The Ashes Day Five: Australia Seal Second Test In Chaotic Final Day At Lord’s

Australia won the second test by 43 runs, despite the best efforts of Ben Stokes.
16:23, 02 Jul 2023

Australia moved into a 2-0 series lead over England after a 43-run victory at Lord’s in a chaotic, controversial and, at times, ill-tempered affair. 

England’s lacklustre showing towards the end of day four of the second Ashes test meant that Ben Stokes and Ben Duckett headed out of the pavilion with more hope than ambition to get a result for England, who were chasing Australia’s score of 371. 

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The day started with the England duo withstanding Australia’s early bouncers, Duckett continuing to avoid leaving any ball that came his way, and his captain starting to put together some singles to rack up the score.

The first wicket fell but was overturned as Stokes was adjudged to have been caught by an LBW by Mitchell Starc, but the big screen revealed to the crowd that he’d edged it onto his own pad, leaving the duo in after 138 runs. 

As if it’s a running gag, the drinks break did see England lose Duckett’s wicket in the following over. Duckett’s ambitious efforts were finally punished after he attempted to punish a high ball but edged it to wicket-keeper Alex Carey. Jonny Bairstow was his replacement as England required 194 runs. 

Bairstow’s time at the crease was short, something that also led to his dismissal. He brought up a score of 10 runs, all while leaving his crease with haste after nearly every delivery. Carey spotted his rapid exits and after Bairstow left a Cameron Green bouncer, the wicket-keeper rolled one back towards the wicket in one motion and sent Jonny on his way, much to the anguish of the partisan crowd. It was controversial, it was cheeky but it’s what can win test matches at the highest level. 

As if he was spurred on by the incident, Stokes stepped up to the plate alongside Stuart Broad. From the 54th to the 57th over, the skipper went from 78 to 108, smashing 23 runs from an over against Green, nailing three consecutive sixes along the way. If there was a man who was going to get England close to winning, it was destined to be Ben Stokes.

Australia were greeted by the clubhouse with boos of the ill-tempered patrons who were less than pleased by Bairstow’s dismissal as well as the time-wasting antics to get them through to a break. Usman Khawaja and David Warner were singled out and members of staff were needed to separate members of Lords’ long room and the Aussie stars. As a result, the Australian management have requested an investigation into the events that occurred during their walk through the long room, with accusations of verbal abuse and some physical altercations. 

The chaos wasn’t interrupted much after lunch. The first over back saw Stokes hammer a six on the second ball, before launching one straight up for Steve Smith to catch. Instead, Australia’s star couldn’t stop the ball from bouncing out of his hands. 

Stokes and Broad plugged away to bring England under the ‘100 runs to go’ mark, with Broad tailing overs and letting Stokes go for the boundaries, which he did with varied success. Hazlewood and Cummins remained in the attack for Australia, continuously heckled by the England crowd in attendance. 

With 79 runs needed to win, and the Stokes-Broad partnership sitting on 99, England became the bookmakers’ favourites to win this game. The boundaries were being found and Broad was surviving relatively comfortably as Australia turned to Green once more. The runs were slowly ticking over for the next hour for England but the batters were surviving. 

As England hit 301, it was time for Australia to claim a wicket. Ben Stokes fell in the second over after drinks, following a shot that saw him send an edged ball into the sky, and Carey had plenty of time to get underneath it. Hazlewood adds the biggest hitter of the series to his tally, with Ollie Robinson joining broad on the pitch with 70 to go. 

Robinson didn’t outstay his welcome by any means. A quick single with Broad was all he managed to grab on his time at bat. He attempted to make a big strike towards the legside boundary but he was caught by Smith, atoning for his earlier error with Stokes.

The wickets kept coming. Broad was next to fall after skewing a pull straight up into the hands of Green. Any hope that Stokes had restored was gone and it was a matter of time before England went 2-0 down in the series. James Anderson stepped up to the crease alongside Josh Tongue, 69 runs to get, one wicket remaining.

Astonishingly, the two tailenders were putting some of England’s better batsmen to shame. Anderson was defending shots and grabbing singles with comfort, and Tongue was moving around the stumps, finding the angle of attack and grabbing some doubles and even the odd boundary. By 4pm, Tongue was up to nine runs and Jimmy was up to two. 

Mitchell Starc finally claimed the winning wicket. Tongue had success when attacking the bouncing ball, but this time Starc managed to find the inside edge and the ball crashed into the stumps, drawing an end to proceedings. 

Australia were worthy winners after England’s torrid batting throughout the series. Stokes’ valiant effort to keep them in the game ended up being in vain, but the crowd should be pleased with the entertainment they got to see over the five days. The talk will no doubt remain on the Bairstow dismissal, with the atmosphere at Headingley expected to be a powder keg as England look to prevent a 3-0 drubbing. 

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