Ashes 2019: Steve Smith says England's tactics played into his hands at Old Trafford

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Ashes highlights: Steve Smith scores double ton as Australia dominate
Men's Ashes: England v Australia, fourth Specsavers Test (day two of five)
Australia 497-8 dec: Smith 211, Labuschagne 67, Paine 58, Starc 54*
England 23-1
England trail by 474 runs

Australia batsman Steve Smith says England's tactics played into his hands after his double century gave his side control of the fourth Ashes Test.

Smith hit a sublime 211 at Old Trafford in his first innings back after missing the third Test because of concussion.

The tourists declared on 497-8, with England reaching 23-1 at the close, trailing by 474.

"I've faced a lot short-pitched bowling in my life and haven't had many issues with it," said Smith.

"For England to be bowling up at my head on day two means they can't get me lbw or caught behind.

"It softens the ball up as well so it played into our hands and enabled us to score some big first innings runs."

Smith sustained a delayed concussion after being struck in the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Test at Lord's.

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He said that while Lord's was a tough wicket to face short, quick bowling on, the same approach on this pitch at Old Trafford "played into our favour".

"When Stuart Broad came on with the second new ball, he bowled some really nice lengths and beat my bat on the outside a couple of times," Smith added.

"He was quite challenging when he hit that length but for them to go as short as they did as early as they did with the new ball played into our hands."

After resuming on 60, Smith made a jittery start on day two and was dropped on 65 before he was dismissed off a Jack Leach no-ball on 118.

Smith said he "lost a bit of concentration" when Leach came on and needed "some luck" to go on and record his third Test double century, all of which have come against England.

"I was in a bit of a hurry for 20 minutes but after I got caught off the no-ball I switched myself back on," he said.

"It's satisfying to get a big score - I was disappointed to miss the third Test but it gave me time to recover and it's great to score some runs and put ourselves in a great position."

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England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow said his side just have to give credit to a "bloody good" batsman.

"He is in some serious form, he has had a lay off and has come back with the bit between his teeth to score as many as he can," Bairstow told Test Match Special.

"On another day he is out a bit earlier - he played and missed a fair amount today which he hasn't done so far in this series but fair play to him he played well."

Bairstow added England will just "suck up" those missed chances to dismiss Smith earlier and aim to "bat long" on day three as they try to avoid a defeat that will see Australia retain the Ashes.

"If we can get each individual mindset in the right frame of mind then we will be able to occupy the crease for a long period," he said.

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