Cricket Weekly Column: 2nd Ashes Test Recap

By Riley Taylor (@rileyttaylor21)

Welcome to the ninth edition of Overtime’s Cricket Weekly Column, where we look at the week’s biggest stories and games.

This week we will be going over what happened at Lords’ in the second Ashes Test as England looked to bounce back from a crushing defeat at Edgbaston.

What happened at Edgbaston?

There was plenty that England learned from Edgbaston but the one thing they would have been concerned about was the way they quickly unravelled in the second innings.

It was a shockingly poor batting collapse even from a side so prone to doing so in the last few years with Chris Woakes seemingly being the only player to muster any fight.

However, the collapse may never have happened if it wasn’t for the disaster of the Australian first innings.

Even being a bowler down as James Anderson hobbled off the field after still not being fully recovered from an injured calf, England still managed to reduce Australia to 122/8 with Woakes and Stuart Broad doing the damage.

Yet, old foe Steve Smith haunted England as poor captaincy from Joe Root allowed the former Australian captain to farm the strike and put on heavy partnerships with the tail which took Australia to a decent total.

England then felt the pain of being a bowler down in both innings with the Aussies racking up a monster which allowed them to force England to bat the whole of the final day to save the Test, which they were not able to do.

The hosts will hope that World Cup hero Jofra Archer can fill the boots of Anderson as well as Jack Leach who will come in for Moeen Ali after the Worcestershire off-spinner was dropped and subsequently announced he was to take a break from cricket.

The Aussies will be high on confidence and with Josh Hazlewood back in the ranks after James Pattinson was rested, their bowling attack looks even sharper and m test with the hope of going 2-0 up and being one step closer to retaining the Ashes for the first time in 17 years.

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England Collapse……… Again: England v Australia Day Two at Lords’

England: 258 (Burns 53, Bairstow 52, Hazlewood 3-58, Cummins 3-61)

Australia: 30/1 (Khawaja 18no, Bancroft 5no, Broad 1-13, Woakes 0-3)

England were rescued by Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes after they suffered yet another batting collapse on day two at Lords’.

After the first day featured no play due to rain, the match was reduced to four days which meant the toss was even harder to decide.

Australian captain Tim Paine called correctly for the second test running and decided to bowl first.

This decision was immediately vindicated in just the second over when Jason Roy was caught by Paine off Josh Hazlewood for a duck.

The Surrey-batsman’s position at the top of the order had come under question due to him not opening in a first-class game since 2013 but was still chosen to be an opener for England and he did not help himself with his dismissal, looking incredibly shaky against the new ball.

England skipper Joe Root needed a good score, but it wasn’t long before he was also out, trapped leg-before by Hazlewood for 14.

Joe Denly joined Rory Burns and the pair provided the first stable partnership of the innings as they put on 66 for the third wicket.

However, both batsmen fell in quick succession, Denly the first to go as Hazlewood claimed his third wicket, having the Kent batsman caught by Paine for 30.

Burns brought up his fifty to continue his fine form in the series, but he was removed for 53 by a stunning catch at short-leg by Cameron Bancroft, diving to his right to scoop the ball into his hands inches from the ground.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes came together but failed to replicate their World Cup heroics at the same ground a month previous as both of them were dismissed cheaply within two overs of each other.

Buttler gave Paine his third catch of the innings when he edged through to him off Peter Siddle for 12 before Stokes fell two runs later, trapped leg-before by Nathan Lyon for 13 to leave England struggling at 138/6.

This brought Bairstow together with Woakes with the former desperately in need of runs after averaging three runs in his last five test innings.

The pair combined as they frustrated the Australian bowlers with a 72-run partnership before Pat Cummins broke through by roughing up Woakes with the short ball before having him caught down the leg side by Paine for 32.

Jofra Archer came in for his first Test innings and looked no mug with the bat as he combined for Bairstow, but the Sussex fast bowler fell to another short ball from Cummins, as Usman Khawaja took a smart diving catch to dismiss him for 12.

Stuart Broad provided another handy partnership with Bairstow as the pair added 21 before the former was unluckily bowled by Lyon for 11, as the ball just clipped a bail to see the back of the Nottinghamshire bowler.

England’s innings was ended when Bairstow was caught by Khawaja off Lyon on the boundary for 52 when he looked to attack in order to add quick runs.

It was another poor batting performance from England, something that has consistently been said in every Test series they play in.

They faced a big challenge in order to restrict Australia to another big total on day three, but they were given a major helping hand when Broad bowled David Warner for three.

Cameron Bancroft and Khawaja saw out the day for Australia as both teams prepared for a big day of Test cricket.

