Australia's Steve Smith makes an impressive comeback

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Australia's Steve Smith makes an impressive comeback

ISLAMABAD - Steve Smith marked his return to the international cricket in imperious fashion with a third hundred of the Ashes series on Thursday as Australia put themselves in a dominant position in the fourth Test.

Smith was 173 not out in Australia's commanding 369-5 at tea on the second day of the match against England at Old Trafford.

It was his highest score of a series during which Smith's lowest total in four innings is 92. This was also the eighth time he had passed 150 in a Test and the third instance against England, although he was reprieved twice on Thursday.

Smith and Tim Paine (58 not out), his successor as Australia captain, have now put on an unbeaten 145 for the sixth wicket,with the tourists going through the second session without losing a wicket.

Despite England's dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley in Smith's absence to square the five-match series at 1-1, the top-order problems that saw them dismissed for just 67 in the first innings in Leeds remain intact.

With Australia left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc looking to make a mark in his first Test of the series, England faced a tough task just to get back on level terms in Manchester. -APP/AFP