The Ashes took a dramatic turn on the third morning of the second Test at Lord’s, as Australia bowled England out for a first innings score of 325, handing them a 91-run lead.
The 90-minute session was a horror show for the hosts, who lost 6 wickets for 47 runs in what could prove pivotal in deciding the fate of the series.
The Australian bowlers led the charge, in particular Mitchell Starc who helped ensure that the tourists’ first innings total continued to provide a formidable cushion.
Australia made it through a challenging five-over period before lunch unscathed and reached 0-12 as they set their sights on extending their lead further.
Adding an extra layer of drama to the proceedings is the fitness of star spinner Nathan Lyon, whose availability for the rest of the series remains uncertain following a “significant” calf strain. With every over, this thrilling contest continues to unfold.
After the Australian spinner Nathan Lyon was forced to leave the field due to injury in the final session of day two, England squandered a promising position, ending the day on 1-188. Travis Head stepped up for the rest of this Test and took 2-17 as he spearheaded Australia’s push to run through the tail.
The stand-out performer however was undoubtedly Mitchell Starc, who took 3-33 while Lyon was off the field, ensuring a dramatic turn of events in the match. Against his name is an impressive list of scalps: Ben Stokes, Harry Brook and Joe Root, all dismissed during the course of the two day period. It was a wonderful return for Starc, who had been controversially left out of Australia’s side for their incredible two-wicket win at Edgbaston.
England should be ruing what could have been – not simply their collapse but also their carelessness with regards to relinquishing of wickets. With such potential rendered fruitless courtesy of an ill-timed pitch aberration, it will be fascinating to see how they respond come Saturday morning.
Australia capitalized on their short ball strategy against England, snaring another wicket courtesy of a Pat Cummins catch at cover. Stokes (17) was the first to fall in the day’s opening over from Mitchell Starc, and it was Brook’s misfortunate that followed soon after.
On the second evening, three top-order batsmen were caught trying to play the hook shot off Starc. This time, Brook attempted to take on the short ball, backing away and attempting to hit it back down the ground – an attempt that would prove unsuccessful as he was ultimately dismissed for 50.
As the Test match shifted in Australia’s favor, England’s batting lineup quickly succumbed to the pressure. Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad went in short succession, with Cameron Green’s bouncer stunning Broad across the jaw before he was caught lbw by Head. Ollie Robinson followed soon after, being caught behind off a Head delivery. And Josh Tongue’s valiant attempt of fending off Cummins’ (1-46) bouncer proved fruitless, with the last wicket leaving England at an embarrassing score.
Rather than giving Australia a taste of their own medicine by extending their innings and taking advantage of a bowler down, England managed to hang on for only 76.2 overs, losing their final nine wickets in a mere 38.1 overs. This humiliating surrender meant Australia was able to easily regain control heading into the next Test at Headingley – a huge missed opportunity for England.