It’s pretty simple: Australia’s top order needs to stand up, put a price on their wickets and, most importantly, make some runs.
There’s no use sugar-coating it: the Ashes could be lost already.
Three late strikes for Peter Siddle may have ended the day on an up but everything preceding that wonderful, late spell was disaster upon disaster.
First, England’s last pair put on 48 runs in 40 balls, taking the total past 350, then Australia responded with a mixture of mystifying DRS reviews, poor running and – as is becoming habitual – terrible batting. The net result was a paltry 128 runs and an arrears of 233. No wonder Darren Lehmann had the willow carriers in his crosshairs.
To turn the match around will require all the Aussies’ skill and concentration. Siddle started the comeback well but, in truth, even if England is skittled for 100 or less, few would back Australia’s batting to chase down an already daunting total.
It’s pretty simple: Australia’s top order needs to stand up, put a price on their wickets and, most importantly, make some runs. Michael Clarke is just one of an under-achieving bunch, but as skipper he needs to lead by example. A ton in the second innings would be just the ticket.
QUICK SINGLE: Lord's day two wrap
It’s hard to believe now there was talk of Siddle missing out on selection before the first Test at Trent Bridge. He grabbed eight wickets in that game and, if his first-innings effort at Lord’s was a little uninspiring, his late charge at the English in the second dig breathed life into what seemed to be the corpse of Australia’s 2013 Ashes campaign. Cardiac arrest may still occur on the way to the hospital but if the team can follow Siddle’s determined example (batsmen, I’m looking at you), the ambulance might just arrive on time.
Under the lid
Is it unfair to put the spotlight on a bowler when Australia’s troubles sit so obviously at numbers one through six? Absolutely, but that is the fast bowler’s lot. Anyway, the batsmen won’t get the chance to atone until the bowlers fire the Poms out and this is where James Pattinson comes in. Touted as a menace before the series, Pattinson has been mediocre, particularly at Lord’s. He needs to find some fire and add his own input to the already excellent contributions of Siddle and Ryan Harris if Australia is any chance.
Between the wickets
It’s dry. It’s hot. It’s dusty. It’s the stuff Graeme Swann’s dreams are made of. He didn’t even bowl particularly well and still managed to pick up five wickets so the portents are not great for days four and five (if we make it that far). The good news for Australia’s troika of quicks, however, is that Saturday will be a little cooler and, if predictions are to be believed, cloudier too – conditions conducive to swing and seam and, with any luck, a big fat English collapse.
QUICK SINGLE: Second Ashes Test photo gallery
Bye the way
If the Aussies do get up and win this one, history will be made. The largest first-innings deficit conceded by Australia in an Ashes Test that they won was 177 at Old Trafford in 1961. Gritty left-hand opener Bill Lawry made a century in the second innings . . . an omen for Chris Rogers?
Today’s play is dedicated to… Charlie Turner and John James Ferris.
Mostly because, in the 1888 Lord’s Test, there wasn’t a day three thanks to these two Australian bowlers. Ferris was a left-arm swing bowler while Turner bowled right-arm medium fast. Together, they were lethal as England had previously discovered in Sydney, in 1886-87, when the pair bowled unchanged to dismiss England for 45 runs. In this Lord’s Test, England’s worst fears were realised as the Aussie duo again demolished the locals – twice. Turner took 5/27 and then 5/36, while JJ took 3/19 followed by 5/26. The only other Aussie who even got to roll his arm over was Sammy Woods, who enjoyed four overs, taking 1/6, in the first English innings. The towering figure of WG Grace was the only Englishman to reach double figures twice in the match. Despite making mediocre innings totals of 116 and 60, Australia sauntered to the win inside of two days. England did the only thing possible – when Ferris moved there a few years later, they selected him.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 20 July, 2013 12:20PM AEST