Steven Smith’s first century in international cricket helped Australia take a 460-run lead into the third day of the final Ashes Test against England.
Smith, who was a late addition to the squad shortly before the five-match series began, was unbeaten on 138 when Australia declared its first-innings at 492-9 yesterday at the Oval in London. England was 32 without loss at stumps.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Smith, who resumed the day on 66 and reached his 100 with a six off Jonathan Trott, said in a news conference. “I’ve played 12 Tests now and I would have hoped it had come sooner. It’s a great feeling to get a hundred in a Test match.”
Persistent rain delayed play until after lunch yesterday with Australia resuming on 307-4. The heavy cloud cover presented England’s attack with good conditions for swing bowling and James Anderson claimed an early breakthrough by removing Peter Siddle.
England couldn’t capitalize though as it seeks a first 4-0 series victory against its oldest rival. Smith combined with Brad Haddin for a 65-run partnership before Trott bowled Haddin shortly before tea.
Australia upped the tempo after the interval, scoring 95 runs in less than 12 overs. James Faulkner, playing his first Test, scored 23 off 21 balls before becoming fellow newcomer Chris Woakes’s first victim. Mitchell Starc was bowled by Graeme Swann for 13 while Ryan Harris struck 33 off 27 deliveries before being caught by Anderson off his own bowling.
Captain Alastair Cook (17) and fellow opener Joe Root (13) guided England through until the close, scoring at less than two runs an over.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann was last night fined 20 percent of his match fee after pleading guilty to a charge of publicly criticizing and making inappropriate comments about England’s Stuart Broad, the International Cricket Council said.
Lehmann accused Broad of “blatant cheating” in an interview with an Australian radio station on the eve of the match after the fast bowler defended his actions in not walking in the Ashes series opener when he edged a ball for a catch.
“I hope the Australian public give it to him right from the word go for the whole summer” during the return series in Australia starting in November, Lehmann said of Broad in the interview. “I hope he cries and he goes home.”
The Dubai-based ICC said in a statement the sanctions available to it for a Level 1 offense ranged from a warning or reprimand and/or a fine of up to 50 percent of the match fee. Lehmann, who replaced the fired Mickey Arthur as Australia coach 16 days before the Ashes series started, accepted the proposed sanction of a fine from match referee Roshan Mahanama.
“Whilst noting the context and nature of the comments made, showing mutual respect for one’s fellow professionals -- including for coaches, players and match officials -- is a cornerstone of how we play the game,” said ICC Chief Executive Officer David Richardson, who laid the charge against Lehmann.