Australia have claimed the first Test of the 2019 Ashes Series at Edgbaston after a 251 run win over England.
The stand out performer across the five days of cricket in Birmingham was Australian batsman Steve Smith who hit 144 runs in the first innings and followed it up with 142 runs in the second. Speaking about the first century, Smith said it was one of his best.
The 30-year-old was banned from international and domestic in March 2018 following an investigation launched by Cricket Australia into ball-tampering during a test series with South Africa. Smith was found to have brought the sport into disrepute.
Speaking after the win over England, Smith said to Sky, "It's special to play an Ashes series in England. The boys turned up and played good cricket. We were in a good position overnight and we know how much of a world-class spinner Gazza is.
"To go 1-0 up in the series is a big boost. I am grateful to be back playing, doing what I love, scoring runs and contributing. It's been a long 18 months and my friends and family have helped me through some difficult times."
Australian captain Tim Paine was delighted with the 251 run-win. "We were up against it earlier in the Test match but when you've got the best player in the world at the crease anything is possible," said the Australian skipper. "I think he is probably the best Test batsman we have ever seen," he continued speaking about Steve Smith.
"I then thought we were excellent in the second innings with bat and ball. Lyon rarely disappoints - it is hard when the pressure is on you but he was superb, as were all our bowlers. All four of them were sensational."
England now have over a week to reflect on the loss. England captain Joe Root said it was a tough loss to take, "it does hurt - it is bitterly disappointing, We played some really good cricket throughout the majority of the Test match but credit to Australia who fought back really well.
"Smith played two brilliant innings but it was always going to be hard losing Anderson, these things happen in cricket. It was a group decision in selecting him and it was just a freak thing."
The second Ashes Test begins at Lord's on August 14th.
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