Ashes Second Test Preview: It’s not all doom and gloom

 In Ashes, Cricket

Let’s face it, the first Ashes test did not end well for England.

However, the first 2 sessions at Edgbaston were a sign of what England can do to the Australian batsman when there’s a bit of life in the wicket. If Steve Smith had have nicked one of the endless plays and misses, the Australians could have been 140 all out and it would have been a completely different test match.

Obviously that that didn’t happen, and yes, England couldn’t get Steve Smith out, but Lords will hopefully be different.

There is talk of a lot of grass being left on the pitch which should benefit both sets of bowlers, but especially England’s attack in their quest to remove the world’s best batsman. The former-Australian captain has struggled in the past on pitches that do a bit, and England will need as much help as they can get for all five days. That’s even before worrying about their own top order.

The inclusion of Jofra Archer would have probably have happened without the injury to James Anderson.  The England seam attack at Edgbaston, albeit a man down and a battling dead pitch in the second innings, was rather one dimensional. Archer’s extra yard of pace on green seamer, and slope, at the Home of Cricket could be just what the hosts need.

If it’s going to be green then a spinner is naturally not as threatening. Lyon had the metal on Moeen in the first test where the latter bowled poorly on a wicket that turned square. The Worcestershire all-rounder today announced that he’s  taking a short break from cricket. The inclusion of Jack Leach should at least give the seamers a breather if he can tie up an end.

What will the Australians do? Will Mitchell Starc play or will they go unchanged? Smith definitely helped paper over some serious cracks in the batting. The top three looked scratchy and only Travis Head, Matthew Wade and bowler Peter Siddle looked capable of assisting their indomitable talisman. Each Aussie batsman looked vulnerable when exposed to the moving ball and losing three wickets cheaply at Lord’s could be catastrophic.

Despite his captaincy, Tim Paine is on borrowed time. An England victory at Lord’s where Paine struggles again could be curtains for the Aussie skipper and throw up a leadership decision that they definitely wouldn’t want to make halfway through an Ashes series.

For England, Jason Roy needs a score, especially after the shot (yes that one) that started the second innings collapse at Edgbaston. It will only take one good knock to set him up for the series. Rory Burns’s maiden test century will give him plenty of confidence that he had been desperately missing. Joes Root and Denly looked relatively composed without making a massive impact. It could well be a low scoring, rain affected, game at Lord’s and a significant score from any of England’s top order could just be the difference.

It’s not all doom and gloom. England went one-nil down in 2005, and we all know what happened then.

So now for the real question, how do we get Steve Smith out?

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