An extraordinary lucky break has helped England on the second morning of the First Test at Edgbaston, with a James Pattinson delivery hitting Joe Root’s off stump but failing to dislodge the bails.
Root had been given out caught behind in the 21st over when on nine runs and with England on 1-53.
He immediately had the decision reviewed and was adjudged not out when it became clear the bal had not hit the bat, but the stumps, visibly moving the bails, but failing to dislodge them.
Pattinson was left ruing his bad luck, having earlier removed opener Jason Roy for 10 when he had him caught at second slip by Steve Smith. England were then 1-22 in the seventh over.
The hosts went to lunch at 1-71, with Rory Burns on 41 and Root on 11, trailing Australia by 213.
Smith said before play that he believes the First Test is evenly poised, with England resuming at 0-10 and chasing Australia’s 284.
Smith told Channel Nine it had been hard to bat on Thursday’s opening day. Smith’s fighting innings of 144 kept his side in the contest, and he predicted the key was to get wickets with the new ball.
“I think it is pretty even at the moment. I think we are going to have to make good use of the new ball,” he told Mark Taylor.
“I thought around the 50-over mark yesterday, the ball started to get a little bit softer and things got a little bit softer and things got a little bit easier. But up until then, it was really hard work.
“If you bowl good areas and hit the top of the stumps consistently and make the batsmen play, challenge their defences, that’s going to be really key for us.
Smith said his big innings helped him overcome the nightmare of the ball-tampering scandal.
“Oh, it meant a lot – obviously being out of the game for a while and just
keen to get back playing Test cricket and trying to, I guess, take off where I left off, and, yeah, yesterday was probably one of my best, if not my best knocks, I think.
“Under pressure, and I know how important the first Ashes Test is. So, to be able to claw things back and get ourselves in a somewhat reasonable position, yeah, really proud and happy.
Smith said he had worked hard ahead of the First Test to be at his best.
“I had some really long hits in the nets before this game, every day leading up, and I told the coaches, I said ‘just keep me going, I’ll get better and better’.
“At the start of the week, I felt really awful. I couldn’t find my hands and my feet weren’t moving well and each day I got better and better, and before the game, the day before, I said ‘I’m back’. I’m ready to go!
“Yesterday things worked out for me and I was able to get us in a good position.”
Smith also admitted hitting his century was something he would always cherish..
“As soon as I hit it, I saw Stuart Broad reaching across and when it went past him, I had a tingling in my spine and all the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
“It was like I was scoring my first 100 again. It was really special.”