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Five-for: Smith saves Australia after Bell ton Published: 18 July 2013

Five-for: Smith saves Australia after Bell ton

Lords.org looks back at the headlines from a topsy-turvy first day of the second Investec Ashes Series Test Match at the Home of Cricket.

Full scorecard & day one blog

Belly's Ashes?

Is that how we'll remember this series in years to come? In his 90th Test appearance (yes, really), the England number five made his 19th Test century, second of this series and third in successive Ashes Tests - equalling the record held by Chris Broad and Wally Hammond.

Bell doesn't play bad innings, only knocks where he doesn't get as many runs, and this was the Warwickshire batsman at his graceful best - a sliky mesh of checked straight-drives, crisp back-foot pats and cut shots so late they were practically robbed from Brad Haddin's gloves.

But what is different about these last two centuries is their context. In the past Bell was accused of being a flat-track bully; only scoring heavily in favourable conditions or once his teammates had done the hard work.

Today - as at Trent Bridge - he saved England from a dangerous position, wobbling at 28/3. Belly's Ashes? It's never to soon to speculate...

Part-time or the next Shane?

Casual followers of Steve Smith's career can be forgiven a touch of confusion about what kind of cricketer he is. After debuting as a bowling all-rounder, Smith has morphed into a batsman who bowls rarely over the last couple of years.

But leg-spin takes a long time to perfect, and Smith has clearly not abandoned the art completely. Thrown the old ball as what looked like a last option by Michael Clarke, he bowled with good control and extracted sharp spin - albeit with the aid of the slope - in a momentum changing spell of 3/18.

His delivery to dismiss Bell was almost perfect - a dipping, turning, bouncing leg-break, which took the edge on its way to the captain Clarke at slip.

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Narrow margins

How different the day might have been had Umpire Dharmasena not opted to take another look at Peter Siddle's dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, who once again played across a full delivery and had his stumps rattled.

After a few minutes of debate Bairstow, then on 21 and with England (and his place in the side) teetering, he was reinstated and went on to make a crucial 67.

Photo of the day

Matt Bright captures Her Majesty The Queen enjoying her day out at Lord's as she's introduced to England's captain.

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The day tomorrow

Australia will probably take the honours from the opening skirmishes on a sandwich kind of day - Bell and Bairstow's partnership a meaty filling between two Antipodean flavoured slices of bread.

But Graeme Swann will have watched the turn - and bounce - Smith managed to extract from this day one pitch with eagar eyes, particularly with the prospect of bowling last.

We could be in for another classic.


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