The Ashes series – Test cricket’s ultimate showdown – heads into the second encounter at Lord’s, with England desperate to bounce back from a heavy loss to Australia in the opener.
20:00 (AEST), Wed 14th Aug @ Lord’s, London
History: Played 347: Australia 145 V England 108 (94 Draws)
Last meeting: August 1-5, 2019: Australia d England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Final Thoughts: Australia have turned up the smouldering Ashes heat on England with a stunning comeback victory in the first Test. The bitter rivals now head to London for a mouth-watering showdown.
Steve Smith – playing in his first Test in almost 18 months – was the undisputed hero at Edgbaston.
With Australia reeling in the first innings, Smith scored a heroic 144 in a total of 284. England built a 90-run lead courtesy of opener Rory Burns’ 133. Smith (142) and Matthew Wade (110) then flipped the Test on its head by leading Australia to 7/487 declared in the second dig. England crumbled to just 146 all out – 251 runs shy of the target – on the final day, with Nathan Lyon (6/49) and Pat Cummins (4/32) unstoppable.
Lyon and Cummins also took three wickets in England’s first innings. Stuart Broad’s five-for in Australia’s first innings was England’s most notable bowling performance, but it’s their batsman who will be in the spotlight ahead of the second Test.
No.9 Chris Woakes (37) was the top scorer in the hosts’ dismal second innings. Jason Roy and Joe Denly failed to fire, while Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali produced two single-figure scores. Meanwhile, Aussie openers Cameron Bancroft (8 and 7) and David Warner (2 and 8) will be eager for runs after twin failures at Edgbaston.
Pace spearhead James Anderson’s early injury in the first Test contributed to England’s heavy loss and young speedster Jofra Archer’s impending Test debut will dominate the build-up to Lord’s. Australian coach Justin Langer is reportedly considering recalling Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to combat a flat Lord’s pitch, despite the fine displays of James Pattinson and Peter Siddle in the first Test.
Aussies thrive at Lord’s
Australia’s first Test triumph was the first Ashes series-0pening win by the touring nation since 2005. England has not been down 2-0 in a home Ashes series since 2001. They are also now on a six-Test winless streak against Australia, following their 4-0 series defeat Down Under in 2017-18.
England have won five of the last eight Ashes series, including the last four on home soil. They prevailed 3-2 in 2015 and have won 10 of the last 21 home Tests against Australia, with six drawn.
Australia boast an outstanding record at Lord’s. England ended an Ashes drought at the hallowed venue of 75 years with wins in 2009 and 2013. But Australia racked up a punishing 405-run second-Test win in 2015, with Smith (215 and 58) man-of-the-match.
The bat-friendly pitch and forecast rain over the next five days has promoted the draw into $1.80 favouritism.
Despite being backed into a rarely-seen $2.75, the incomparable Steve Smith still looks outstanding value to lead Australia’s charge with the bat. He was a class above at Edgbaston and seems destined to dominate the 2019 Ashes.