 series.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson later confirmed Lyon was being assessed and while no scan has been booked, his chances of featuring in the rest of the Lord’s Test look over and his whole series could even be in doubt.

“Yeah, I haven’t been up in the sheds yet but obviously it didn’t look good,” Smith conceded.

“I mean it doesn’t look ideal for the rest of the game. I’m not sure how he actually is, but if he is no good, it is obviously a big loss for us.

“He is in his 100th consecutive Test match, which I know he was really looking forward to taking part in and having a role in.

“Fingers crossed he is okay but it didn’t look good obviously.

“It is not ideal, particularly your spin bowler. One player with one role. Batters, I suppose there are loads of us around so it is a bit different.

“Nathan, if he is no good, would be a huge loss. However, we have Todd Murphy waiting in the wings, who has been bowling beautifully in nets and bowled really well in India when he got his opportunity.

“I would be confident if he came in that he would do a terrific job for us but fingers crossed Nathan is alright.”

Smith, who struck 110 in Australia’s first innings total of 416, warmed up for this English summer with a three-match stint for Sussex, where he claimed two for 55 in his final appearance against Glamorgan.

But the part-time leg-spinner insisted: “I haven’t been working on my bowling at all.

“I bowled a few overs at the back end of one of the games – where pretty much the game was dead – just because everyone else was cooked.

“Hopefully I won’t have to bowl too much. I thought (Travis) Heady bowled all right, a bit different to Nathan, just skidding them more than Nathan does.

“Yeah, Heady is probably the one who is going to have to take a fair chunk of the spin overs and maybe myself and Marnus (Labuschagne) will chop in here and there.

“Yeah, not ideal when you lose your spinner on a surface that is not offering a great deal for the quick bowlers.”

England opener Ben Duckett sent his best wishes to Lyon but acknowledged the absence of Australia’s veteran spinner could be crucial in their efforts to level the series.

“It is a huge shame. I really hope it’s not too bad for him,” Duckett said.

“You never want to see anyone go down with an injury. He was going to play a massive part in that fourth innings because he is such a good bowler. If they go bumpers with all three bowlers, they’ll be pretty tired.”

Smith, who was 85 not out overnight, celebrated his 32nd Test hundred in the morning session.

A sumptuous cover drive for four earned Smith his 12th Ashes century, with eight of them occurring in England.

He added: “It is obviously a huge moment, I love playing here at Lords. I have spent a fair bit of time in the middle the last two times here and then this game as well.

“It is a nice place to play if you get in, you get good value for your shots and nice to get myself back up on the honours board again.”

England rallied with the ball on the second morning of the second Ashes Test, bowling out Australia for 416 to stay alive at Lord’s.

The home side’s day one efforts drew stinging criticism from a host of notable players, with Kevin Pietersen branding them “absolutely shambolic” and Michael Vaughan labelling some of their bowling “utter dross”.

But they bounced back impressively to take five wickets for 77 runs in the opening session and deny their rivals the mammoth total they had looked on course for at 316 for three midway through the previous evening.

Steve Smith converted his overnight 85 into a knock of 110, his 12th Ashes century and an eighth behind enemy lines, but he could not halt a much improved English effort.

Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett then safely negotiated four overs before lunch to reach 13 for nought and begin the job of chipping away at the scoreboard.

In need of a big response, England tossed the ball to their two oldest stagers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The pair sent down 33 wicketless overs between them on Wednesday but made good on their captain’s show of faith as they made early inroads.

Broad’s first two balls of the morning disappeared for four but he ended the over with a beauty, jagging back into Alex Carey and flicking the front pad on its way over middle stump. England need DRS to change umpire Ahsan Raza’s mind, but the end result was exactly what they needed.

Anderson picked up the baton at the Nursery End, angling the ball towards the cordon and drawing a thick edge from the newly arrived Mitchell Starc. Jonny Bairstow, 24 hours on from his starring role as a bouncer in the Just Stop Oil protest, leapt in front of first slip and held the catch.

Smith was watching calmly from the other end, making his way to 99 before lashing a cover drive to the ropes to bring up his latest Ashes ton. It was an excellently judged innings, but England had the bit between their teeth now and wrapped things up with admirable efficiency.

