In favorable bowling conditions, England captain Ben Stokes chose to field after winning the toss, hoping to make early breakthroughs and level the series.
However, David Warner and Usman Khawaja managed to build a resilient opening partnership of 73 runs, benefiting from some moments of fortune.Although Josh Tongue eventually dismissed both batters, Marnus Labuschagne contributed with 47 runs, while Travis Head played a rapid innings of 77, putting Australia in a commanding position.
England captain Joe Root provided a glimmer of hope by taking the wickets of Head and Cameron Green in the same over, giving England a late boost. Nevertheless, it was undeniably Australia’s day.
The match encountered a disruption after one over when two Just Stop Oil protesters ran onto the pitch, spraying orange powder on the outfield.
However, Warner and Khawaja remained focused and unperturbed. They successfully negotiated testing spells from James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Following a brief rain delay, Warner reached his fifty with a six off Tongue before Khawaja was bowled by the same bowler for 17, just before lunch.
Each batter was dropped in the slips, Khawaja offering a very difficult chance to Root and Warner a sharp one to Ollie Pope.
Warner lived dangerously after lunch too, particularly against Tongue who continued his impressive spell by bowling the left-hander through the gate for 66 with a fine swinging delivery to reduce Australia to 96-2.
Just Stop Oil protesters halt second Ashes Test at Lord’s
Smith emerged from the pavilion to a chorus of boos but he settled down quickly and silenced the crowd with two sumptuous drives off Broad to the cover boundary.
Broad almost exacted swift revenge when Smith was given out caught by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow in the same over for 24 but the batsman reviewed and the decision was overturned.
Labuschagne started slowly before finding his rhythm with three fours off one Broad over and when Stokes brought himself on to bowl the Australian right-hander stroked him to the boundary three times.
Broad thought he had trapped Labuschagne lbw, the umpire raising his finger before the batsman was reprieved, but the Australian departed shortly after tea, feathering a catch to Bairstow off Ollie Robinson.
Head joined Smith and accelerated the scoring rate as the England bowlers tired in the final session.
Smith passed fifty and Head reached his half-century off only 48 balls, the pair peppering the boundary rope all around the ground.
Head was stumped off Root by Bairstow after scoring 77 off 73 balls and three deliveries later Cameron Green aimed an ugly swipe at the spinner to give Anderson a simple catch at mid-off.
It was a positive end to a poor day for England in which Stokes looked short of ideas and used few of the innovative field settings which have been a feature of his captaincy.
He bowled only three overs and England’s hopes of winning back the Ashes are fading after six days of the series.
(With inputs from Reuters)