Australia broke an almost two-decade-long curse in the opening Ashes Test, and will now move to a happy hunting ground at the home of cricket as they look to make it two-nil against England.
A win at Edgbaston was the unexpected result for Australia, breaking a losing streak at the venue across all formats that went all the way back to 2001.
Given Tim Paine’s men only need a drawn series to retain the urn, the pressure and onus to play aggressive cricket now switches to England. At a bare minimum, they must win two of the remaining four Tests, but if Australia win at Lord’s, they would need to win the next three.
England have only won seven of 36 Tests against Australia at Lord’s though, so everything is pointing to this series getting away from them rapidly.
While the argument could be made that, really, the only difference between the sides in the first Test was the incredible Steve Smith and the toss, there was a lot more to it than that.
But they are fragile. Their run chase in Edgbaston was abysmal against a turning ball, and their first innings crumbled as well, only made to look respectable by a Rory Burns century, Joe Root half-century, and runs from the bowlers at the end.
They needed a big first-innings lead and didn’t get one, which also has to see plenty of credit lumped on the Aussie bowlers for their efforts to stay patient early on, to bowl consistently for long periods and wait for the rewards.
The rewards eventually came, and combined with the performances of Steve Smith and Matthew Wade, it was one of Australia’s best Test victories in a long time.
Given their fabulous record at Lord’s, and the fact the weather forecast at this stage looks pretty ordinary, the Aussies could well maintain their lead in the series and leave England needing to win at least two of the final three Tests.
At the time of writing, rain is forecast for Days 1, 3 and 4.
Overall record: Played 347, Australia 145, England 108, drawn 94
Overall record in England: Played 167, Australia 51, England 49, drawn 67
Overall record at Lord’s: Played 36, Australia 15, England 7, drawn 14
Overall series record: Played 78, Australia 40, England 33, drawn 8
Overall series record in England: Played 38, England 19, Australia 15, drawn 4
Last five series
2017-18: Australia won 4-0 in Australia
2015: England won 3-2 in England
2013-14: Australia won 5-0 in Australia
2013: England won 3-0 in England
2010-11: England won 3-1 in Australia
Last five matches at Lord’s
2015, Jul 16-19: Australia won by 405 runs
2013, Jul 18-21: England won by 347 runs
2009, Jul 16-20: England won by 115 runs
2005, Jul 21-24: Australia won by 239 runs
2001, Jul 19-22: Australia won by 8 wickets
England have made a couple of much-needed changes to their XI after the Edgbaston debacle, with the underperforming Moeen Ali dropped and James Anderson injured.
The loss of Anderson at the home of cricket is a big one for the home side, but also has the potential to shake up the series, with red-hot quick Jofra Archer recovering from a side strain to take his place in the side.
Sam Curran is again named in a 12-man squad, but won’t get a look in with Archer to join Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes as the pace trio.
England missed having a third quick big time at Edgbaston following the injury to Anderson, but Archer – on the back of a strong World Cup and good outing in second XI cricket between Tests – will be a dangerous proposition at Lord’s for the Aussies.
While he has played 28 first-class matches, he hasn’t played one for 12 months, so fitness could be something of an issue if England get kept in the field for a long time.
The loss of Moeen Ali will undoubtedly improve the English side, though. He was horrendous in the first Test, bamboozled by Nathan Lyon with the bat and struggling to land the ball.
Jack Leach, who last played in the pre-Ashes warm-up against Ireland at Lord’s and has five Tests to his name, enters the English set-up with the aim being to match Lyon.
Given Ali couldn’t buy a run, Leach – who scored 92 against Ireland – also bolsters the lower-order batting, likely to come in at 11 following Woakes, Broad and Archer at eight, nine and ten respectively.
1. Jason Roy
2. Rory Burns
3. Joe Root (c)
4. Joe Denly
5. Jos Buttler
6. Ben Stokes
7. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
8. Chris Woakes
9. Stuart Broad
10. Jofra Archer
11. Jack Leach
12th man: Sam Curran
The news out of the Australian camp is their side is mostly settled with the exception of the bowling attack.
That means that, as expected, the top seven isn’t going to change. The only real question was around the battle at the top of the order between Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris.
Bancroft scored just a handful of runs in the first Test, and Harris made a half-century in the tour match between the Tests against Worcestershire while Bancroft failed again, but it would appear the right-hander who played his first Test in the best part of 18 months at Edgbaston will be retained.
However, Justin Langer and his selectors have sprung a surprise, leaving James Pattinson out of the 12-man squad.
With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood included, it means they ae battling with Siddle for the final two spots alongside Pat Cummins.
Siddle bowled without much success at Edgbaston and should have done enough to keep his spot, while Mitchell Starc should get the final spot with his ability to be the point of difference for the Aussie attack.
1. David Warner
2. Cameron Bancroft
3. Usman Khawaja
4. Steve Smith
5. Travis Head
6. Matthew Wade
7. Tim Paine (c, wk)
8. Pat Cummins
9. Peter Siddle
10. Mitchell Starc
11. Nathan Lyon
Rest of squad: Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson
What if Steve Smith fails?
Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge “what if?”
Smith made the Ashes look like his own personal playground during the first Test, and the form he is in, you’d swear he will never get out before he hits triple figures again.
But this is cricket. It’s a crazy sport at times, and one that can throw up the most unpredictable of results.
Whether Jofra Archer has the ability to rattle Smith, or whether he finally makes a mistake early in his innings, the chance of doing what he did in Edgbaston again are remote.