Josh Tongue, who dismissed Smith for Worcestershire earlier in the season, had the centurion well caught in the gully by Duckett as he swung hard and lost his balance. Ollie Robinson then swept up Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood in successive overs.

Starc and Pat Cummins had two overs each to land a blow in return, but England’s top order pair reached the break without offering a chance.

England will eye early wickets on day two of the second Ashes Test after Steve Smith helped Australia make a strong start in their quest to move 2-0 up in the series.

Smith was unbeaten on 85 at the end of the first day at Lord’s with Australia able to close on 339 for five, a score which would have been even better had Joe Root not struck twice late on with his part-time spin.

David Warner and Travis Head contributed half-centuries as England disappointingly failed to make the most of winning the toss and bowling on a green-tinged wicket under cloudy skies in the capital.

Only Ashes debutant Josh Tongue, who claimed two for 88, was able to make a significant impact out of the hosts’ all-seam attack but captain Ben Stokes will hope that can change on the second morning despite the threat of rain.

View from the dressing roomPope’s on ice

England have work to do before they can think about batting at the home of cricket, but they do have concerns over the fitness of Ollie Pope.

Vice-captain Pope injured his right shoulder while fielding soon after lunch and did not return to the field.

It has heightened fears he will not be able to bat during the rest of the Test.

The Surrey batter spent most of day one being treated with ice, but if fit he can bat in his usual number three slot and will not incur any penalty time for being off the field of play due to this being an impact injury.

Here’s Jonny!

The second Ashes Test was only six balls old when Just Stop Oil protesters ran on to the field and headed for the Lord’s wicket, but it was Jonny Bairstow who came to the rescue.

England’s wicketkeeper picked up one of the men and carted them over the boundary edge. The other protester, who momentarily attracted the attention of Ben Stokes and Australia’s David Warner, was intercepted by security staff.

Bairstow did have to change his orange-stained whites but his “swift hands” were praised by an official spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. All three protesters were arrested.

Organisers will hope the headlines from day two are just about the cricket.

Sloppy England overstep the mark

Root’s late double scalp helped spare England’s blushes on what had largely been a poor day.

The hosts’ sluggishness started with Root putting down a low catch from Usman Khawaja in the fifth over and while the Australian batter did not cash in, his fellow opener Warner did make the most of a life on 20 – when Pope dropped a sharp chance at third slip – to register a half-century.

Even more eye-catching than those drops were the 12 no-balls Stokes’ side bowled. After 23 no-balls at Edgbaston, it is an area where improvement is required – especially for Robinson, who overstepped on six occasions.

Josh gets Tongues wagging

A crumb of comfort for England was the display of Tongue. After being hit for a few early boundaries, he stuck to his guns and conjured up a superb inswinging delivery to dismiss Khawaja on the stroke of lunch.

Better was to follow in the afternoon session when the Worcestershire seamer produced a brilliant over of Ashes cricket.

With Warner at the crease, Tongue had the aggressive Aussie tied up in knots with no answer to both the inswinger or outswinger.

It was a wonderful delivery that jagged back in and went through Warner’s defence that did for the opener, with the ball clipping his leg-stump.

Red for Ruth Day

Rivalries will be put to one side on Thursday for the Ruth Strauss Foundation with both England and Australia players joining fans and pundits in turning Lord’s into a sea of red.

Former England captain Sir Andrew Strauss set up the charity in memory of his late wife Ruth, who died in 2018 from a non-smoking lung cancer.

The foundation supports thousands of families as they deal with the impact of terminal cancer diagnosis and day two will aim to raise more funds and awareness.

Steve Smith says he felt like he had drunk “a dozen beers” last time he played at Lord’s, as he prepares to return to the venue for the second Ashes Test.

The Australia batsman became the first cricketer to be formally substituted out of a Test match with concussion when he withdrew from the second Test at Lord’s in 2019.

Smith initially passed concussion testing before returning having been struck on the neck by England pace bowler Jofra Archer on day four.

Yet he was ruled out on the final day – with the match drawn – and also missed the following Test at Headingley.

Smith recalled the incident ahead of the second Test, which starts on Wednesday. Australia lead the series following their two-wicket victory in the opener at Edgbaston.

The 34-year-old explained: “It was just a day that I wasn’t quite seeing the ball as well as I would have liked from that end.

“Archer was bowling 93 to 96 miles an hour at stages. And the wicket felt like it was a little bit up and down. So it certainly wasn’t easy.

“It was a very difficult period to get through, and obviously I caught one on the arm, got away with a few pull shots that are top edge and a couple in the gaps. And then I caught one in the back of the head, which hurt a fair bit.

“At that stage, I didn’t realise I was getting concussed. I went off and did all the tests, passed all the tests.

“It wasn’t until I came back out and half an hour after, when the adrenaline sort of went out of my system and I started to feel quite groggy, probably like I’d had a dozen beers to be honest. That lasted for a little bit. It was a difficult period and he bowled really nicely.”

Smith scored 92 in the first innings, which had been delayed due to rain, before he was dismissed lbw by Chris Woakes.

“I remember spending a lot of time in the nets and even the day before the game, I think I had a really long net, I just couldn’t find a rhythm. And then finally, something just clicked and I started to feel good,” he said.

“That was probably after two and a half hours in the net. So I’d say after that I was probably a little bit mentally fatigued from having such a long hit the day before the game, but I also felt like I was prepared and ready to go. And then it was just about going out in the middle and playing.

“We were losing a lot of wickets at the other end throughout that innings. I was just trying to stay in the present as much as possible, probably up until we’re about eight down, which was when I started to probably play a few more shots.”

::Legends of The Ashes is a new 10-part Global Original podcast series on Global Player and all major audio platforms.

Steve Smith is happy to be kicking off another Ashes series at Edgbaston, four years on from a performance he ranks as the most enjoyable of his 97 Tests in a Baggy Green.

The notoriously raucous Birmingham crowd subjected Smith and team-mate David Warner to a volley of boos and jeers in 2019, as the pair made their return to Test cricket following year-long bans for their roles in the sandpaper scandal.

Some fans in the notoriously merciless Eric Hollies Stand even donned cardboard face masks of Smith crying at a press conference during the height of the ball-tampering drama, but the Australian was all smiles by the end of the match.

Not only did Australia win that first Test by 251 runs, Smith made centuries in both innings as he reeled off knocks of 144 and 142 to re-assert himself as a master of his craft after 12 months in exile.

“I think that Test match is probably my favourite out of my career so far, given the circumstances and the importance of a first Ashes Test, particularly away from home,” he said ahead of Friday’s series opener.

“I’ve had a couple of good ones. It would be nice to repeat it again but I’m just going to go out there and go through my routines and do what I need to do, and hopefully I can score some runs and help the team out.

“Coming back here I’ve got some wonderful memories and some things I can draw from.

“However I know it’s a new series, it’s a new year, a new Ashes, so I can draw on those experiences but not read too much into it.

“You go to different grounds around the world that you’ve done well at and you can take some positives out of those and sort of move forward with them, but ultimately it’s another game.”

Smith hit 774 runs in just seven innings in 2019, averaging a remarkable 110.57, and his ability to bat long and deep has the potential to cause England plenty of problems again.

He restated his fondness for the conditions with a 31st Test hundred against India during last week’s World Test Championship win over India at the Kia Oval, but while he will undoubtedly be a prize scalp he is not alone.

On Tuesday the latest set of ICC player rankings were published, giving Australia all three of the world’s top three batters. Smith settled in at two, behind Marnus Labuschagne and narrowly ahead of the in-form Travis Head.

“I think it’s cool to see us all at the top of the tree,” Smith said.

“I think those two in particular, the improvements they’ve made over the last four or five years have been exceptional. We all do it completely differently, obviously Trav comes out and plays very aggressively and takes the game on. It’s sort of a ‘see ball, hit ball’ mentality.

“Marnus and I probably think our way through situations a little bit differently, but it is cool to see the hard work of those guys pay off and for them to get themselves up there in the rankings.”

Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.