Australia took a 2-0 Ashes lead on a highly charged Sunday at Lords, as the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow somewhat overshadowed another thrilling day of cricket. England’s hopes of regaining the urn now look slim, no side has turned around a 2-0 deficit since a Don Bradman inspired Australia as far back as the 1936/37 series.
It was another contest that could have gone either way but England will possibly look at the advantage they squandered on day one added to the position they found themselves on day two with the bat, contriving to be bowled out for 325 after finding themselves 188 for 1 succumbing to short pitched bowling, a theme during the entire match on a flat pitch that was a little two paced at times.
Australia Elected To Bat First
Australia were inserted on a first day under gloomy skies, it felt an excellent toss to win for the England cricket team but in truth they were never quite at it with the ball. Australia played well with the bat with David Warner making 66, Travis Head a belligerent and quickfire 77, and were anchored by Steve Smith ending the day 85 not out to guide the Aussies to 339/5. England were better on day two with the ball taking 77 for 5 to dismiss the visitors for 416 after Smith went on to make his 32nd Test century.
With the bat England made a flying start with some impressive stroke play by Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett. Crawley was the first to gift his wicket to the Australia cricket team, Nathan Lyon getting him stumped for a run a ball 48. England looked to be powering towards a first innings lead, especially when Lyon, the only bowler adding a semblance of control went down with a serious looking calf injury in the 37th over ending his bowling for the match and likely the series. Some pretty brainless cricket saw them lose three wickets in seven overs, and in truth it could have been more such was the reckless approach to a short ball barrage. Duckett played well for 98.
Second Innings – Game In The Balance
Australia made 279 in their second innings setting England an improbable but not impossible 371 for victory. Ushman Khawaja continued his fine start to the series with 77. Remarkably barely able to walk Lyon came out to bat at number 11 to help add 15 runs with Mitchell Starc for the 10th wicket.
England’s chase began in disastrous fashion, reeling at 45 for 4, this time at least due to superb new ball bowling from Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Ben Stokes joined Ben Duckett to restore slim hope by the end of day four England were 114 for 4, Duckett thought he was gone late in proceedings but replays showed the catch from Starc had clearly but scraped along the turf.
On the final day Duckett and Stokes continued to give England hope but after the former fell for 83 came the game’s main talking point. Jonny Bairstow ducked another short ball from Cameron Green in fairly routine fashion then walked down the wicket at the end of the over to speak to his captain. In the meantime wicketkeeper Alex Carey under-armed to the ball at the stumps with Bairstow well out of his ground. The TV umpire deemed the ball live and Bairstow out. Australia upheld the appeal sparking furious scenes at the home of cricket which spilled in the long room at lunch time.
The controversy seemed to spark captain Ben Stokes into life unleashing some huge blows over the legside adding over 100 with Stuart Broad. Memories of Stokes remarkable match winning innings at Headingley in 2019 must have been starting to haunt Australia but this time he had too much to do falling for a magnificent 155, realistically ending England’s hopes. When Starc bowled Josh Tongue Australia still had 43 runs to play with and had secured a commanding lead in the series after another memorable day of Ashes cricket which will be talked about for a long time, but not all for the right reasons. Headingley will see England vs Australia on Thursday for the nezt test, with England with having it all to do to keep the series alive.