Late strikes from Australia leave Lord’s Test evenly poised

Tags: The Ashes 2023, England vs Australia, 2nd Test at London, Jun 28-Jul 02, 2023, Australia, England

Published on: Jun 30, 2023

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England and Australia fought tooth and nail on Day 2 of the second Ashes 2023 Test at Lord’s on Thursday, June 29. At stumps on Day 2, the match was pretty much evenly poised. The day began with Australia resuming their first innings on 339/5. They would have been hoping for 500, but England did well to restrict them to 416, claiming the last five wickets for 77 runs.

Responding to Australia’s first-innings total, England reached 278/4 at close of play in 61 overs. Opener Ben Duckett was the star of the show for the hosts, scoring a fluent 98 off 134 balls. At one point in their innings, England were 188/1, but the Aussies themselves made the strong comeback to pick up three crucial wickets in the last session of play.

Earlier, England openers Zak Crawley and Duckett added 91 at a good pace. The former missed out on what would have been an impressive fifty as he was stumped down leg off Nathan Lyon. Unfortunately, Australia missed the services of the off-spinner as he limped off the field with a possible calf injury.

After Crawley’s exit, Duckett and Pope added 97 runs for the second wicket. However, Australia unsettled England’s rhythm with a well-planned short-ball theory. Pope (42) was the first to fall in the trap, caught off Cameron Green’s bowling. Joe Root could have been dismissed on the same over as he gloved a bouncer, but the bowler did not have any part of his foot behind the line.

Australia, though, soon had more reasons to celebrate. Duckett missed his century as he top-edged a pull of Josh Hazlewood. Root (10) also fell to the short ball. He was superbly caught by Steve Smith off Mitchell Starc’s bowling. Harry Brook got a life when he was on 24 as Marnus Labuschagne put down a catch off Pat Cummins’ bowling. He was unbeaten on 45 at stumps, while skipper Ben Stokes (17*) was giving him company

Earlier, Stuart Broad got England off to a good start with the ball, trapping Alex Carey leg before for 22. James Anderson then dismissed Starc (6), who nicked a full delivery. At the other end, Smith brought up his 32nd Test hundred with a cover drive off Anderson for four. He fell for 110, trying to up the ante against Josh Tongue.

Lyon (7) and Hazlewood (4) both fell to Ollie Robinson, leaving Australian captain Cummins stranded on 22*. The three late wickets by Aussies, however, ensured the Test remained in the balance.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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