England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's June 2, 2011

Dominant England firm favourites at Lord's

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
England's outstanding recent form and strong record at Lord's in the last few years puts the odds firmly in their favour

After a humiliating defeat in the first Test at Cardiff, where they were bowled out for 82 in less than 25 overs in the second innings, Sri Lanka have their task cut out for them when they take on a buoyant England side in the second Test at Lord's. While England struggled to carve out favourable results at Lord's in the 1990s, they have been much more impressive since the start of 2000, winning 12 Tests there and losing three. The last loss for England at Lord's came in the first Test of the 2005 Ashes when they went down by 239 runs. Nothing emphasises their confidence more than the fact that they have won five of their last seven Tests by an innings, including three innings wins in the 2010 Ashes. In their previous Test match at Lord's, England registered a huge win over Pakistan, and will undoubtedly go into the second Test against Sri Lanka as overwhelming favourites. Sri Lanka though, can take consolation from the fact that they have managed to draw their last two Tests at the venue.

In Tests at Lord's since 2000 (excluding matches against Bangladesh and ZImbabwe), England have been the better side overall. They average over 41 runs per wicket compared to visiting teams, who average close to 33. Their triumph in the second Ashes Test at Lord's in 2009 was also their first ever win over Australia at the venue in 75 years. England also have a very good century conversion rate, scoring 21 centuries and 30 fifties at Lord's since 2000. Sri Lanka, who have done fairly well on the batting front, have been very poor with the ball, picking up 21 wickets at an average over 64.

England's record against visiting teams at Lord's since 2000 (excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe)
Team Wins Batting Avg 100/50 100+ stands Wickets taken 5WI/10WM
England 8 41.08 21/30 29 298 10/0
Visiting teams 3 32.97 16/55 23 257 10/2

Ever since their last defeat at Lord's back in 2005, England have been very dominant at the venue. Four of the batsmen in the top five average well over 50 at the venue and even Jonathan Trott, who is in prime form, scored 184 in his only Test at the venue and put on a record 332 for the eighth wicket with Stuart Broad. Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, who along with Trott scored centuries in the first Test at Cardiff, have scored five hundreds between them at Lord's. Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss were the only two batsmen to fail in England's innings in the first Test and will undoubtedly look to draw inspiration from their excellent records at the venue.

For Sri Lanka, who badly need the senior batsmen to step up in the second Test, Mahela Jayawardene's record at Lord's will be extremely reassuring. Jayawardene, the only Sri Lanka batsman to score two centuries at Lord's, has scored 301 runs in four innings at an average over 100 at the venue. Kumar Sangakkara, who along with Jayawardene had a poor first Test, has been less successful at Lord's, with one half-century in four innings.

England's top batsmen at Lord's in Tests since 2005
Batsman Innings Runs Avg 100/50
Kevin Pietersen 15 878 62.71 4/2
Andrew Strauss 16 759 50.60 2/2
Alastair Cook 14 728 56.00 2/5
Ian Bell 10 498 62.25 3/0
Matt Prior 8 323 46.14 1/1

Over the last few years, Lord's has been one of the better tracks for batting in England. Although England have tasted success, visiting teams have been able to forge good partnerships consistently. England's opening partnership has been quite exceptional, averaging over 73 with four century stands. Cook and Strauss have scored nearly 900 runs in 13 innings at an average of 74.66 with three century stands. When the stats at various grounds in England are compared, it is found that the opening-wicket partnership has been most prolific at Lord's. In the same period, the England middle-order partnership stats are significantly better than those of visiting teams.

Partnership stats at Lord's for England and visiting teams (Avg, 100/50 stands) since 2005
Team 1st wicket 2nd wicket 3rd wicket 4th wicket 5th wicket 6th wicket
England 73.22, 4/7 55.72, 4/2 38.11, 0/6 60.93, 4/1 55.50, 4/3 49.40, 2/4
Visiting teams 40.22, 2/4 29.03, 3/0 44.77, 2/6 27.15, 2/1 28.76, 2/3 42.96, 2/5

England will miss the services of James Anderson, who has been very successful at Lord's. In seven Tests since the start of 2005, he has taken 29 wickets at a average of just over 27. Stuart Broad, who bowled quite tidily in the first Test, has not had a great time at Lord's with 16 wickets at nearly 37. Graeme Swann, who picked up 4 for 16 in the Sri Lankan second innings to hasten their collapse, has been exceptional at Lord's. He has 19 wickets in four Tests at an average just over 16 including 9 for 74 against Pakistan in 2010.

Among English grounds, the average runs per wicket is the highest at Lord's. Both pace bowlers and spinners have been equally successful at Lord's with averages close to 35. In contrast, pace bowlers have had the best time at Trent Bridge and Headingley, where they average 26.74 and 29.39 respectively. Spinners have performed superbly at Edgbaston, where they average under 25.

Stats for various venues in England (min five Tests played) since 2005
Venue Matches Runs per wicket Pace (wickets, avg) Spin (wickets, avg)
Lord's 13 35.82 288, 35.23 98, 35.18
The Oval 6 34.67 133, 34.91 55, 33.49
Old Trafford 5 31.65 107, 30.68 55, 30.96
Edgbaston 5 29.49 115, 30.41 46, 24.34
Trent Bridge 5 27.30 130, 26.74 43, 27.39
Headingley 5 31.82 139, 29.39 17, 49.05

In the first Test of the 2005 Ashes at Lord's, Australia won convincingly despite posting only 190 in their first innings. Since then, six matches have been won by the team batting first and only Bangladesh have lost after batting first. The average of 43.25 per wicket in the first innings is by far the highest among all English grounds (min five matches played). In contrast, Edgbaston and Headingley have proved to be the toughest venues in the first innings. The average drops substantially in the second innings at Lord's, and only Trent Bridge has a lower batting average in the second innings. The third and fourth innings have been much better with averages around the 36 mark. In the 2009 Ashes, Australia made an excellent attempt to chase down England's massive target of 522 before falling short by 115 runs. However, it still is very evident from the numbers that the team that wins the toss is likely to bat at Lord's.

Innings-wise stats for various grounds in England (min five matches played) since 2005
Venue 1st innings 2nd innings 3rd innings 4th innings
Lord's 43.25 27.60 36.67 36.77
The Oval 32.83 33.33 35.12 41.03
Old Trafford 35.36 28.75 23.22 45.95
Edgbaston 22.26 30.70 32.15 38.05
Trent Bridge 32.46 24.58 31.79 15.73
Headingley 31.44 38.95 29.08 20.23