The second Test at Lord’s ended in an exciting draw as the rain had the final say. England tried hard to force a result but the Aussie batting hung on to get a good draw and go into the third Test still 1-0 up. The hosts would have been extremely happy with the debut of Jofra Archer as he was breathing fire and did make the Australian batting really uncomfortable through the Test.
Steve Smith who once again played brilliantly was hit by a sharp Archer bouncer and had to retire. Even though he did come back, he was ruled out of the rest of the game. Jofra Archer ended with five wickets in the match to cap off a successful debut. For Australia though the batting looks a little suspect after the second Test. Even though Smith has been in great touch, the opening combination of Cameron Bancroft and David Warner isn’t working. Both have struggled to make any meaningful contribution so far and it does seem like Marcus Harris might make a return to the top.
The middle-order spot of Matthew Wade seems to be a little bit of concern but again his hundred in Edgbaston will give him little longer rope than the others in the batting order. Travis Head did play a dogged innings to deny England the victory at Lord’s but he would know that he needs to score big soon.
Marnus Labuschagne who walked in at number four to become the Test crickets first concussion substitute showed amazing skill to score a wonderful 59. He has thrown his name into the hat for selection in the third Test and it will be interesting if Australia does go for him. For England though there were lots of positives. Jack Leach who bowled very little in the Test was brilliant in the second innings taking three wickets. Ben Stokes who scored a brilliant hundred and Jos Buttler who spent some time in the middle would have been a huge boost for the hosts. The concern for England would be the form of captain Joe Root. He hasn’t really come to the party yet but the middle order is finally shaping up to be decent.
The bowling attack has been bolstered by Archer’s addition and it will be interesting to see who makes a way when James Anderson returns. There isn’t much time between the Tests and the third one begins at Headingly in just a couple of days.
Both the teams have a lot to think about and Australia will be sweating on the injury of Steve Smith and will be hoping he will be fine in time. The Aussies also might be thinking of few changes to the batting and there will be a temptation to include Mitchell Starc for the third Test. His pace and swing might be the X-factor the Aussies need to counter the Archer threat from England.
The Lord’s Test was overall a brilliant one with one amazing performance and some display of courage from players of both teams. The series has just taken off and the fans will be waiting with bated breath for the third Test to begin. It will be hard to call the winner at this point but one thing is for certain that it will be box office as well.