The Ashes Round-up: Smith ton sees England settle for draw
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.
MOMENT OF THE DAY
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.
SYDNEY SOLACE FOR ENGLAND?
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.