England Fightback Before Rain Arrives Again: England v Australia Day Three at Lords’

England: 258 (Burns 53, Bairstow 52, Hazlewood 3-58, Cummins 3-61)

Australia: 80/4 (Khawaja 36, Smith 13no, Broad 2-26, Archer 1-18)

Stuart Broad lead an England fightback with two wickets as Australia lost three wickets before the rain arrived again at Lords’ and washed out the rest of the day.

Australia resumed the day on 30/1 and batsmen Usman Khawaja and Cameron Bancroft carried on from their late resistance on day two with a show of fine batting.

The pair got the score to 66/1 before England struck at the double with Jofra Archer picking up his first Test wicket, trapping Bancroft leg-before for 13.

Khawaja was then caught by Jonny Bairstow off Chris Woakes for 36 to get England back in the contest.

Steve Smith and Travis Head came together again, and England would have wanted to remove them quickly after they combined so well at Edgbaston.

This is what the hosts got, albeit it wasn’t Smith as Head was trapped lbw for seven by Broad after a not out decision was overturned on review by umpire Aleem Dar.

Matthew Wade joined Smith, fresh off the back of a hundred in the last Test as he looked to frustrate the England bowlers once again.

However, their progress was interrupted when the rain came again and for the second of three days, the Test match was washed out for the rest of the day.

Broad Leads England Fightback Before Rain Arrives Again: England v Australia Day Four at Lords’

England: 258 (Burns 53, Bairstow 52, Hazlewood 3-58, Cummins 3-61) & 96/4 (Burns 29, Denly 26, Cummins 2-16, Siddle 2-19)

Australia: 250 (Smith 92, Khawaja 36, Broad 4-65, Woakes 3-61)

Australia were bowled out for 250 on day four at Lords’ as England’s bowlers produced a superb fightback.

Stuart Broad ended with four wickets and Chris Woakes took three as well as a couple for debutant Jofra Archer who showed England fans what they have been missing in Tests for several years as he demonstrated his brilliant mix of raw pace and skill.

Australia resumed on 80/4 with Wade and Smith adding a further 22 to their overnight partnership.

However, Broad struck to remove Wade, having him caught at third slip by Rory Burns for 6 to leave Australia wobbling at 102/5.

Tim Paine joined Smith and restored order for the Aussies with a 60-run partnership to heavily frustrate England.

England eventually broke through via Archer as Paine fended a furiously quick short ball to Buttler at short-leg for 23.

Pat Cummins joined Smith and the pair managed to frustrate England further as the hosts struggled to bowl out the tail yet again.

Then a nasty passage of play happened when Smith was hit on the side of the head by an Archer bouncer and immediately collapsed to the deck.

He was down for a while and eventually, he went off injured following the precautionary concussion tests.

Following the death of Australian batsman, Phillip Hughes in 2014, a specific type of padding had been introduced to protect batsmen from bouncers of this variation.

Smith was not wearing any, as it is not forced by the Australian Cricket Board, which made an already worrying passage of play even worse.

Peter Siddle came out and replaced Smith, but it wasn’t long before he was back out when the former edged through to Jonny Bairstow off Woakes for nine.

 Smith came back out to his now usual chorus of boos and immediately attacked as he looked to push Australia into the lead.

However, his dismissal brought up conversations of concussion safety as he clearly did not seem his usual self as he left a ball that was crashing on to middle stump which struck him on the pad and thus, he was given out lbw for 92.

The rest of the Australian innings were quickly wrapped up with Jack Leach getting his first wicket of the Test as he trapped Nathan Lyon lbw for six before Cummins was the last man out for 20, caught by Bairstow off Broad to give England a lead of eight runs.

England will have been delighted to have been in a lead after a poor batting performance, but it wasn’t long before they were reliving their first innings as they collapsed early on again.

Jason Roy continued to back up claims that he should not be opening in Test cricket as he fell for two as he was caught by Cummins off his own bowling following a leading edge.

Root then fell for his first golden duck of his Test career as he was caught by Paine off Cummins to leave England at 9/2.

Joe Denly and Rory Burns repaired things with a 55-run partnership with both batsmen looking in good touch as England’s lead grew.

However, both batsmen fell in quick succession to leave the middle order with another clean-up job, Denly the first to go as he was caught by Siddle off his own bowling for 26.

Siddle then picked up his second wicket of the innings when he dismissed Burns for 29, with Paine taking another catch.

Ben Stokes and Buttler recovered things as they put on a further 20 runs to see England through to stumps with a lead of 104 to setup an exciting final day.

