If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Smith stars before tourists declare
Steve Smith's maiden Test century allowed Australia to put themselves into a commanding position to win the final match in the Investec Ashes series, declaring on 492 for nine late on in the second day.
Play had been delayed by rain during the morning but in tougher conditions than on day one Smith added to his 66 not out overnight score to reach his 100 with a sumptuous six off the bowling of part-timer Jonathan Trott.
He was ably assisted by Peter Siddle, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Ryan Harris, who all reached double figures as England struggled to build-up sustained pressure with their bowling.
27 overs were lost due to the weather with Siddle ticking the score over nicely before falling to a superb James Anderson delivery.
The nightwatchman had done his job with 23 runs in 27 balls but was never going to be able to stop an Anderson special that squared him up and kissed the top of off stump.
Smith continued to score from the other end with Brad Haddin now his partner at the crease.
The century for Smith came off the bowling of Trott, who was given the ball by captain Alistair Cook despite England boasting a five-strong bowling attack.
Smith had played second-fiddle to Shane Watson on Wednesday as the number three helped himself to 176 but the second day belonged to the 24-year-old as he notched up his century with a big six.
Trott did manage to have an impact as he bowled Haddin shortly afterwards with the Australia wicketkeeper playing on to a routine ball for 30 to become his fifth Test wicket.
That brought debutant Faulkner in at number eight and he progressed well as the tourists reached tea on 397 for six.
Faulkner, who had started to play freely after tea, sent Stuart Broad for three fours and added another boundary off Chris Woakes before trying another big shot and being caught by Trott in the deep, becoming Woakes' first Test scalp in the process.
Tellingly, Cook did not give debutant Simon Kerrigan a bowl following his nightmare first day, with fellow spinner Graeme Swann having to wait until almost 5:30pm before bowling his first over of the day.
But he made a breakthrough with just his second ball, bowling Starc for 13 - with England's field placings questionable for much of the evening session as they deployed almost every man on the boundary.
That allowed Smith and new man Harris to continue adding to the score as 80 runs were added in the first 10 overs following tea before the latter finally fell, caught and bowled to Anderson as he lofted a shot in to the air with Australia on 492.
Final man Nathan Lyon made his way to the crease with Anderson on the verge of a five-wicket haul but captain Michael Clarke decided to declare before another ball had been bowled.