Steve Smith on Thursday announced his comeback to the Test cricket in style with his 24th Test hundred in the opening game of the Ashes 2019 against England which changed the course of the game for Australia.

The former Australian captain was playing his first match at this level after the nasty ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year and completion of the 12-month ban from cricket.

Australia was struggling at 17-2 when Smith entered the ground to bat after Tim Paine won the toss and took the decision to bat first. They were in desperate straits in Birmingham at 122-8 but their last two wickets more than doubled the score before Smith was the last man out for 144 in a total of 284 runs.

Smith found a capable ally in number 10, Peter Siddle, frustrating England and silencing the crowd who booed him to the crease.

Smith who was at the time 85,  was joined by the last man standing Nathan Lyon, drove Ben Stokes by four to reach his 24th Test Century, then cut loose to punish the weary bowlers and dragged the tourists from humiliation to halt England’s charge on the opening day of the Ashes.