Jofra Archer's Test debut looms large as England look to turn the Ashes tide at Lord's

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Archer is set to make his Test debut at Lord's.

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.

Hazlewood looks to be leading the race to take Pattinson's place.

Hazlewood looks to be leading the race to take Pattinson’s place.

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.

Smith struck 215 at Lord's in the 2015 Ashes Test.

Smith struck 215 at Lord’s in the 2015 Ashes Test.

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.

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