The first test at Trent Bridge was an extremely close contest and many thought the test at Lords would be no different. However, England were a class apart and controlled the test match in just about every session. England dominated with both bat and ball, but the match belonged to young Joe Root who was rightly awarded the man of the match award.
England took first guard and looked to be in trouble early on as Ryan Harris ran through the middle order. Ian Bell was the man who once again came and steadied the ship, making another well compiled century. England put 361 on the board and then Graeme Swann took 5 wickets to bundle out Australia for a paltry 128 giving England a huge lead.
England had the opportunity to enforce the follow on but Captain Alistair Cook wanted to grind the Aussies into the dust by making a decision to bat again. England had a shaky start but Joe Root notched up his first century at Lords and got able support from Bresnan and Bell. Root played with caution but made sure he put the bad balls away. He went on to make 180 and by that time England had a lead in excess of 580. There was no way for Australia to come back and win the match and a draw meant they had to bat over 5 sessions, something that was highly unlikely considering how they performed in the first innings.
Khawaja and Clarke had a good partnership with both batsmen making fifties but it was that man Root again who removed both of them with his off spin. Cook must be absolutely delighted with the performance of Root who showed that he not only has great composure as a batsman but also potential as an off spinner.
Australia will be happy that Khawaja and Clarke have spent some time out in the middle. Siddle and Harris have proved that they are experienced and reliable. Yet the batting performances of Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Steve Smith have been far from impressive. However, Coach Darren Lehman does not have a lot to work with and might end up persisting with the same team for the third test.
During the post match press conference, Captain Michael Clarke said “Our performance with the bat in the first innings was unacceptable. The wicket was very good for batting, we had a great opportunity and we let ourselves down. We’ve got plenty of experience in our top seven, we’ve seen already in this series that guys can score runs against this attack. Our shot selection was poor and we just didn’t have the discipline that England had. England were willing to bat for long periods and graft through the tough times – and we certainly weren’t in that first innings.””
Australia was outplayed in all departments and have to seriously regroup if they are to come back in the third test. It looks highly unlikely that the Aussies will be able to win the Ashes as they now have to win three tests in a row to take the urn.
England have done well but Captain Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott need to get amongst the runs. Tim Bresnan who replaced Steven Finn did reasonably well and should play in the third test. The only cause for concern is Kevin Pietersen who did not take the field in the second innings as he has a calf injury. However, since the third test starts in 10 days time, England will be hoping that KP recovers in time to help England make it 3-0 and win the Ashes again.