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Smith, Marsh frustrate England at MCG

199   //    30 Dec 2017, 09:48 IST
SteveSmith - Cropped
Australia captain Steve Smith

Steve Smith continued to frustrate England as Australia took a huge step towards saving the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne on Saturday.

Smith pushed his way to 87 not out at tea on day five at the MCG as the hosts moved onto 225-4, a lead of 61 runs.

England were unable to make a breakthrough during the second session after striking twice in the first to boost their chances of victory.

Mitchell Marsh (10) joined Smith at the crease, surviving 97 balls as Australia – who hold a 3-0 series lead – closed in on drawing the Test.

A lifeless MCG pitch did England, who have used seven bowlers in the second innings, no favours.

There was some reverse swing before the tourists took the second new ball, but Australia had few problems on a slow wicket showing few signs of deterioration.

Smith is nearing a 23rd Test century as he continued his fine form, albeit in different style to his usual free-flowing efforts.

The Australia captain has hit just five fours and faced 228 balls, looking on track to deny England a first win of the series.

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