And while there was more than just Smith’s performance to the Australian victory, he was the most obvious man of the match in any Test that I can remember.
What you can say about the Aussie performance is that, without Smith, they would have registered a fairly ordinary total in the first innings, and one that could have put them out of the match by tea on Day 1.
There were some other valuable contributions, especially in the second innings with Wade’s century and runs from Usman Khawaja, but it’s the top order that must stand up to ensure Smith doesn’t find himself in that sort of woeful position again.
The way Broad had Warner figured out bowling around the wicket at Edgbaston was worrying, and reminiscent of the way Andrew Flintoff figured out Adam Gilchrist in the 2005 Ashes, while Cameron Bancroft looks all at sea against the moving ball.
Usman Khawaja scored runs in the second innings, but again, Australia’s batting line-up faltered in the first.
This is on the top order to figure something out. If they don’t, Lord’s could turn into the home of horrors for the tourists, particularly with Jofra Archer primed to unleash.
England can’t rely on Rory Burns
Let’s be honest here – the century scored by Rory Burns in the first Test was not exactly at the top of the tree when you think about Test tons.
It was, however, a gritty performance where he rode his luck, edged with precision and left the ball well, which was his main perceived weakness coming into the match.
If Bancroft or Warner could have done the same thing at the top of the order for Australia in either innings, it would have made a huge difference to the way in which Australia won the match.
Regardless of what the scoreboard says though, England can’t afford to rely on the opener again.
His job will be to once again see off the new ball, but then a dangerous middle order – who more than likely will be in a position where they have to play their natural games thanks to the weather – must strike.
Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow should be three names who strike fear into the hearts of opposition bowling line-ups, no matter what format they are playing.
But all three had meek showings in the first Test. This is their time to shine and not let the Australian attack dominate, running through and getting back on top of the match like they did in Edgbaston.
Nathan Lyon could again hold Australia’s key
While all the talk suggests another flat pitch without a great deal of grass or sideways movement, it is apparently very dry.
And therefore, Nathan Lyon could make all the difference between the two sides in the final day or two of this Lord’s Test.
While Australia’s greatest ever off-spinner played something of a holding roll during the first innings as he finished with 3 for 112, he came into his element during the second, running through the English order.
Despite the perceived weakness in bowling to right-handers, Lyon had no such problem in the second innings on a pitch which suited him down to the ground, as he got rid of four out of England’s top six in a stunning spell of bowling.
The 31-year-old was such a large advantage to the Aussies in the first Test, and it was made all the more prominent thanks to the rubbish served up by Moeen Ali.
While he has been dropped for Jack Leach, who will be dangerous turning the ball away from the Aussie batsmen in the top order, he only has five Tests to his name and struggled on this ground against Ireland, only being afforded the opportunity to bowl three overs.
He does have 20 Test wickets to his name, but he doesn’t have the skill set of Lyon, who takes the spinning advantage into this second Test.
Will Jofra Archer prove to be the difference?
One point to note about the English performance at Edgbaston was the similarity of their attack, which was made all the worse when Anderson was ruled out with a calf injury having only bowled four overs.
While Woakes, Broad and Anderson all carry unique parts to their bowling, the fact still stands that they deliver roughly the same pace, are all right-arm bowlers, and all look to do the same thing in English conditions.
Even though Archer isn’t going to come in and provide them with a left-arm option, he will be the point of difference in this match.
He can be England’s version of Mitchell Starc. The guy who, while limited to short spells, is going to come in and bowl at 150 kilometres per hour on a regular basis, has a good change-up and can bowl an excellent short ball that is disguised so well no one knows it’s coming.
The only real problem facing Archer and the English is that the fiery quick hasn’t played a first-class game for more than 12 months.
He did play a three-day game to prove his fitness for this second Test, however, across his 28 games at first-class level, he has taken 131 wickets at 23.
Maybe even more impressively, he only goes for an average of three runs per over, which for someone bowling his pace, is fairly impressive.
Archer’s key role in this match will be to rattle Smith with a mix of pace and aggression, which can be achieved through his short balls, but also to break up the consistent line and length pace bowling with toe-crushing yorkers, bouncers and raw pace.
If he carries that out and carries the burden of extra spells and overs, then he could make all the difference.
Dates: Wednesday, August 14 – Sunday August 18
First ball: 8pm (AEST)
Expected daily finish time: 3am (AEST)
Venue: Lord’s, London
TV: Live, 9Gem
Online: Live, 9Now
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney, Aleem Dar
|First session||8pm – 10pm||7:30pm – 9:30pm||6pm – 8pm||11am – 1pm|
|Lunch||10pm – 10:40pm||9:30pm – 10:10pm||8pm – 8:40pm||1pm – 1:40pm|
|Second session||10:40pm – 12:40am||10:10pm – 12:10am||8:40pm – 10:40pm||1:40pm – 3:40pm|
|Tea||12:40am – 1am||12:10am – 12:30am||10:40pm – 11pm||3:40pm – 4pm|
|Third session||1am – 3am||12:30am – 2:30am||11pm – 1am||4pm – 6pm|
Given all the talk in the lead-up to the second Test is that the pitch will be on the flat side, it’s hard to see enough cricket being played given the forecast.
England can’t afford Australia to win again, but they also must play aggressively to try and push for the result for themselves.
Unfortunately, this is shaping up as a draw.
Australia to maintain their 1-0 lead as Lord’s ends in a rain-hit draw.
Don’t forget to stay across every ball of the action from Edgbaston as The Roar cover the match with our live scores, blog and highlights of each day’s play.