The Ashes Day Two: England Back In The Test Despite Short Ball Troubles

England are 138 runs behind Australia, with four wickets down...
18:45, 29 Jun 2023

England enjoyed a positive day at Lord’s to bring themselves back into contention for the second Test at Lord’s. Having dismissed Australia for 416 after a profitable morning session, Ben Stokes’ men finished on 278 for 4, 138 runs behind after day two. 

Despite the progress on a good wicket, England’s batting still came in for criticism as they gave away cheap wickets when in total control. Joe Root lost his wicket for just 10 runs, while Ben Duckett batted superbly, before losing his two runs short of his century. But England will hope to build tomorrow with Stokes and Harry Brook in the middle. 

Importantly, after a poor showing in the field yesterday England made a much brighter start on day two. The early removal of Alex Carey was crucial as Stuart Broad got him out LBW, and from that point, the wickets came regularly. 


Even with stubborn Steve Smith digging in, the momentum stayed with the hosts. Jimmy Anderson finally got off the mark in this series as he got Mitchell Starc caught behind and then the key man finally fell. Smith had batted brilliantly, but on 110 Ben Duckett pulled off a brilliant catch from a Josh Tongue delivery to get him out. 

The Aussies could only add 27 more runs from that point until they were all out for 416, as Ollie Robinson gobbled up the tail. It was a big total, but not disastrous for England given how lacklustre they had been on day one. 

England’s openers settled well, taking them to 90 without loss without any real trouble, but after a drinks break Nathan Lyon got Zak Crawley stumped out on 48. It was a moment's lapse that was capitalised on by Alex Carey and Australia were off the mark. 

However, it wasn’t a wicket that sparked a collapse. Ollie Pope came in and continued where Crawley left off, while Duckett cruised past 50 at the ground that he scored 182 against Ireland just a month ago. 

The pair kept the Aussies at bay while there was a key moment in the field when Nathan Lyon appeared to pull his groin, and went off injured. Given how dangerous he has been, that could be crucial for this Test match. 

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Ollie Pope went big as England went on the attack as he went for the six, but only picked out Steve Smith’s safe hands on the boundary. England were down to 188/2, and Cameron Green managed to tempt him into a shot he didn’t need to play. But that is the Bazball way. 

What was booking like a perfect day for England nearly unfolded as Joe Root was sent walking after he edged behind, but Green’s overstepping rescued him. Brendon McCullum’s men were playing loosely, and having played sensible Test cricket for the majority of the match, started hitting everything. 

Duckett, the man who had acted with such composure had made it onto 98, and with his century looming, pushed it too far. He lifted one up in the air to Warner as this time Josh Hazelwood’s short ball paid off. Australia had switched things up by going short and England just played at everything, wanting to chase down that total. From a position of control, they were once again chasing with three wickets down. 

Root moved into the top ten run scorers of all time as he moved onto 10 but that would be all he got as Smith dived to catch Root and even though replays seemed to show the ball had brusted the ground, this time there was no reprieve. Lost three wickets for 34 runs since the tea break, 

From 181/1, and Lyon off with a calf strain, to 233/4. Once again, England had taken advantage of the position they were in. Instead, they threw it away. Brook continued to attack and got away with one as Labuschagne dropped one, and he made it to 45 as England close the gap before stumps. 

England are likely to come out quickly tomorrow as they try and get on level terms, and Brook is priced at 19/10 to make it to 100 with Betfred. If England can match or beat Australia’s first innings score, they will be delighted. And unless things go perfectly, they’ll be no first innings declaration this time around.

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