“I’m over the moon. I’m really grateful to be back playing Test cricket”
Last Updated: 04/08/19 9:52pm
Steve Smith says it feels like “Christmas morning every morning” after scoring twin centuries in his first Test since the ball-tampering scandal.
The Australian has hit 144 and 142 at Edgbaston in what he called a “dream comeback” to leave England needing to bat out the final day in order to salvage a draw in the Ashes opener.
“I’ve never doubted my ability but it was kind of a dream comeback, to be able to score two hundreds in a match in the first Ashes Test,” Smith said. “It’s something I’ve never done in any form of cricket before in my life.
“It’s incredibly special – and special to be able to put us in the position that we’re in now. I’m over the moon and it’s what dreams are made of.”
Smith had earlier told Sky Sports Cricket’s Ian Ward: “It feels like Christmas morning every morning getting to come and do this. I’m really grateful to be back playing Test cricket.
“I was a little bit nervous coming into the first day. Normally I don’t get too nervous before a game and it was nice to get that hundred away in the first innings.”
Matthew Wade also completed a century – his first in Tests in over six years – in Australia’s second innings, before captain Tim Paine declared with his team on 487-7 and leading by 397.
England vs Australia
August 5, 2019, 10:00am
“I probably never thought I’d be back at this level. To get an opportunity to play the first Test of an Ashes, I’m pretty grateful to be here,” said Wade, who made 110 from 143 deliveries.
“It’s daunting, to be honest [batting with Smith]. Sometimes he makes it look way too easy and it hurts.
“He said to me at breakfast he’d never scored a hundred in both innings of a Test match and I thought then we were going to be in for something special.”
England closed day four on 13-0, with Rory Burns (7no) and Jason Roy (6no) at the crease.
On the home side’s bid to earn a draw, batting coach Graham Thorpe said: “Whatever happens during the course of the day we hope the team can show character and skill.
“We are going to need a lot of that because we know it will be a challenge. It is a fifth-day pitch and they have a very good spinner [Nathan Lyon] in their attack.
Hussain: England must find balance
England’s batsmen cannot just block as they try to bat out for a draw in the opening Ashes Test, says Nasser Hussain.
“We have to have the belief we can do it throughout the course of the day.
“[Jimmy Anderson] could still have a role to play [with the bat]. We hope it does not get down to that but it has already been a summer of twists and turns for us as a nation, so who knows?
Watch day five of the first Ashes Test from 10am on Monday on Sky Sports The Ashes (channel 404) and Main Event (401). Click here to upgrade now.
Source : Sky Sports