Steve Smith had arrived at the crease with Australia having their backs to the wall on the opening day of the Ashes contest against England. The top order was blown away by Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad and they were left reeling at 122/8. The partisan crowd at Edgbaston was booing and jeering the Australian players, mostly David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft. However, Smith, playing in his first Test since the infamous ball-tampering scandal, produced a knock for the ages and smashed his 24th century and ninth against England as Australia were rescued to 284 all out at the end of day one. Smith shared an 88-run stand with Peter Siddle for the ninth wicket and a stand of 74 with Nathan Lyon for the final wicket as Australia had plenty of smiles. For England, Stuart Broad was the chief destroyer with 5/86.
Australia chose to bat in overcast conditions on a brown pitch and was immediately in trouble. Warner was at the receiving end of England not taking the review but Broad made amends by removing Warner cheaply. Cameron Bancroft, who had struck two fours, fell to Broad as the pacer probed a steady line and length. There was some concern for England as James Anderson walked off the field after bowling only four overs and he did not return for the remainder of the innings. Scans revealed hamstring tightness and with his participation in doubt, England was pondering options.
Travis Head and Smith shared a 64-run stand to revive Australia, with Head smashing boundaries confidently. However, when Chris Woakes trapped Head LBW for 35, Australia lost five wickets for 23 runs and was in danger of being bowled out cheaply. However, Smith batted confidently with the tail and Siddle gave him great support. Siddle shamed many of his top-order colleagues until he was caught at short leg by Jos Buttler off the bowling of Moeen Ali.
But soon afterwards Smith clubbed off-spinner Ali for a four and a six to go to 98 before a cover-driven boundary off all-rounder Ben Stokes saw him to three figures. Smith, amid a chorus of boos and cheers, celebrated by exultantly waving his bat after going to a hundred in 184 balls, with nine fours and a six. He was not finished, swinging Broad for six before the seamer bowled him.
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England were 10/0 as bad light brought an end to proceedings but the day belonged to Smith, who played a dream knock for the ages.