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Smith happy as Aussie bowlers save their best to last

By David Clough

Australia batsman Steve Smith hailed his bowlers' best performance of the Ashes series so far, as England ended a disappointing day two of the fifth Test firmly in the back seat.

The hosts are still 374 behind Australia's first innings of 481 all out - thanks to Smith's 143 - as Mitchell Marsh (three for 18), Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle reduced them to 107 for eight at The Oval.

Only a front-foot no-ball from Marsh prevented wicket number nine for Australia and number four for the paceman, Mark Wood the survivor to remain not out on eight alongside Moeen Ali on the same score.

Although Australia have lost the Ashes, Smith said: "It was a very good day. It was nice to get 481 on board.

"The bowlers today, it's the best we've bowled all series.

"They created a lot of pressure, made them earn their runs and picked up wickets - it speaks for itself.

"We didn't over-attack too much. We put the ball in the right spot.

"There's enough in the wicket and we made the batters earn their runs.

"We haven't done it too much in this series. I thought we did that well today."

Smith's 11th Test century underlined why he has been chosen to succeed Michael Clarke as Australia captain following the Ashes.

In this series so far, Smith has embodied Australia's fluctuating fortunes. He made an imperious 215 in the victory at Lord's, but contributed four single-figure scores as Australia surrendered the Ashes in the successive three-day defeats at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge.

Here he was back to his belligerent best, cutting and pulling regular boundaries against an England attack struggling to find consistent lines.

England pace bowler Steven Finn admitted there was plenty of work to do to get anything out of the Test match, saying: "We're disappointed. We've had a very very poor day.

"Australia, credit to them, batted very well and then showed us how to bowl on this pitch. We've had a poor day, but we'll come back tomorrow and fight as hard as we can.

"It's a good wicket. Australia's bowlers got a lot more out of it banging it on a very good length and harder than we did. We hold our hands up."

Belfast Telegraph


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