|Men’s Ashes: Second Specsavers Test, Lord’s (day two of five)|
|England 258: Burns 53, Bairstow 52, Hazlewood 3-58|
|Australia trail by 228 runs|
England’s fragile batting again buckled on day two of the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s.
Opener Rory Burns made a battling 53, only to be part of a collapse of four wickets for 46 runs that left the home side 138-6.
England partially recovered through a stand of 72 between Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes.
Bairstow was also helped by cameos from debutant Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad, before becoming the last man to fall for 52 to leave England 258 all out.
Australia lost David Warner, bowled by Broad, to close on 30-1, but will be the happier side after captain Tim Paine won the toss.
Despite the entire first day being lost to rain, bowling England out on this second day leaves the tourists handily placed to go 2-0 up in the series.
Further rain is forecast on Friday and England may have the advantage of bowling last on a pitch showing signs of turn, but that benefit would only come into play if they can restrict Australia’s first innings, then bat better at their second attempt.
More England struggles on red day at Lord’s
This was a day when Lord’s was turned red for the Ruth Strauss Foundation, a charity established by former England batsman Andrew in honour of his late wife.
Many of the crowd wore red, which was also the colour of the boundary, sponsors’ logos and the names and numbers on the shirts of the players, who presented special caps to Strauss before play began.
While the sight of Strauss and his sons was poignant, it was also a reminder of the steady decline in England’s Test batting since he retired seven years ago.
With the sun shining and the pitch showing no obvious demons, it was a surprise when Paine opted to bowl. Perhaps he wanted an early look at an England line-up that collapsed in the second innings of the first Test; perhaps he felt the best way to win a shortened game was to try to bowl the hosts out early.
Whatever the reasoning, the tourists grabbed the upper hand through the relentlessness of their bowling, which exposed the flimsy defensive techniques of most of the England top order.
Even though Broad got through Warner, who was booed off, the tourists survived Archer’s much-anticipated first spell in Test cricket to come through a tricky final hour only one down.
England’s top order fails again
England’s day got off to a horrible start, with Jason Roy playing one of the worst three-ball innings you could ever see from a Test opener. A wild slash at Hazlewood was followed by a play-and-miss, then a poke to be caught behind.
After Joe Root was trapped on the crease to be lbw, Burns and Joe Denly battled to 76-2 at lunch to leave England marginally on top.
Burns showed the grit and patience that brought him a century at Edgbaston, but Denly was less secure and when he edged a beauty from Hazlewood to depart for 30, the slide began.
Burns was magnificently caught one-handed by a diving Cameron Bancroft at short leg off Pat Cummins, a worryingly out-of-touch Jos Buttler edged Peter Siddle to wicketkeeper Paine and Ben Stokes was lbw sweeping off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Bairstow, on the back of four single-figures scores, and Woakes, previously so successful with bat and ball on this ground, steadied with stout defence and careful accumulation.
But when Cummins opted to go short at Woakes, a top edge for six was followed by a blow to the helmet and then a glove behind, leaving Bairstow with brief moments of support before he heaved Lyon to deep square leg.
Australia bowlers vindicate Paine decision
Hazlewood was omitted at Edgbaston, but led the Australia attack superbly, none more so than in an opening spell when it seemed like every ball could take a wicket.
His line was immaculate and the ball moved both ways off the seam. Roy and Denly edged balls that nipped down the Lord’s slope, while Root was lbw to one that came back up the hill.
Hazlewood was supported by the hostility of Cummins – all of Burns, Woakes and Archer fell to short balls – the nagging full length of Siddle and the guile of Lyon.
That is not to say the tourists were without fault. Burns was dropped twice – on 16 by gully Usman Khawaja and on 47 by a diving Paine, with Siddle the bowler on both occasions – and Warner spilled a tough chance with Broad on one.
Warner’s form with the bat is also becoming a concern. The left-hander has now been dismissed by Broad in all three innings of the series, this time seeing his bails trimmed by one that scurried between bat and pad.
At the other end, Archer was roared in by the Lord’s crowd and gave Bancroft some uncomfortable moments at speeds touching 90mph.
However, Bancroft and Khawaja held firm, meaning the prolific Steve Smith – scorer of twin centuries at Edgbaston – is still to come.
‘England are not out of this Test’ – what they said
Australia spinner Nathan Lyon on BBC Test Match Special: “I don’t think we have had our best day – we dropped a few catches – but if we are batting at the end of the day we are pretty happy.”
Former England captain Alec Stewart: “It has not been a good day for England. It has been another sloppy batting performance. It could have been worse but they have got to bat with more discipline.”
Former England batsman Michael Vaughan: “I don’t think they are out of this Test at all. We saw the wicket that got Warner was a beauty.
“Australia look like they are very driven and you would expect them to make it very difficult.”
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “Tomorrow is a big first session. The forecast isn’t great but there is time for Australia to build a big first-innings lead.
“There is some turn, especially to the left-handers, so England under pressure – or England batting at all – is completely unpredictable and you can’t help but be a little bit cautious.”
England opener Rory Burns: “It was one of those wickets where if they missed you could still get on top of it. There was some good bowling, a bit of nibble and we have seen in that period if you stick enough balls in the right areas it can be difficult.”
- Nathan Lyon’s 3-68 means he now has 355 Test wickets, joint third with Dennis Lillee in Australia’s all-time wicket-takers
- Rory Burns has scored the most Test half-centuries (three) by an England player in 2019.
- Stuart Broad has dismissed David Warner three times for 11 runs in 29 balls in this series. In the Ashes series played in 2015 & 2017-18 Broad bowled 309 balls to Warner without dismissing him once (for 139 runs).
- England’s team contains a record seven players whose first name begins with a ‘J’ – Archer, Bairstow, Buttler, Denly, Leach, Root and Roy.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport