Steve Smith double century puts Australia in command of fourth Test at Old Trafford.

England then lost Joe Denly, a makeshift opener after swapping places with the struggling Jason Roy, for four when he was brilliantly caught at the second attempt by Matthew Wade at short leg following a genuine glance off Pat Cummins.

Australia’s Steve Smith took his run-spree this Ashes to a new level as he scored a superb double century on the second day of the fourth Test against England at Old Trafford on Thursday. Smith’s 211 was the cornerstone of Australia’s commanding 497/8 declared. England then lost Joe Denly, a makeshift opener after swapping places with the struggling Jason Roy, for four when he was brilliantly caught at the second attempt by Matthew Wade at short leg following a genuine glance off Pat Cummins.

England were 23-1 at stumps, 474 runs behind, with Rory Burns 15 not out and nightwatchman Craig Overton unbeaten on three.

They now face an uphill task to deny Australia a win that would see the holders retain the Ashes at 2-1 up with one to play in a five-match series.

Third century in four innings

Even so, he has now made 589 runs this series — his first since completing a 12-month ball-tampering ban, including three hundreds, at a colossal average of 147.25.

This innings followed his scores of 144 and 142 in Australia’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston, with Smith’s lowest total in four knocks this series the 92 he made at Lord’s.

Cricket – Ashes 2019 – Fourth Test – England v Australia – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – September 5, 2019 Australia’s Steve Smith celebrates reaching 200 runs Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine – RC11CDED0B80

The 30-year-old former Australia captain was, however, dropped on 65 on Thursday when fast bowler Archer failed to hold a caught and bowled chance off a hard-hit full toss.

Smith was also reprieved on 118 when caught by Ben Stokes at slip off Jack Leach only for replays to reveal the left-arm spinner had bowled just the eighth no-ball of his first-class career.

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