What a fantastic start to the 2019 Ashes Series it was last week as Australia claimed the first Test at Edgbaston in thrilling fashion.
The five match series heads to the home of cricket, Lord’s, for the 2nd Test, which gets underway this Wednesday night at 8pm (AEST). We preview the second Test in full and give our betting tips below.
It seems like an eternity ago that Australia had fallen to 8/122 and looked on the verge of losing the first Test on day one. However, a spirited fight back from centurion Steve Smith and tailender Peter Siddle helped steer the Aussies to a respectable total of 284.
In reply, young English opener Rory Burns withstood the Australian new ball barrage to fight out a masterful 133 off 312 balls, helping England take a 90 run first innings lead. Things were looking promising for the home side when Australia fell to 2/27 in their second innings, however, Steve Smith was brilliant once again as he blasted 142 off 207 balls. Matthew Wade also justified his selection with a damaging 110 off just 143 balls to leave the Aussies in a commanding position with a 397 run lead.
England fought hard early on day five with Jason Roy and Joe Root both getting starts, however, once the Edgbaston pitch started to grip, turn and bounce, there was no keeping out Australian spinner Nathan Lyon. Lyon claimed 6/49 off 20 overs while Pat Cummins took the other four wickets to cap off a remarkable Australian win.
While it was a heartbreaking loss for the English side to open the series, they will take some confidence out of the 1st Test, knowing that they were in a good position after the first innings despite essentially playing with just 10 men. Star fast bowler James Anderson went down with injury in the very first session of play and while he was still able to bat in both innings, never bowled another over.
The English side got by in the first innings without Anderson on the back of a masterful display by Stuart Broad but really lacked a fifth bowler in the second innings. World Cup hero Jofra Archer seems the likely replacement for Anderson heading into the second Test.
It’s unlikely that the English side will make any changes to their batting line-up, however, there has to be some heat on Jos Buttler heading into this Test. The No.5 made just 6 total runs in the first Test and averages just 34 in his last nine Tests.
As we mentioned in our series preview a few weeks ago, we have some real concerns over the English top order and their lack of experience against the Australian attack, particularly if a fit and firing Mitch Starc is brought back into the fold.
Likely England XI:
With Matthew Wade playing a brilliant knock in the second innings, it’s unlikely that we will see a change in the Australian top seven. There are some concerns over Cameron Bancroft and with Marcus Harris waiting in the wings, many have raised the question, however, Aussie coach Justin Langer seems sold on Bancroft and it’s unlikely that he will be dropped after just one Test.
We can’t say the same for the Aussie bowling attack. While Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins are walk up starters for the Aussies, the other two paceman positions remain in some doubt. James Pattinson and Peter Siddle were both serviceable in the first innings at Edgbaston but didn’t really have an impact in the second. With Josh Hazelwood and Mitch Starc both fit and seemingly ready to go, it will be interesting to see which way the Australian selectors go.
Regardless of the bowling attack Australia chose to play, they have proven that they have the firepower to be competitive in this series and the extra practice that they have had with the Duke ball over the past 18 months seems to have paid off. Pattinson in particular could shine at Lords, where swing bowlers have dominated in overcast conditions in recent history.
Likely Australia XI:
It’s common place at Lord’s to look to the skies rather than the surface when trying to assess what kind of impact the conditions will have on the game. Overcast conditions in particular seem to play a massive part at Lord’s, more than other grounds for relatively unknown reasons. We saw the ball swinging around in England’s warn up game against Ireland and we can probably expect similar conditions for the 2nd Test.
Rain will also play a massive role in the game. There is constant rain predicted throughout Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which could bring the draw into play. Either way, ball should dominate this game and we think the Aussies have a slightly better pace attack at the moment. Back them to win without the draw.
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