England vs Australia, as it happened: Roy, Burns negotiate tricky period after Smith, Wade hit centuries

Australia asserted control of the first Ashes Test with an excellent batting performance on day four at Edgbaston, Birmingham.


Steve Smith once again came to Australia's rescue in the second innings of the first Ashes Test.   -  getty images

Australia added 363 runs to its overnight score before declaring, while England was left needing 385 runs to win on the final day at the Edgbaston in Birmingham.

STUMPS! Jason Roy and Rory Burns have negotiated the seven overs they had to bat before stumps on day four. Join us tomorrow for the fifth and final day's play in this seesawing Test match that could yet have a thrilling finish.

DECLARATION! Australia declares on 487 for seven, an overall lead of 397 runs, setting England a target of 398! James Pattinson and Pat Cummins batted with intent in the last couple of overs, suggesting a declaration could be on the horizon. And after Pattinson connected sweetly for a six off Joe Denly, Australia declared its second innings! Thirty-three runs came off the last three overs of Australia's second innings, with Pattinson and Cummins cutting loose.

A partnership building between James Pattinson and Pat Cummins, who have added 36 runs for the eighth wicket. Pattinson has been the aggressor in the partnership, smashing his way to 28 runs off 30 balls. He's used his bottom hand to good effect to pull Moeen Ali and even more impressively Stuart Broad for sixes in back to back overs. Australia's lead now goes past 350 (355 to be precise). This has been an outstanding batting effort after Steve Smith played a lone hand in the first innings. It is now 445 for seven.

WICKET! Tim Paine follows Matthew Wade back to the pavilion. Moeen Ali gets one to turn and sneak through the gap between bat and pad. The Australian captain goes for 34, Australia 409 for seven. Pat Cummins is the new batsman in.

WICKET! Matthew Wade falls after make century, goes for 110, Australia 407 for six. A short delivery from Ben Stokes and Matthew Wade can't clear deep midwicket. James Pattinson joins Tim Paine.

HUNDRED! Another player in his comeback Test gets to his century, Matthew Wade with the moment of redemption this time! Reverse sweeps Joe Root to the third-man boundary, as he had done to get to his fifty, to bring up the three figures. Australia's motoring here. It's 389 for five, 33 runs added since resumption.

Joe Root gives a final team talk in the huddle as the players make their way out for the final session on day four. Tim Paine and Matthew Wade are capable of upping the ante if Australia chooses to have a bowl at England for about 10 overs tonight. Already with a lead of 266 runs, it can call shots in this session and this Test!

TEA! Another session that Australia completely dominated. It's added 125 runs for the loss of Steve Smith. Australia goes into team 356 for five, a lead of 266 runs. Join us in 15 minutes for the final session on day four.

OUT! A strangely loose shot from Steve Smith and the full, wide delivery from Chris Woakes induces the outside edge through to Jonny Bairstow for an easy catch. Gone for 142, Australia 331 for five. Tim Paine, the captain, is the new batsman in.

Matthew Wade successfully reviews an lbw decision that was originally given out. Stuart Broad gets the new ball to lift from length and the ball raps Wade on the front thigh pad. The ball tracker shows it'd have gone over the stumps. Good review from Wade! Australia 330 for four, leads by 240 runs.

Joe Root is bowling an extended spell with Moeen Ali bowling from the other end. Neither has posed a challenge for either Steve Smith or Matthew Wade. The runs continue to flow freely and the Test match is getting away from England, with the lead having swollen to 239. Australia 329 for four.

FIFTY for Matthew Wade in his comeback Test. A reverse sweep for four off Joe Root gets him to the landmark! The difference in Australia's second innings has been the consistent partnerships it has had. This partnership has added 98 runs for the fifth wicket, following on the 130 runs added by Travis Head and Steve Smith for the fourth wicket. Australia 303/4, an overall lead of 213.

England has experimented with the fields and the bowlers have mixed their lines and lengths in the post-lunch session, but none of it has reaped the rewards. Steve Smith remains fully concentrated after getting to his century and Matthew Wade has been a lot more aggressive since lunch. Australia is 262 for four, an overall lead of 172.

CENTURY No. 25 for Steve Smith! A half-volley from Stuart Broad and Smith plays the most beautiful cover drive, drilling the ball through the gap between cover and extra cover for four to get to his second century of the Test. It's the first time in his career that Smith has made two centuries in a Test! This century, compared to his century in the first innings, has been the most fluent and he looks ominous from England's perspective. As he celebrates the century, you could hear fewer boos and much more of an applause than on the first day, when he bailed out the Aussies from a precarious 122 for eight. Australia moves to 238 for four, an overall lead of 148.

The players are back out for the post-lunch session. Chris Woakes, who surprisingly didn't get a bowl through the morning session, will bowl the first over. Steve Smith, batting on 98, is on strike, with Matthew Wade at the non-striker's end. This is another crucial session in the Test. Here we go!

Australia reaches 231 for four at lunch on day four. Steve Smith's unbeaten on 98, with Matthew Wade on 15. England has picked up just one wicket (Travis Head), with Australia adding 107 runs in 29 overs. Australia's overall lead has now swollen to 141. Join us in about 30 minutes for the post-lunch session.

WICKET! And a wicket against the run of play: Travis Head slashes at a legcutter from Ben Stokes - from round the wicket - gets an outside edge with Jonny Bairstow diving forward to take a good low catch. The missed stumping doesn't cost Australia much (he was on 46 then). Matthew Wade is the new batsman in.