Sensational Stokes Hundred But Labuschagne Saves Australia: England v Australia Day Five at Lords’

England: 258 (Burns 53, Bairstow 52, Hazlewood 3-58, Cummins 3-61) & 258/5dec (Stokes 115no, Buttler 31, Cummins 3-35, Siddle 2-54)

Australia: 250 (Smith 92, Khawaja 36, Broad 4-65, Woakes 3-61) & 154/6 (Labuschagne 59, Head 42no, Archer 3-32, Leach 3-37)

Match Drawn

Full scorecard: https://www.ecb.co.uk/matches/8974#overview

Ben Stokes produced another superb innings at Lords’ as he hit his 7th Test hundred before concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne saved the Test for Australia with a steady 59.

Jofra Archer and Jack Leach took three wickets apiece, but it wasn’t enough for England as Labuschagne, the first-ever concussion substitute after the ICC’s new ruling, stood in for Steve Smith and produced a match-saving knock for Australia.

England resumed on 96/4 with Stokes and Jos Buttler looking to setup a reasonable total for Australia to chase.

This frustrated the Australian bowlers by batting with discipline and control, something that had been missing from England’s batting thus far.

They added 90 runs for the fifth wicket with Ben Stokes bringing up his half-century off 118 balls in the process.

Australia got the breakthrough they desperately needed through Pat Cummins when Buttler played one shot too many and was caught on the boundary by Josh Hazlewood for 31 off a top edge.

Jonny Bairstow joined Stokes and their orders looked to attack as they began to rack up boundaries in order to setup a declaration.

Stokes had already made one stunning innings at Lords’ during the World Cup Final and he did it once again as he brought up his hundred in the 69th over with a single off Nathan Lyon.

Two overs later Joe Root called his players in as Australia were given a target of 259 to retain the Ashes.

England got off to a perfect start with the ball thanks to Archer bowling at above 90mph ripping through the top order, starting with David Warner caught at slip by Rory Burns for three.

An over later, the Sussex paceman had Usman Khawaja caught by wicketkeeper Bairstow for two as he introduced himself to Test cricket.

Cameron Bancroft and Labuschagne saw Australia through to tea but not without some luck as both batsmen edged multiple chances inches wide of the slip cordon.

England knew they would need to something special after tea with both batsmen relatively settled in.

This is what they got when spinner Jack Leach trapped Bancroft leg-before in the first over after tea to heap pressure back on Australia.

However, Labuschagne came together with new batsmen Travis Head and the pair managed to survive a spell of hostile and difficult bowling from Archer, Stokes and Leach as they put on the first 50-run partnership of the Australian second innings.

England didn’t help themselves with some lacklustre fielding, including a drop catch from Jason Roy off the bowling of Stokes to reprieve Head on 22.

It looked like both batsmen would carry Australia to a draw, but they didn’t account for Leach when Labuschagne’s sweep shot deflected off Buttler at short leg and fell into the hands of a diving Joe Root.

It was a controversial moment in the game after it took multiple replays to decide whether Labuschagne should walk after one showed the ball had carried to Root and another showed it hadn’t.

However, the Queensland batsman had to go after on-field umpire Joel Wilson gave the decision as out and he was dismissed for 59 to give England massive breakthrough.

This briefly opened the floodgates for England as Leach struck again two overs later when he had Matthew Wade caught at short-leg for one.

Australia captain Tim Paine came in and knew he had a job to do to the save the game as he negotiated the rest of the over from Leach.

Archer meanwhile was bowling at a ferocious pace with his average speed clocked at 92.79mph, but he was still unable to find a breakthrough until a short ball was pulled away by Paine only to be plucked out of the air by a flying Joe Denly to see the back of the Aussie skipper for four.

However, England had only a few overs left to bowl out the rest of the Australian order and they were unable to do so as Pat Cummins and Head saw off Leach and Archer to salvage a draw.

It wasn’t the result England were hoping for but after two days of rain, it was remarkable that a result could have been possible.

England will take plenty of confidence going into Headingley with Archer showing why he is so feared and Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes now on form.

However, they will be concerned about their top order, Roy looks troublesome at the top of the order and the form of Root will be a massive concern.

Australia, on the other hand, have a massive issue in the form of an injured Steve Smith. As well as concussion he also received some damage to his arm via an Archer bouncer so he will definitely be missing the next test.

However, Marnus Labuschagne certainly looked the part as he fended off the English bowlers and made a half-century to save the Test.

Stay tuned for the next Test where England take on Australia at Headingley.

For more cricket content click here: http://www.overtimeonline.co.uk/category/cricket/

For our summary of England’s 1st Test versus Australia click here: http://www.overtimeonline.co.uk/cricket-weekly-column-first-ashes-test-and-t20-blast/

Stay tuned for more Cricket Weekly next week!

Sub-edited by Tony Robertson

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