Australia’s star batsman Steve Smith looked like he had never been away as he impressed on his return to the side on the first day of the fourth Ashes test on Wednesday, September 4th. The 30-year-old hit 60 not out in a stumps total of 170-3 before rain halted the play.
It was Smith’s eighth successive half century against the World Champions as the Aussie star continues to extend his record and remain a thorn in England’s side.
Marnus Labuschagne also got over a half century for the fourth consecutive time against England as he managed to score 67. AFP reported that the 25-year-old spoke of his excitement to partner Smith in the upcoming games.
"It was good to spend some time; obviously I haven't batted with him before," Labuschagne told reporters of his partnership with Smith.
"I love talking to him about the game and learning off him; it's a great experience and he's a great player. I'm just taking in as much as I can."
The strong windy conditions made life awkward for England’s bowlers and resulted in the umpires holding up play on numerous occasions. Labuschagne admitted he sympathised with England’s bowlers.
"I've never played a game with no bails," said Labuschagne. "It was almost like they (England) were running into the wind from both ends. I can only assume for a quick bowler it would be quite tough to get rhythm."
England’s dramatic one-wicket victory in the third Ashes test on August 25th tied the series at 1-1. Smith missed the game after receiving a concussion when being hit by a bowl from Jofra Archer in the second test.
The Australians will hope that the return of their star player can inspire them to retain the Ashes title.