We have the first big milestone of the morning: Australia's second-innings lead going past 100, importantly, with seven wickets still in hand. Steve Smith is at home against all the English bowlers, albeit he had a nervy moment in the previous Ben Stokes over. With a leg gully in place, Smith uppishly flicked a delivery on middle and leg and the ball flew aerially to the right of that fielder, though well away from him to count as a chance. Meanwhile, Travis Head is being challenged by the legspin of Joe Denly, who's exploiting the rough available to him outside the left-hander's off-stump. Head hasn't played that line of attack well at all: some balls have turned and rapped him on the gloves and high on the pads, while some have kept low and gone straight. One such ball went past the outside edge and Head should have been stumped by Jonny Bairstow, who got up a touch early to reprieve the South Australian batsman. He has since reached his fifty, the sixth of his Test career.

Australia's lead - currently 86 runs - is nudging towards 100, with Steve Smith and Travis Head scoring the runs at a good clip as well. Australia's rate of scoring - 3.25 runs per over this morning - has to be a worry for England, which has to bat last on a deteriorating albeit still a pretty benign pitch. Smith and Head have now added 101 runs for the fourth wicket, Australia moves to 176 for three after 47 overs.

Second fifty for Steve Smith in as many innings and this has been a terrific knock from the former skipper in trying circumstances. One would imagine that Smith's the final line of defence for Australia here. England know that. Smith knows that. He has moved to 55. Can the right-hander convert this into yet another 100? An engaging hour of play ahead. Meanwhile, the partnership between Smith and Head is 65 off 114 balls. AUS 140/3 after 37 overs.

UPDATE: England will be without James Anderson, who is struggling with a tight calf, in the field for the remainder of Australia's second innings.

Smith and Head resume action. Moeen Ali to start proceedings with the ball. An eventful first over comes to an end. It had everything: from one that kept low to a, well, very high full toss which Smith missed. AUS 129/3 after 32 overs.

Steve Smith, the centurion from Australia's first innings, and Travis Head had added 49 runs for the fourth wicket to take Australia to 124 for three at stumps on Day 3 of the first Ashes Test. The visitor holds a 34-run lead with two days left in the Test.

- STUMPS! Bad light has forced a premature end to the third day's play. Steve Smith and Travis Head are Australia's overnight batsmen, batting on 46 and 21 respectively, while taking the lead to 34 runs. Join us tomorrow for what should be another exciting day's Test cricket.

Key Facts

-    Burns had a first-innings average of 15 prior to the meeting at Edgbaston.
-    Adam Lyth's century against New Zealand in 2015 was the last time an England opener not named Alastair Cook reached three figures on home soil.
-    England have recorded successive second-wicket century partnerships.
-    Only three England batsmen have posted 150 in an Ashes Test at Edgbaston (David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Ted Dexter).

More Umpiring Errors

While Australia's decision not to review when Lyon's lbw appeal against Burns proved the wrong one, the initial call from the umpire was incorrect too.

After a string of errors from the officials on day one, Root twice overturning their decisions on Friday showed there is still room for improvement.


Ashes 2019: Ponting calls for cricket to ditch neutral umpires

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting Saturday called for cricket to ditch its requirement to have neutral umpires after a number of incorrect decisions in the ongoing first Test of the Ashes series in England.

Aleem Dar of Pakistan and West Indian Joel Wilson have drawn criticism after a number of their calls were overturned by the review system during the opening days at Edgbaston.

Ponting, who is part of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) influential Cricket Committee, said he would ensure the matter is discussed at their next meeting.

“It’s already been spoken about a lot among the players. If it’s not brought up (at that next MCC meeting), I’ll make sure it’s added to the agenda,” he told the Cricket Australia website.

“I would like to think the game has come far enough now for the game to not have neutral umpires.

“People might say that with all the technology we’ve got now, it doesn’t matter that much. But it’s not a good spectacle when pretty obviously wrong decisions are made,” he added.

“There’s been a lot of negativity about the DRS (Decision Review System) over the years, but we’re pretty lucky that we had it (at Edgbaston).”


England pacer Mark Wood out for the season

England fast bowler Mark Wood will play no part in the ongoing Ashes series after suffering a left knee injury while helping his country win the World Cup last month.

The Durham quick helped tournament hosts England win the World Cup for the first time, taking 18 wickets at an average of 25.72.

Wood was not included in England’s team for the first Test at Edgbaston currently in progress and was already set to miss the Ashes matches at Lord’s and Headingley because of a left side strain he sustained during a World Cup final win over New Zealand.

England announced on Friday that Wood had been struggling with a knee problem as well as a long-standing ankle injury.


Numbers and names on shirts look ridiculous in Test cricket, says Brett Lee

Former Australian pacer Brett Lee doesn’t mind the ICC exploring ways to popularise Test cricket but says it’s “ridiculous” to see players wearing names and numbers on their white flannels.

Lee’s critical opinion comes a day after Adam Gilchrist, the 42-year-old’s former teammate, called the latest innovation “rubbish“.

Earlier this year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) allowed Test-playing nations to have the players sport their names and numbers on their jerseys.

While the move found many takers, a few did not seem convinced.

“For what it’s worth I’m strongly against the players numbers & names appearing on the back of test cricket shirts! I think it looks ridiculous. @ICC I love the changes you’ve made to cricket in general, but on this occasion you’ve got it wrong,” Lee tweeted.