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Australia In Cruise Control After Skittling Out England Tail At Lord’s

  • 3 min read

Australia built a lead of 221 on the third day of the second test at Lord’s before rain stopped play on Friday, adding 130 to their first-innings score for the loss of two wickets after skittling out England’s tail end in the morning.

Usman Khawaja was the pick of the batters, racking up 58 not out, while England’s bogeyman Steve Smith was on six when the rain brought the day’s play to an end.

In contrast to England’s swashbuckling and at times reckless approach with the bat, Khawaja and fellow opener David Warner put on 63 slowly and methodically before Warner was trapped lbw on 25 by a ball nipping in from Josh Tongue in the 25th over.

While it is the first time since 1971 that two sides’ opening partnerships have scored more than 50 in the first three innings of a test match, the two teams’ approaches to the job could hardly be more different.

Warner’s 25 came off 76 balls, a glacial pace compared with England’s Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett in the first innings.

At the other end for Australia, Khawaja has faced more than 700 balls in the first two tests of this Ashes series.

The visitors will look to set England as big a target as they can as they bid for a 2-0 lead in the series – the only side to successfully chase down a fourth-innings target of more than 300 at Lord’s were West Indies in 1984.

“We’ll continue to bat in the morning and see where we’re placed, maybe at lunch or further I guess,” Australia’s fast bowler Mitchell Starc told reporters.


England suffered a minor collapse earlier on Friday, adding just 47 to their overnight score for their last six wickets, hitting 325 in reply to Australia’s first-innings total of 416.

Captain Ben Stokes (17) fell to the second ball of the day, swishing at a shortish one from Starc only to get an edge on it, with Cameron Green reaching up to his right to take a difficult catch in the gully.

Harry Brook added five runs to his overnight score to reach his first 50 in Ashes cricket but then tried to swipe another Starc ball down the ground moments later, instead slicing it high into the air to Pat Cummins for a simple catch at cover.

Jonny Bairstow (16) chipped a simple catch off Josh Hazlewood to Cummins at mid-on, and Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Josh Tongue all fell cheaply, with even part-time spinner Travis Head bagging two wickets for Australia.

Starc was the toast of the bowlers, however, taking three wickets for 33 runs in the morning, having been hit for 55 without a wicket on Thursday afternoon.

England spin bowling coach Jeetan Patel defended his side’s aggressive approach, saying it was all aimed at forcing shifts in the momentum of the game, while acknowledging that their rapid demise in the morning was a setback.

“We want to force swings in the game so that things swing back our way, so we get back on top,” he told reporters.

“It didn’t come off today. It didn’t work.”

But he insisted that the match was far from over and that this England side was all about chasing down big targets.

“I think it’s finely poised. If we could get some things to come our way again tomorrow morning we could bowl them out, and that would give us a day and a half to chase something down.”