Dropped chances, DRS drama could haunt Australians
Tourists let wickets go begging during final session on day four as second Test hangs in the balance
Sam Ferris at Lord's
18 August 2019, 07:49 AM AEST
If Australia fail to win to win the second Test at Lord's they will rue a number of missed opportunities in the final session on day four.
David Warner dropped two chances at first slip – one off paceman Peter Siddle and another from off-spinner Nathan Lyon – while the Australians failed to review two lbw appeals that would have brought wickets.
The let-offs left Australia coach Justin Langer visibly frustrated as he watched the action unfold from the dressing room balcony and they could come back to haunt his side as they push for victory on day five.
Langer's side missed a number of reviews in the first Test at Edgbaston which ultimately did not cost the tourists the victory.
But Langer says if his side does not improve in that aspect of the game, it could potentially even decide the Ashes.
"We talked about it, we talked about how we can get better at it and we missed a couple today so we're aware of it, obviously the whole world's aware of it or anyone who watched the game of cricket's aware of it now because it's right there," Langer said after play.
"It's frustrating, there's no doubt about that. It can change a game, it can change a session, it can change a Test match, it could change a series.
"We're aware of it and we need to get better at it."
The missed chances started when Warner, standing at first slip, dropped a low catch off Siddle to give Joe Denly a life on seven.
Siddle, who had two catches dropped off his bowling in the first innings, took matters into his own hands, literally, as he pouched a sharp return catch to remove Denly for 26.
An over after Warner put down Denly, Australia opted not to review an lbw shout off Lyon that would have brought an end to Rory Burns' innings on 24.
Playing back to Lyon, Burns was struck on the back pad in front of leg-stump. Captain-keeper Tim Paine and Lyon contemplated a review mid-pitch but gestured the ball was sliding down leg.
However, ball-tracking revealed Lyon's delivery would have hit leg stump.
Ben Stokes, promoted to No.5, then had three slices of luck in the space of four overs.
Facing Lyon, Stokes edged a beautiful off-break that flew between Paine and Warner at first slip, and three balls later Lyon again found the left-hander's outside edge, only this time it carried to a diving Warner who grassed the chance to his extreme left. As Warner got up he slammed the ground in frustration, the opening batsman clearly disappointed with his efforts filling in for Steve Smith in the close-catching position; the former skipper was off the field getting x-rays to be cleared of a fracture after being struck by a searing Jofra Archer bouncer in the left forearm earlier in the day.
Lastly, Stokes survived a non-review in the same vein as the Burns reprieve. Lyon and Paine were less enthusiastic about taking a review, but ball-tracking once again showed the ball hitting leg stump.
With Australia still needing six wickets to set up a thrilling final-day run chase, Langer is confident his charges can take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way on Sunday.
"We've caught well for a really long time now," Langer said. "We've missed a few this Test match.
"We've got to make sure we grab them tomorrow.
"I'm sure there will be six more opportunities that come.
"We'll make sure we're ready for those opportunities and then if that does happen and we have a chance at a run chase we've got to stay nice and calm, depending on how much time we've got left, stay nice and calm, (on a) very fast outfield (with) great value for your shots and hopefully a great run chase if we can take those six wickets."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval