Ashes 2017: Smith saves Aussies’ blushes after early collapse in Gabba

Brisbane: Australian skipper Steve Smith produced another match-saving innings late on Day 2 to revive his side’s fortunes following a top-order batting collapse in the opening Ashes Test of the five-match series here at the Gabba on Friday.

At the end of the second day’s play, Australia reached 165-4 in response to England’s first innings total of 302, thanks to Smith for his calm and composed half-century.

Much opposite to the expectations, the hosts made a slow start to their innings as they lost their openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner cheaply for five and 26, respectively.

And at one point of time Australia crashed to 76-4, whereupon Smith proved the batsman for a crisis yet again and withstood the charge of the England bowlers by smashing an unbeaten 64-run knock besides sharing a crucial 89-run stand with Shaun Marsh (44) for fifth wicket to reduce England’s lead to 137 runs at stumps.

For England, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali and Jake Ball all chipped in with a wicket each.

Earlier, the Joe Root-led side also lost their last six wickets for 56 runs to slip to 302 all out.

James Vince was the highest scorer for the tourists as he hammered an 83-run knock, including 12 boundaries, besides sharing a huge 125-run knock with Mark Stoneman (53) for second wicket.

Dawid Malan (56) and Moeen Ali (38) were another notable contributors for England before the visitors surrendered their innings in a whirl of poor shots.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were the most economical bowlers for Australia as they scalped three wickets each while Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood took two and a wicket respectively.

Though Smith and Marsh were solid later in the day, England look all set to snap Australia’s 29-year-long unbeaten streak on this ground.