Fourth ash test: Smith in control while Australia finishes wet the first day in 170/3

MANCHESTER (England): Steve Smith He continued his outstanding form of ashes, reaching 60 undefeated when Australia recovered from another failure of its openers to reach 170/3 at the close of the first day affected by the rain of the fourth Test against England at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The rain caused a delay of more than two hours after lunch, but plans to extend the game to recover lost time were abandoned after the rain came back during the tea break.

However, the afternoon delay did little to interrupt Smith, who returned from missing the last test due to a concussion, made his eighth consecutive ash half a century.

The series is tied at 1-1 with two remaining Tests and the victory for the Australians would ensure that they kept the urn.

Smith and Marnus Labuschagne He put 116 for the third wicket before the latter was shot down by a beautiful installment of Craig Overton by 67.

It was a much-needed position after England, at the top after its remarkable return victory at Headingley, made a great start, putting its fans on their feet with only the fourth ball of the day.

Stuart Broad claimed David Warner's wicket for the fifth time in this series with the left-hander caught while making a late decision to leave the ball but gave a thin outer edge to Jonny Bairstow .

Australia was 28/2 when Broad hit Marcus Harris's pads and, after some consideration, referee Kumar Dharmasena lifted his finger and his verdict was confirmed by the video review.

The Australian starters have averaged 15.14, not since 1888 their two best contributed less during a series of Ashes.

Harris's departure caused Smith to return to the fold after 38 minutes of play, as the world's number one hitter had missed the previous test due to a concussion as a result of a Jofra Archer goalkeeper.

To the delight of the crowd, Archer had the ball in his hand and it took him three deliveries to try another gorilla.

But with England sensing a chance to eat into the Aussie middle order before lunch, Smith and Labuschagne quickly settled and set about upping the run-rate.

Labuschagne, held in the side after replacing Smith as a substitute for the second entry in Lord's and Headingley, went on to his fourth consecutive half century.

Ominously for England, Smith, who has two centuries and a 92 in his name in the series, seemed to have never been out, as he calmly dealt with Joe Root's attack.

He pulled out his fifties, generously driving Ben Stokes by four through the hedge, but Manchester's weather outlook for a third ton in this series will have to wait until Thursday.

Travis Head was undefeated on the 18th at the close.

Australian captain Tim Paine had won the draw and chose to hit with the fast bowler Mitchell Starc, given his first appearance in the series after replacing Peter Siddle.