Ashes: Smith on brink of 2nd ton as Aussies extend lead to 141

Birmingham, Aug 4 (IANS) Australia were in the front seat at Lunch on Day 4 of the first Ashes Test at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground with a lead of 141 with six wickets in hand.

Steve Smith is just two runs away from reaching his second century of the match and his 130-run stand with Travis Head (51) meant that England got just one wicket throughout the session.

Australia started the day on 124/3 with a 34-run lead. Smith and Head gave little quarter to the England bowlers as they depended upon the legbreak of Joe Denly to reap dividends. Instead, it was Ben Stokes who got the solitary wicket of Head. Strangely enough, Chris Woakes did not bowl a single over in the first session.

England's only breakthrough came in the 53rd over. Head, who had crossed 50 by then, was tricked into slashing a slow ball by Stokes and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow did well to hold on to the ball that was dipping as it came towards him.

Had England been able to capitalise on that wicket, they would have held the cards at the end of the first session but Matthew Wade came and, just as Head before him, gave Smith able assistance in the middle. At the end of the first session, Wade was on 15 off 17 balls while Smith was on 98 off 144 deliveries.

Brief scores: 1st innings: Australia 284 all out (Steve Smith 144, Broad 5/86); England 374 all out (Rory Burns 133, Nathan Lyon 3/112); 2nd innings: Australia 231/4 (Steve Smith 98 not out, Ben Stokes 2/49)

--IANS

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