The onus will very much be on England to take the game to Australia when the two arch-rivals meet in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s beginning on Wednesday.
Joe Root and his men trail 0-1 in the five-match series after being thrashed by 251 runs in the opener at Edgbaston and now have their task cut out for them if they are to regain the historic urn from the current holders.
Only twice in history have England gone on to win an Ashes series after losing the opening game and the most recent instance of that happening came in 2005 when the hosts bounced back to beat Australia in one of the most memorable Test battles of all time.
Starc or Hazlewood for Pattinson
Australia have announced their 12-man squad for the Lord’s Test with the omission of James Pattinson being the major surprise. The 29-year-old picked up two wickets in Edgbaston in what was his first Test appearance in over three years but the visitors are taking no chances with his fitness this time around by managing his workload carefully.
“In James’ case in particular he’s come back off a really long lay-off, a really serious operation, and we want to make sure he’s cherry-ripe for the next three or four years,” skipper Tim Paine said about the pacer.
“I think what we’ve done in the past with James is we’ve got him back, we know how good he is so we keep using him and keep bowling him and eventually he’s broken again.”
Pattinson’s absence won’t really hurt the Aussies much with both Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood waiting in the wings after missing out on selection in the first Test. It is the latter who is looking likely to get the nod as the third pacer for Lord’s with Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle set to retain their spots.
Australia’s Lord’s stranglehold over England
If Edgbaston was a fortress for England prior to their defeat in the first Test, Lord’s has been anything but against the Aussies in the Ashes. It is the visitors who have reigned supreme in the previous Test meetings between the two sides at the ‘home of cricket’ and they recently beat England in a 2019 World Cup round-robin clash at the venue as well.
In the last 10 Ashes Tests at Lord’s, Australia have come out on top a staggering six times while England have been able to manage only two wins. The last time the two teams met at the venue in an Ashes Test, the Aussies crushed the hosts by 405 runs in the 2015 series with Steve Smith cracking a superb double ton.
With Smith looking in ominous form once again after his twin tons at Edgbaston, England will be hoping that history does not repeat itself at Lord’s.
All eyes on Archer’s Test debut
An injury to James Anderson and the menacing form of Smith means Jofra Archer is almost a certainty to make his Test debut for England on Wednesday. The Barbados-born pacer had a magnificent World Cup campaign where he picked up 20 wickets and his pace and bounce are what England will be hoping can do the trick against Smith who looks unstoppable at the moment.
The mind games have already begun with Australia coach Justin Langer expressing his reservations over Archer’s ability to make the step up to Test cricket. Archer has never been one to shy away from a challenge and the England pacer has responded to Langer’s jibe in strong fashion.
“I’m probably more ready than I’ve ever been. I think Justin Langer has another thing coming,” Archer hit back.
“I’ve played a lot more red-ball than I have white ball. I do think it’s my preferred format anyway.”
If the contest was lacking some spice so far, Archer’s introduction should change that and England will desperately hope he can translate his white-ball success to the Test format.
England XII: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Australia XII: Tim Paine (c/wk), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
Tim Paine believes Australia have seen Jofra Archer at his fastest but admitted there will be occasions when the paceman will prove problematic.
Archer is expected to make his much-anticipated Test debut for England at Lord’s on Wednesday, fresh from a World Cup campaign in which he was the champions’ leading wicket-taker with 20 scalps.
The Barbados-born speedster can exceed 90mph but he is not an unknown quantity for Australia, with Paine pointing out most of his side’s batsmen have either faced him in the World Cup or in a domestic Twenty20 franchise competition.
Paine said: “A lot of our guys have seen Jofra or faced him which is a plus. It’s been in white-ball cricket but we’ve actually faced him in Australia where conditions suit fast bowling.
“We’ve seen him at his fastest, they know what to expect, they know how skilful he is and how good he is.
“Like most bowlers that play Test cricket there will be times where he’s going to be a real threat and we’re going to have to weather that.”
Regarding the omission of Pattinson, Paine revealed he was available for selection but that Australia were taking a broader view with regards to the paceman, whose workload will be managed.
✍️ Some of cricket's greatest ever players have been added to the Lord's Honours Boards over the years.— Lord's Cricket Ground (@HomeOfCricket) August 12, 2019
Who will write their name in history during the second #Ashes Test?#LoveLords | #ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/ZK01zWRdXe
Paine added: “We’ve spoken to our group of bowlers about making sure that we have that core group of bowlers going forward for the next two or three years, they’re all still quite young in age.
“In James’ case in particular he’s come back off a really long lay-off, a really serious operation, and we want to make sure he’s cherry-ripe for the next three or four years.
“I think what we’ve done in the past with James is we’ve got him back, we know how good he is so we keep using him and keep bowling him and eventually he’s broken again.
“We’re really lucky that we’ve got two bowlers on the sidelines that are world-class and we want to make sure James is cherry-ripe every time he plays.”
Starc and Hazlewood were two surprise omissions in Birmingham, with Australia’s four-man frontline attack comprising of Pat Cummins, Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon.
Paine added: “They’re both world-class bowlers and when you leave guys like that out, particularly two of them out at a time, you can see what sort of people they are.
“We’ve been really impressed with both of them. They were both disappointed but they’re both excellent team men.
“It’s always nice from a captaincy point of view when you’ve got two senior, world-class players left out, they cop it on the chin and run drinks and train their backsides’ off at lunch and tea breaks, it sets a really good example for the rest of our team.
“We’re absolutely rapt with the way they’ve gone about it and whichever one of those two we unleash, they’re certainly ready to go.”
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England all-rounder Moeen Ali is taking a short break from all forms of cricket after being omitted from the squad to face Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s this week.
Moeen contributed just four runs in the opening Test defeat at Edgbaston and offered neither control nor a consistent threat with his off-spin in taking unflattering figures of two for 130 in 29 overs in Australia’s second innings.
He was therefore overlooked in favour of slow left-armer Jack Leach at the ‘Home of Cricket’, and on Tuesday Moeen’s county Worcestershire announced he would now take a “short break from action”.
Worcestershire first-team coach Alex Gidman said on the club website: “Mo is spending a little time away from the middle recharging his batteries and putting in some quality practice time which he feels he needs, and we completely respect.
“He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes.
“Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us. We look forward to when he returns soon.”
Moeen is the world’s leading Test wicket-taker over the last 12 months, with 48 scalps in 10 matches at an average of 25.27, yet he has struggled for form in recent outings.
Indeed, he was dropped as the World Cup reached a conclusion over concerns about his batting.
In Tests, he has registered seven single-figure scores in his last nine innings, with his career average dipping below 30.
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