Ashes 2017-18, 4th Test: Steve Smith’s ton frustrates England as Boxing Day Test ends in draw

Melbourne: Australia skipper Steve Smith frustrated England bowlers with yet another blistering century as the fourth Ashes Test ended in a draw for the Joe Root-led side here on the fifth day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. Resuming at yesterday’s score of 103-2, Smith brought up his 23rd Test century to bat out a draw for Australia in the last day of the fourth Ashes Test and preserve the hosts’ 3-0 lead in the five-match series over England.

Smith notched up an unbeaten knock of 102 runs off 275 balls, including six boundaries, to help Australia declare their second innings at 263 for four and take a lead of 99 runs before the captains of the two sides agreed to end the match midway through the final session.

The Australian skipper was well supported by David Warner, who pulled back an 86-run knock in the second innings to add to his first innings blistering knock of 103 runs. Along with Smith, Mitchell Marsh also remained unbeaten, his knock of 29 off 166 deliveries kept England well away from the tail.

Though James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Joe Root chipped in with a wicket each for England, they had to struggle hard to break a huge 107-run stand between Smith and Warner. Earlier, opener Alastair Cook smashed a scorching knock of 244 while Joe Root and Broad contributed 61 and 56, respectively to guide England to a huge total of 491 runs in reply to Australia’s first-inning score of 327.

The two sides will now take on each other in an inconsequential final Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), beginning January 4.

Scoreboard on day five in the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England in Melbourne on Saturday:

Australia first innings 327 (D. Warner 103, S. Smith 76; S. Broad 4-51)

England first innings 491 (A. Cook 244 not out, J. Root 61; P. Cummins 4-117)

Australia second innings (overnight 2-103)
C. Bancroft b Woakes 27
D. Warner c Vince b Root 86
U. Khawaja c Bairstow b Anderson 11
S. Smith not out 102
S. Marsh c Bairstow b Broad 4

M. Marsh not out 29

Extras (b4) 4

Total (4 wickets; 124.2 overs) 263

Fall of wickets: 1-51 (Bancroft), 2-65 (Khawaja), 3-172 (Warner), 4-178 (S. Marsh)

Bowling: Anderson 30-12-46-1, Broad 24-11-44-1, Woakes 26-7-62-1, Curran 20-6-53-0, Ali 13.2-2-32-0, Malan 8-1-21-0, Root 3-2-1-1.

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