The fourth Ashes Test’s Day 1 was dampened by torrential rains and heavy winds in Old Trafford, Manchester, with just 44 overs completed. Steve Smith teamed up with Marnus Labuschagne to recuse Australia after the England team’s Stuart Broad had blown the visitors’ chances during the morning session with powerful bowling strategies.
The hosts had lost the toss and were fielding for the start of the game. David Warner suffered the duck at just the second ball from Broad, marking a good start for the England team in the opening over. The left-handed batsman summoned a short-lived confidence at Headingley, failing miserably with his approach especially against Broad. He was dismissed for the fifth time during the series by the hostile deliveries.
The fast bowler also dismissed Marcus Harris on 13 as he tried the shuffle movement. The southpaw reviewed the decision; however, it was a clean dismissal at the end as the ball had clearly struck the wicket. The Aussies stood at a weak 28-2 and the partnership between Smith and Labuschagne was getting stronger. Labuschagne had seemed to be channelling his strength from the last match as he diverted the English deliveries effortlessly, reversing the game dynamics as he charged on.
Smith had re-joined the matches after he missed the Test in Leeds due to his concussion mishap. He covered an epic drive against Jofra Archer’s aggressive bowling. The legendary batsman made several impressive swings and strikes for a refreshing change in the game, scoring runs across the pitch as confusion and fear engulfed the English team.
The productive duo did not allow the rain or the opponents to wreak further havoc and steered the team towards clarity with an amazing 100-run partnership. The junior claimed his fourth half-century, following the break, within the empty square-leg space. All-rounder Craig Overton hindered Labuschagne’s century goal with his impactful delivery that blazed its trail on the way to hit the wicket. Labuschagne was out fair and square, which was a heavy loss for the team.
Labuschagne had been dismissed unfortunately at a score of 67 runs, almost nearing the elusive hundred. On the upside though, Smith and Labuschagne’s effective synergy during the match had prevented the English bowlers from wreaking any further havoc for Australians. Their combined efforts had successfully led to a glittering 100 score as a result of a great partnership.