The Ashes Round-up: Smith ton sees England settle for draw

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Steve Smith produced yet another splendid innings to deny England victory with his third hundred of the series, as the tourists were left to settle for a draw in the fourth Test.

After rain had frustrated England on day four, they went into the final day at the MCG needing to take eight wickets and then complete a potential run chase to claim a first victory of the series.

Australia, having resumed on 103-2, were briefly troubled when David Warner and Shaun Marsh were dismissed, but a pitch that offered little for the bowlers aided Australia's cause and Smith guided them to 263-4 declared as England at least avoided a series whitewash.


- Warner needed 227 balls for his 86 before captain Joe Root finally gave England hope by tempting him into a slog that he skied to James Vince.

- Shaun Marsh soon followed - caught behind off Stuart Broad - to leave Australia 178-4 with a lead of just 14 at lunch.

- But a lifeless pitch prevented any further inroads being made, Smith taking full advantage to post his 23rd Test hundred and send England to Sydney still without a win.


The obvious man of the series, Smith spanked a short ball through point for a single to bring up his third century of a dominant series, which he celebrated with a richly deserved bow.


- Warner faced 378 balls in this match, his most in Tests (previously 337 vs NZ, Brisbane 2015/16).

- This was the first draw in the Ashes since The Oval 2013.

- This was Smith's eighth century in Tests against England. Only Don Bradman (19), Garfield Sobers (10), Steve Waugh (10) and Greg Chappell (9) have more.


"It's as flat a wicket as you'll ever see. If you played on that for another four days the result would be the same." - Joe Root, speaking to BT Sport, gives a damning verdict of the MCG pitch.

"It was nice to be there at the end and get the boys to a draw. There were only really two results that could happen - we couldn't get enough runs and get in front of the game on this wicket." - Steve Smith offers a more subtle critique of the surface from a batting perspective.


With a whitewash avoided, England will now head to Sydney hoping to give the travelling fans a victory to cheer. The prospect of a Mitchell Starc return on a pitch likely to offer more bounce could hinder those ambitions, however.