The first test at Edgbaston, a ground which is traditionally a stronghold for England did not play out the way they wanted. Australia with tenacity and incredible Steve Smith was able to cause a dramatic turn around handing England a huge defeat to start their Ashes campaign. England’s problems are bigger than just the absence of James Anderson. Their batting which has been struggling for a year now in Tests hasn’t been able to stand up to the pressure once again.
Even though Rory Burns scored a brilliant hundred, the opening combination is still a worry. Jason Roy hasn’t inspired much confidence with the bat and the middle order of Joe Root, Jonny Barstow, and Jos Butler aren’t scoring big runs. The bowling attack for sure has been dented by the absence of James Anderson but they do have Jofra Archer in the 12 for the second Test. England will be hoping that Archer with his pace can make the kind of impact which they lacked in the first Test against Aussie middle order. Moeen Ali also finds himself out after poor performance at Edgbaston and Jack Leach gets his chance in the Ashes.
For Australia, though this has been a wonderful start to the Tour. Their batting though which was held brilliantly by phenomenal Steve Smith is still a concern. David Warner and Cameron Bancroft would want more runs at the top and with Marcus Harris waiting in the wings there will be lots of pressure on the opening combination. The middle-order though redeemed themselves with a good showing in the second innings and they would want the same intensity to continue at Lord’s.
The biggest decision for Tim Paine would be whether to bring in Mitchell Starc for the Lord’s Test. Starc who was dropped to include Peter Siddle in the playing XI might get a go in a ground where the pronounced slope might help his type of bowling. Australia may even choose to not tamper with the winning combination. This will be a tough call and Justin Langer and Tim Paine would want to make the right call regarding the playing XI.
Joe Root (England): The England captain has been criticized a lot recently for his lack of big scores in the Test arena. Over the last few years, Root has gotten off to starts but hasn’t been able to convert them into big totals. In this must-win game for England, he will be expected to step up and lead from the front. His batting at number 3 will be crucial for England.
Chris Woakes(England): In the absence of James Anderson, Chris Woakes becomes the most important member of the bowling attack. He along with Broad will be expected to make the initial dent into the Aussie batting order making it easy for Stokes and Archer to have a go at the middle order.
Steve Smith (Australia): Whenever Australia plays a Test match Steve Smith becomes the most important member of their batting line up. He is arguably the best Test batter in the world and with an average of over 62, he is indeed the lynchpin of Aussie batting. His first-innings hundred at Edgbaston sparked the turnaround and got the Aussie batting going and any time he spends in the middle at Lord’s will put pressure on the English bowling.
Pat Cummins (Australia): With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood not being considered, Pat Cummins becomes the leader of the pace attack for Australia. He fourfer in the second innings in the first Test was brilliant and he will once again be important with the new ball against a side who are short of confidence.
What they said?
“It’s quite dry though. It’s not a surprise… the wicket is the last thing you look at when you come to Lord’s. Most grounds it’s the first thing to look at but here, there’s so much else to admire and love about being here. But whether it’s a green-top or a dry wicket, we have really good options and that’s nice as a coach and selector.” Said Justin Langer about the pitch at Lord’s ahead of the second Ashes Test.
“What I would say is don’t expect any miracles, firstly! Hopefully, I’m gonna make my debut sooner rather than later and I’ll come in and do what I can. I can’t work miracles – I’ll try to, but I don’t think that’s how it might pan out. I’ll try my best and I can only give my best,” Said England Pacer Jofra Archer, trying to keep the expectations reasonable on his debut
David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (C & WK), James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle/Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon
Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (C), Jonny Barstow (WK), Jos Butler, Ben Stokes, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad
Despite the win at Edgbaston, Australia will know that they cannot take their legs off the pedal. England is a team who are difficult to stop when they have the momentum especially at home and Australia will try to deny them that. The win in the first Test would be a huge short in the arm for Australia and a win in England after 18 years would be one step closer with a win at Lord’s.