Seamers give England edge, toss vital
Not since 1992-93 have England gone nine consecutive Tests without a win. They went winless in ten matches in that one-year period and are close to matching that streak, having not won any of the nine they played since their win in the Ashes, in Chester-le-street last year. However, if there was one venue where England would like to play to end this run, it would be Lord's. Like most venues in England in recent times, Lord's has produced results more often than not. Of the 12 Tests played there since 2009, ten have had results.
What will comfort England is that they have won eight of the 11 Tests at Lord's since 2009. The only defeat was against South Africa in 2012. Other than South Africa, Sri Lanka are the only team who have managed, to some extent, to hold their own against the hosts at Lord's in recent times, drawing both their Tests, including the remarkable one last month.
England's record against India at this venue is good too - 11 wins in 16 Tests. India have lost more Tests at Lord's than at any other venue - the most matches a team has lost at an overseas venue (outside the Ashes). The only time India won here was in 1986. Since then, England have won three out of five Tests.
England's fast bowlers have had a major role to play in their team's success at Lord's. In the last five years, James Anderson - who needs only two wickets to pass Ian Botham and become the highest wicket-taker at Lord's - and Stuart Broad have shared 93 wickets between them at this venue at an average of 24.29 and a strike rate of 52.2. However, a decisive factor in England's recent success at Lord's is that the visiting fast bowlers have not been able to match their English counterparts. While England's seamers have taken 163 wickets at an average of 25.92 since 2009, the opposition seamers have conceded 11 runs more apiece for their 129 wickets.
Fast bowlers have done better than spinners at Lord's. Given the helpful conditions, fast bowlers have bowled more and have had greater impact on the matches: in 12 Tests since 2009, they have taken 15 five-fors and two ten-wicket hauls. Spinners have managed only three five-fors. Wickets by seamers have also come cheaper by almost seven runs apiece.
* Australia played Pakistan in a neutral Test at Lord's in 2010
From India's perspective, the best time for their spinners to bowl at the England batsmen would be the final session on the third day and the first two sessions of the fourth day. This is when when spinners have been most effective at Lord's in recent times. Of the 91 wickets taken by spinners since 2009, 41 have come in these three sessions. Spinners have averaged 22.10 during these sessions and have had to bowl around 41 balls for each wicket. In the rest of the match, they have averaged 52.55 and have a strike rate of 94.6.
|Day 3 - session 3, Day 4 - session 1 & 2||12||40||22.10||40.7||3.26|
Given the conditions, England batsmen have not had much trouble against spinners either, and have done much better than their opposition at this venue. In 11 Tests since 2009, England batsmen averaged 39.17 at Lord's, while other batsmen averaged almost 15 runs fewer. Visiting batsmen have only seven hundreds in these 11 Tests, half the number of hundreds England managed during the same time.
Ian Bell and Joe Root have done remarkably well at this venue. Bell has 1205 runs at an average of 57.38 and his last four innings here have produced one hundred and two fifties. Root has scored 512 runs from six innings at an average of 102.40 and two of his last three scores at Lord's are 180 against Australia last summer, and an unbeaten 200 against Sri Lanka last month. Alastair Cook, though, remains a worry for England, given his recent slump in form and also because Lord's hasn't been kind to Cook for some time now. Since the India Test in 2011, Cook has scored 246 runs at this ground at an average of 20.50, with only one fifty-plus score in 12 innings.
England batsmen may have also benefited from batting first regularly on a pitch that is at its best on the first day of the Test. Since 2009, batsmen have averaged 42.49 on the first day at Lord's, a fraction over 14 runs more than the average for the other four days. Batsmen average the worst on the fourth day of the Test, scoring just over 26 for every wicket. Of the eight Tests England have won here in the last five years, they batted first in seven. They batted second in the only Test they lost - to South Africa. In the last ten Tests with a result at Lord's, nine have been won by teams batting first.
|Day of play||Runs||Dismissals||Ave||SR|
Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com