By BV Swagath
Part time leggie Steven Smith got the ball to bite on Day 1 itself to take three key wickets to help Australia reduce England to 289 for 7. Smith got the important wickets of Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior as England slipped away from an otherwise solid position of 271 for 4 after Tea. Ian Bell scored an 18th Test century and Jonny Bairstow scored a half century to put England in control in the final session before Steven Smith came in to bowl.
After Tea, Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow continued to bat through smoothly. With the second new ball time nearing, Michael Clarke decided to bring on Steven Smith who bowled a lousy full toss which was hit for a boundary but produced a beautiful leg break the very next ball which turned and bounced to force Ian Bell to edge it to slip. Bell scored 109 from 211 balls with 16 fours while adding 144 runs for the 5th wicket.
Jonny Bairstow (67 from 146 balls with 7 fours) was caught and bowled off a dipping full toss from Steven Smith in the 81st over. Again it was Clarke’s gamble of continuing with Smith that paid off despite the second new ball being available. Smith (6) struck again when he had Matt Prior under edging a cut shot to the keeper in the 85th over.
Australia did take the second new ball in the 88th over. The pair of Tim Bresnan (7*) and night watchman James Anderson (4*) saw off the tricky few balls before Stumps.
Update at Tea on Day 1: England were lucky to go to Tea with only four wickets down. The hosts could have lost a fifth wicket when Bairstow was bowled neck and crop by Siddle but the bowler had overstepped to give a major relief for the batsman. The hosts lost only a wicket to go to Tea at 183 for 4 in 53 overs.
Ian Bell is batting solidly on 62* from 131 balls with 9 fours. Bairstow is on 28* from 70 balls with 3 fours. The only wicket to fall post lunch was that of Jonathan Trott, who was caught at deep backward squareleg playing a short arm jab pull off Ryan Harris. Trott scored 58 from 87 balls with 11 fours while putting up a crucial stand of 99 with Bell.
Update at Lunch on Day 1: The Warwickshire duo of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell steadied the ship for England with an unbroken 52-run stand for the fourth wicket in the opening session of the Second Ashes Test. The session belonged to Australia as their fast bowlers claimed three early wickets to leave the hosts on the backfoot.
First success for the tourists came in the 5th over when a freak bowling change from Clarke of introducing Shane Watson worked like gold. England Skipper Alastair Cook (12) was lbw to a late inswinger which skidded through to have him plumb in front of middle. An over later, Ryan Harris with a beautiful inswinger struck the pad of Joe Root (6) who was playing well outside the line. Root took a review with a doubt that he had got an inside edge which he did but the ball had first struck the pad in front of off and middle.
Ryan Harris took his second wicket in the same over he dismissed Root when he had the big fish Kevin Pietersen (2) nicking behind a late away swinger to Haddin. England were in serious trouble at 28 for 3 when Trott (34* from 62 balls with 6 fours) and Bell (23* from 62 balls) got together to see them through at 80 for 3 in 26 overs at lunch.
Toss and Teams: England has won the toss and elected to bat first in the Second Ashes Test at Lord’s. The hosts have replaced Steven Finn with Tim Bresnan. Australia has made two changes with Usman Khawaja and Ryan Harris replacing Ed Cowan and Mitchell Starc respectively.
England: Alastair Cook (C), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonathan Bairstow, Matt Prior (WK), Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Australia: Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Usman Khawaja, Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke(c), Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (WK), Ashton Agar, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris