The track at Lord’s provided the bowlers with the opportunity to exhibit their skills at which they are well-equipped.
While Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins kept the length more on the goodish and shortish outside off, Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer kept it fuller enough, and both of them looked extremely dangerous.
Even though Joe Root was undone by a fullish nip-backer, but their length remained the same throughout England’s first innings. Root needs to have a look at his back lift. I think the bat is not coming down straight enough, which is hampering the co-ordination.
The morning session had never been easy for this fragile English top order, who were reminded of Glenn MacGrath as Hazlewood consistently put the ball on a shot and good length outside offstump – the outside edge was targeted and England succumbed.
Except for Rory Burns. That bat hung in the air, the head position not right and feet hardly pointed towards the area where he played shots. The bulk of his runs came through that extra-cover region, and Australia were quick to pick his weak point – short of a length targeting the middle and leg stump. It paid off.
England wobbled until Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes joined together to resuscitate the innings. Bairstow read the much better and his bat came down a lot straighter with the progress of time. Had he not displayed resolve, he would have been a walking wicket because at the start the shakiness against Australian disciplined length was evident.
So did Woakes bat with enough resolve as well. Interestingly, only four men in Test history have more wickets and more runs at Lord’s than Chris Woakes; Ian Botham, Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, and Moeen Ali.
258 is a fighting total on this track. If England can overcome the Smith factor on Day 3, they can smile at the end of this Test.