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Birmingham: Steve Smith marked his return to Test cricket with a hundred before Australia were bowled out for 284 on the opening day of the Ashes series against England at Edgbaston on Thursday.

The former captain was playing his first match at this level since completing a 12-month ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year. Australia were struggling at 17-2 when Smith walked in to bat after current captain Tim Paine won the toss. And they were in dire straits at 122-8. But their last two wickets more than doubled the score before Smith was last man out for 144 - his 24th Test century.

Stuart Broad, who eventually bowled Smith, led England's attack with 5-86 in an innings in which 37-year-old spearhead James Anderson only managed four overs before leaving the field with a calf injury.

Earlier, Broad and Woakes tore through Australia's batting line-up. England's performance was especially impressive given James Anderson, their all-time leading Test wicket-taker, bowled just four overs before going for a scan on a right calf injury.

Australia struggled to combat the moving ball in English conditions but the true worth of their score will only become apparent when England, shot out for just 85 by Ireland at Lord's last week, bat. Joe Root's buoyant side are looking to round off an already memorable season by completing a World Cup and Ashes double.

Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss for the Ashes holders, looking to win their first Test series away to England in 18 years, and took the bold decision to bat first. A partisan crowd booed the visitors when they walked out for the pre-match anthem ceremony. David Warner and Smith at least knew what to expect, having been given similar rough treatment during the recent World Cup, which saw England beat defending champions Australia in an Edgbaston semi-final.

Dangerous left-handed opener Warner was lbw to Broad for two and did not bother with a review, even though technology suggested the ball would have missed leg stump. As the initial exultant cheers from the crowd at an early wicket died down, Warner was subjected to a prolonged chorus of boos on his walk back to the pavilion, with spectators in the Hollies Stand waving strips of sandpaper and shouting "cheerio".

Fellow opener Cameron Bancroft, who was banned along with Smith and Warner after he applied sandpaper to the ball during a Test in Cape Town last year, hit two boundaries but then edged a fine Broad delivery that bounced and cut away to England captain Root at first slip. The combination of Bancroft departing and Smith walking in to bat prompted the loudest jeers of the morning.

Brief Scores: Australia 284 in 80.4 overs (Steve Smith 144; Stuart Broad 5/86, Chris Woakes 3/58) vs England 10/0 in 2 overs.



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