England fans' taunts at 'sandpaper gate' boo boys left flat as Steve Smith scores superb century on day one of the Ashes
Public Enemy number one Steve Smith, part of the notorious "sandpaper trio", has struck back with a superb century in his return to Test cricket.
The Australian team were met with boos as David Warner, Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith were reunited for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal that sent the team into disrepute.
But Smith defied the jeers and boos as he rescued his team from another poor batting performance on day one of the 71st Ashes at Edgbaston.
The former captain finished up on 144, giving the day its highlight when the ball flew for four and saw him reach triple figures for the 24th time in Test cricket.
He dragged the Aussies from 122-8 to 284 all out, with England surviving two overs to close on 10-0 to delight cricket fans.
The 137-year-old cricketing rivalry between England and Australia reached its peak on Thursday on the first day of the 2019 Ashes.
English cricket fans were more than happy to make their feelings known, and when Warner was out, his departure led to an increased amount of boos and chants of "cheerio" around the ground, while fans in the Hollies Stand waved around pieces of sandpaper.
England came to the game as World Cup winners.
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Some English fans even donned paper masks of the famous moment Warner broke down in tears as he apologised for ball-tampering at a press conference.
UK satirical website The Poke tweeted a picture of DIY store B& Q with the caption: "Warner, Bancroft and Smith just doing their last minute preparations"
North west decorator business also joined in on the banter, tweeting a picture of rolls of sandpaper alongside a sign stating: "As used by the Australian cricket team!"
However, not everyone was impressed by the English fans' antics.
Australian cricketer Brad Hogg tweeted a message of support to the sandpaper trio: "THERE BACK!
"Good luck to @davidwarner31 , @stevesmith49 & @cbancroft4 who was always going to be in.
"Who ever gives these three a Boo or two is making a big Boo Boo."
Despite all the jeering, Steve Smith managed a stunning 144 runs in the first Test-match.
Another Twitter user commented: "I don’t understand this idea of booing or mocking the players who have already accepted their mistake, who have faced the punishment for it.
"Yes, they are humans. An error was made and high time people get over it, I guess."
Australian supporters were snapped with a flag featuring a poem of support for the returning trio.
The poem asks England fans to "stop the booing" as the trio had already showed "remorse and shame for pain inflicted on family and the cricketing name."
Soon after Warner's walk, Stuart Broad then snared an edge from Bancroft, caught in the slips, leaving Australia on 17 for two, bringing Smith to the crease, to a similar level of jeering.
England Cricket sent a celebratory tweet, stating: "What a start @StuartBroad8!!"
England batsman Ravi Bopara tweeted his praise for teammate Broad.
He posted: "Go on @StuartBroad8 love how people questioned if he makes the team. Class is permanent."
Australia currently holds the Ashes, the urn traditionally awarded to the winner of cricket's oldest regular international series.
England goes into the first of five tests after winning the World Cup in July and hasn't lost an Ashes series on home soil since 2001.
Australia have not won at Edgbaston since the 2001 Ashes.
For the first time in test history, names and numbers will be on the back of all players' shirts.