Cricket Article

Ashes 2nd Test at Lord's: Smith, Archer Shine in Rain-Affected Draw

Ashes 2nd Test at Lord's: Smith, Archer Shine in Rain-Affected Draw Photo: TT
Steven Smith Was Hit on His Head and Had to Retire Hurt

England and Australia drew the second rain-affected Test at Lords, although the match was not without incident.

After the entire first day was lost to rain, Australia won the toss at Lord’s and opted to bowl first. They preferred Josh Hazlewood to Mitchell Starc, whilst England gave a debut to Jofra Archer, and recalled Jack Leach for the dropped Moeen Ali.

It was Hazlewood who struck first, removing Jason Roy in the second over for a duck, caught behind by Tim Paine. And it was the fast bowler who broke through again, when he had Joe Root lbw for 14. Rory Burns and Joe Denly saw England through to lunch but, soon afterwards Denly gave Hazlewood a third wicket when he edged behind for 30. Burns reached his 50, but then was superbly caught by Cameron Bancroft at short leg for 53, Pat Cummins the bowler.

The England innings began to subside. Jos Buttler wafted at Peter Siddle and was caught behind and Ben Stokes was lbw to Nathan Lyon. However, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes showed some resistance with a stand of 72for the seventh wicket, until Woakes was caught behind for 32, Cummins the bowler.

Archer gave Cummins a third wicket when he could not keep down a short ball and was caught by Usman Khawaja, before Bairstow and Stuart Broad put on 21 for the 9th wicket. Their stand was ended when Broad was bowled by Lyon, and the England innings came to an end when Bairstow slogged Lyon to the mid-wicket boundary and was caught by Khawaja, out for 52. England had been bowled out for 258, with Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon all claiming three wickets apiece.

In reply Australia lost David Warner early, bowled by Broad, but Bancroft and Khawaja saw their side through to stumps at 30 – 1.

Resuming on the third morning, Bancroft and Khawaja added 30 to their overnight score, but both fell in the space of three balls. First to go was Bancroft, lbw to Archer who claimed his first test wicket, and then Khawaja, who had made 36, was caught behind off Woakes. That brought Steve Smith and Travis Head together but Head did not last long, and was soon lbw to Broad. However, at 8-0 – 4, rain brought a sudden and premature end to the day’s play.

Australia progressed for half an hour without loss on Saturday morning until Stuart Broad struck again, getting Matthew Wade to slice the ball to Burns at fourth slip. Smith and Tim Paine though frustrated England with a stand of 60 until extra pace from Archer saw Paine edge the ball to Buttler at short leg, departing for 23.

The afternoon session became a duel between Smith and the pace of Archer, and, after Smith had been struck on the arm, a much nastier delivery reared up and him on the neck, and he had to retire temporarily on 80. Siddle came in to replace him, but he was caught behind off Woakes, before Smith returned to the fray. However, he could only add 12 to his score before he was lbw to Woakes for 92. Nathan Lyon made 6 but he was lbw to fellow spinner Jack Leach, and Cummins was last man out, caught behind off Broad, who finished with 4 for 65. Australia had been bowled out for 250, giving England a first innings lead of 8 runs.

The England second innings started poorly, with two wickets falling in the fifth over. First Roy was caught and bowled by Cummins, and then Root was caught behind the next ball.

Burns and Denly added 55 but Denly was caught and bowled by Siddle for 26, and then Burns fell for 29, caught behind off the same bowler. Stokes (16 not out) and Buttler (10 not out) made it through to stumps, though not without some alarms, as England ended the day on 96 – 4.

Play on the 5th morning was delayed by 50 minutes, during which time it was announced that Smith would play no further part in the match due to delayed concussion. Under new ICC rules, Marnus Labuschagne was named as a substitute for the first time.

On the pitch though, Stokes and Buttler managed to bat through the entire session before lunch undefeated, as England reached 157 – 4. Buttler went soon after play resumed for 31, caught in the deep off Cummins, but Bairstow joined Stokes at crease, with a clear brief to score runs quickly and set up the declaration. Stokes responded and upped the scoring rate eventually reaching his 7th test century, with Bairstow an excellent foil. England eventually declared on 258 – 5, with Stokes unbeaten on 115, having hit 3 sixes and 11 fours. Bairstow was 31 not out, having struck 2 sixes of his own.

That left Australia a nominal target of 267 to win, although saving the game was their main objective.

However, all thoughts of an Australia victory when Archer took two quick wickets in their second innings, Warner who was caught by Burns, and Khawaja caught behind. Bancroft and Labuschagne steadied matters with a stand of 28, and although Bancroft was lbw to Leach, Labuschagne and Head looked to play matters out with a stand of 85 for the 4th wicket, until Labuschagne was given out caught at mid-wicket off Leach for 59 after a ricochet, although there was some controversy as to whether Root had got a finger underneath it. Leach then struck again in his next over to have Wade caught by Buttler at short-leg.

With time running out, Denly produced a sensational one-handed catch at mid-wicket to get rid of Tim Paine, who mistimed a hook shot off Archer. However, Head and Cummins held out to the close with their side finishing on 154 – 6.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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