Ashes first Test: Pattinson puts faith in ‘fantastic’ Smith to rescue Australia

James Pattinson backed the “fantastic” Steve Smith to rescue Australia once again with the bat in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston.

Former captain Smith has already marked his first Test match since completing a 12-month ban imposed by Cricket Australia for his role in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year with a brilliant century.

His magnificent 144 helped revive Australia from the depths of 122-8 in their first innings to an eventual total of 284.

But Ashes-holders Australia, looking to win their first Test series away to England in 18 years, were again left looking to Smith in their second innings,

The star batsman 46 not out in a total of 124-3 — a lead of 34 runs — at the close of Saturday’s third day.

England’s task was made harder by James Anderson not bowling on Saturday after he managed just four overs in Australia’s first innings before suffering a calf injury.

Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, now appears unlikely to bowl again in this match and fellow paceman Woakes said: “(His absence) is a bit of a blow but at the same time us as a unit have to go out there and try to do the job.”

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