Sport

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Smith stands firm for Australia

By Rory Dollard, Press Association Sport

Published 22/08/2013|16:40

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Australia's Steven Smith kisses his helmet after reaching his century during the fifth Ashes cricket test match against England at the Oval cricket ground in London
Australia's Steven Smith kisses his helmet after reaching his century during the fifth Ashes cricket test match against England at the Oval cricket ground in London

Australia's Steve Smith moved closer to a maiden Test century after heavy rain washed out the second morning of the fifth Investec Ashes Test.

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When play finally got under way at the Kia Oval at 2.30pm - three and a half hours after the scheduled start - Smith had 66 not out to his name and at the mid-point of the session he had moved along to 84 not out.

It hinted at a second major success of the innings for Australia, after Shane Watson's redemptive 176.

England had one success in that period, James Anderson removing Peter Siddle with a delivery far too good for the tailender's talents.

Anderson began with a testing over to Smith, who nevertheless picked up a total of six runs between the slips and gully.

Anderson's second visit was a maiden and the he followed that with the superb dismissal of Siddle.

The nightwatchman had done his job with 23 runs in 27 balls but was never going to be able to stop an Anderson special that squared him up and kissed the top of off stump.

Stuart Broad was sending down a testing spell from Pavilion End, though he was unable to turn pressure into wickets.

Alastair Cook opted for an early look at Chris Woakes, who endured a chastening first day of Test cricket on day one, and he had a decent lbw shout against Brad Haddin in his first over.

He beat the bat of Smith and Haddin on a couple of occasions but had not yet found a way to stem the flow of boundaries.

Haddin struck two in three balls and concerns over Woakes' confidence soon began to re-emerge.

Lack of confidence was certainly not a problem for Smith as he pumped Broad powerfully past point to move into the eighties.

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