England v Australia, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's July 17, 2013

England can be confident of second success

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Match facts

Thursday, July 18, Lord's
Start time 1100 (1000 GMT) First day: 1115 (1015 GMT)

Big Picture

Anyone arriving back from a remote location having missed the first Test will look at the series score and shrug their shoulders in acceptance of a thoroughly anticipated result. That might have been the best way to watch the first Test because it produced an outrageously tense match. Public Health England are considering issuing a warning in light of leaping blood pressure caused by just over four days at Trent Bridge.

It need not have been the case. Twice in the match, Australia were one ball away from oblivion. At 117 for 9 their worst fears about their batting order had been realised and had Ashton Agar been given out stumped when on just 6, a first-innings deficit of 85 would surely have resulted in a crushing defeat. That almost ensued anyway, when Australia were nine down with another 80 needed to win.

England can take great confidence from the fact that they largely outplayed Australia and, in Jimmy Anderson and Ian Bell, produced the two outstanding performances of the match, something Michael Clarke admitted meant England deserved to win. Australia scrapped away with Peter Siddle and Brad Haddin and looked to be getting on top with Agar and Mitchell Starc but it transpired that they didn't have enough quality to beat England. In that regard, the first Test went to form.

England now have the chance to take a giant stride towards retaining the Investec Ashes on a ground where they have become very successful in recent years with only one Test defeat - to South Africa last summer - since the 2005 Ashes. Australia will hope to rekindle their love affair with the Home of Cricket, having enjoyed a 71-year unbeaten run there from 1938 to 2009. But only four of their squad have previously played a Test at Lord's.

Their task could be very difficult because they look short of runs and plenty will be needed during a very hot week in London. They do have potential to work with - the opening partnership of Shane Watson and Chris Rogers showed promise, Steve Smith appeared in decent touch, Phillip Hughes looked a different player against Graeme Swann and the lower-order demonstrated how dangerous they can be - but they must produce for Australia to be competitive. It will be interesting to see how they come out of Trent Bridge; buoyed at having run England so close or nervous with the knowledge that the top six averaged 28.63 per wicket?

England will know that second fact but must ensure the make-up of their bowling attack is correct. Steven Finn proved somewhat of a liability at Trent Bridge, particularly as his second-innings spell sparked a counterattack. Tim Bresnan's greater control - an economy rate of 2.96 to Finn's 3.65 - and ability with reverse-swing may have served them better and he is the main option to replace Finn at Lord's. But Finn loves Lord's, his home ground. Can England leave out a bowler who has, excluding Bangladesh, taken 20 wickets at 20.60 in four Tests at Lord's?

Form guide

England: WWWDD
Australia: LLLLL

Players to watch

Kevin Pietersen loves Lord's. The grandeur of the place sits well with his character. It is also a jolly good pitch to bat on and Pietersen averages 61.40 in 14 Lord's Tests. He's played majestically at HQ - taking on Australia during his debut in 2005, belting South Africa for 152 in 2008 and producing one of his best innings, 202 not out against India in 2011. Pietersen was dropped from last year's grand week at Lord's and should be purring at the chance to reclaim the stage. He showed some form in a second-innings fifty at Trent Bridge. Australia beware.

The closest Australia have to Pietersen is Michael Clarke, albeit with less of a swagger but nevertheless a man for the big occasion. Clarke has to lead from the front in a manner that Alastair Cook managed for England in India - prove that runs can be scored. Australia need to know that England can be resisted and Clarke needs to be the man. He is the sole survivor from 2005, where he made a second-innings 91 to take the game away from England, and made 136 in 2009, albeit in a second innings where Australia were always sliding to defeat.

Team news

England's only decision is whether Finn keeps his place. His record at Lord's is excellent, and England like different style bowlers and Finn is the only tall quick in their squad. But Alastair Cook has said England are not afraid to change a winning side and Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions could replace Finn.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn, 11 James Anderson.

Australia have two main questions to ask. Do they retain Ed Cowan, who looked out of touch at Trent Bridge? And do they tinker with the bowling attack? The likely scenario is that Cowan will make way for Usman Khawaja, while Ryan Harris appears set to replace Mitchell Starc.

Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steve Smith, 6 Phillip Hughes, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Ashton Agar, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 James Pattinson.

Pitch and conditions

There's a heatwave in the UK and the temperature will remind the Australians of home. It's also likely to produce another very dry pitch but expect more pace and bounce than Trent Bridge. Lord's tracks have often got flatter as the match has progressed.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia have a superb record at Lord's with 16 victories and six defeats in 36 Tests, including victories over South Africa in 1912 and Pakistan in 2010.
  • From 1953 to 1985 there were only three results in 10 Tests between England and Australia, including the Centenary Test of 1980.
  • England are aiming to win their 50th Test at Lord's. They have lost 28 and drawn 47 at HQ.
  • Matt Prior has 37 Test dismissals at Lord's, the joint-most with Alec Stewart and Godfrey Evans.
  • Steve Waugh, who scored 231 runs in four Tests at Lord's, including a century, will ring the bell before the start of play on day one.

Quotes

"Obviously you try and be as loyal as you can to your players but on the other hand you always pick a side you think can win the Test."
Alastair Cook leaves his options open for England's XI in the second Test

"Darren has been outstanding in galvanising us and at bringing up together and we showed everyone that at Nottingham."
Michael Clarke, swats away any suggestions of divisions in the Australian camp

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • H_Z_O on July 18, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @andrew-schulz the complaint about Agar's stumping was an identical decision in the Champions Trophy final went the other way. And several Australian fans have commented that Agar was almost certainly out.

    Not sure how you can call the Broad decision the worst in Test history either. Guess you didn't see Clarke smash the ball onto his thigh pad, caught by Cook at short-leg and given not out by Tony Hill in Adelaide? The only difference? England still had a review, reviewed it, and it was given out. Still wouldn't call that the worst either.

    People seem to have been conned by the massive deflection off Haddin's gloves, so they think it was a huge edge with a big deflection to slip. It wasn't, Broad edged it onto Haddin's gloves, it was actually a very fine edge. There was still, imho, enough deviation even before the ball hit the gloves to see the edge, but it's been made to look more obvious than it was by that deflection off Haddin's gloves.

  • Shaggy076 on July 18, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Let's hope that Khawaja takes this lucky break and delivers something. His form is average had opportunities before and India time to show if you can cope at this level and that means performing straight away because Warner is currently getting a chance to push his case as well.

  • H_Z_O on July 18, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @Jono Makim actually, Tino Best is probably the worst piece of evidence you could use. Neither Broad nor Anderson played in that match. However, a much better stat is that in recent Tests Australia's last four wickets have put on, in reverse order:

    70, 133, 100, 164, 20, 20, 110, 76 in India

    124, 118, 47, 56 against South Africa

    Meanwhile, the last four wickets in recent Tests matches against England have put on, in reverse order:

    66, 92, 39, 30 by New Zealand in England

    70, 65, 134 by New Zealand in New Zealand

    38, 125, 86, 50, 158, 75 by India in India

    So the idea that Australia "can't" keep getting runs from their bowlers against us is ridiculous. I'm sure you'll be wanting runs from the top order too, I'm not sure many sides win too many Tests where the lower order has to keep getting the runs, but it would be foolish to write off Australia based on the fact their bowlers scored most of their runs at Trent Bridge.

  • dummy4fb on July 18, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    I think Bresnan for Finn is a mistake. Finn's record at Lord's, his home ground, is impressive. Bresnan on the other hand has not performed well since his injury. His batting, which might be considered to give him the edge, has also fallen off.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 18, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    @mcheckley (post on July 18, 2013, 8:04 GMT): Yup, very tough choice. But I disagree with you (and selectors) that the ultimate decision should be made based on batting. 20 wickets wins the match, therefore the chance should ALWAYS be given to the bowler most likely to feature amongst the bowling performance - be that wickets or good support at an end, especially when England are dead-set on 6-1-4 formations. At Lords, the nod should go towards Finn; on a lot of other grounds I'd be screaming for Bresnan.

  • Jayzuz on July 18, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Lots of parochial stuff here from English supporters. I see nothing to vindicate the air of arrogant superiority this article presents. Winter and these supporters are still following a script that is 3 years old, and refuse to acknowledge the reality of things as they stand today. These will be close and hard fought games by two evenly matched teams. Australia will take the series in Australia, I predict.

  • CurlyGibson on July 18, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    I think "largely outplayed Australia" is pretty generous, if not parochial. They won by 15 runs - DRS issues aside. They were outplayed in the first innings by quite a margin and in both innings couldn't finish the job, with No. 11s running riot. I think Australia are stronger without Cowan, and much more confident. Australia will level a very close series at Lords.

  • CurlyGibson on July 18, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    I really don't understand these predictions of a huge England win - with their "if not for two big last-wicket partnerships...". The facts are: England were outplayed in the 1st Test first innings by quite a way, and they outplayed Australia in the second dig by slightly more. What position certain players were batting is not relevant. As anyone who watched the match knows - Ashton Agar is not a No.11. So the players count - not their positions. More facts: a real number 11 with a batting partner nearly stole the game in the second innings. That means that England couldn't get them out. It will be a nail biter of a series - and every Test will fluctuate. That's what Ashes is so great!!

  • Potatis on July 18, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    My best wishes go to Harris, I hope he bowls very well. I would have much preferred Bird, but anyway Harris is worthy and maybe Harris might have a rest next game.

  • Rooboy on July 18, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Good comment Andrew-schulz. What relevance is the Agar non stumping, and yet no mention of the decision which decided the match in england's favour. I would think that getting close with the top order averaging 28 is a good sign, does the author really think they'll average less this match?! We've replaced a walking wicket with Khawaja, who should be as hungry for runs as one can be. Ahh what's the point. Even when Aus win it will still just be written off as luck. Although who cares. I'll be happy when Aus are 'lucky' holders of the Ashes in less than 12 months. Bring it on