The Ashes 2013: 2nd Test at Lord's - 5 key contests to watch out for
The Ashes move to the home of cricket for the second Test match after England took a 1-0 lead in the series with a 14-run victory at Trent Bridge.
Lord’s has been a hospitable venue for the Australians who have won 16 of their 36 matches, losing only 6 matches here. However, England’s recent record at the venue is only tarnished by a single loss to South Africa last year excepting which they have won every Test played here since 2005.
Meanwhile, the Queen and bright sunshine are expected to arrive on Day 1 as English summer finally feels like one and that would make the Australians more comfortable. The surface at Lord’s is expected to be dry but with a sufficient amount of pace and bounce to excite the quicks.
The wicket at Lord’s has the tendency to ease out in favour of the batsmen as we approach Day 3. It will be intriguing to see which way the fortunes incline at the toss.
Both the teams have had a bit of thinking to do ahead of the game. According to the news reports, Australia will be leaving out Ed Cowan after his disappointing performance with the bat in the first match. Usman Khawaja who averages just below 30.0 in his 6 Test matches and has only a fifty to his name will be replacing him.
Australia will also tweak their bowling attack, leaving out Mitchell Starc whose contributions were restricted to small energetic bursts in the first Test. The replacement is Ryan Harris in the reports as of now, but Australia also have option of choosing either Jackson Bird or James Faulkner.
England, on the other hand, have the tough task of making a call on Steven Finn, but he might get another chance as he is familiar with conditions at Lord’s.
Here are five contests that we can watch out for at the 2nd Test:
5. Graeme Swann vs Steven Smith
Steven Smith repaid the team think-tank in some sense with his performance in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
He did not put up a match-winning performance, but he applied himself to a difficult task of rescuing Australia from a top-order meltdown in both the innings.
He was especially good in the last session of the first day when he ensured that Australia did not suffer further damage by the close of the day. He attempted to unsettle Graeme Swann by using his feet and succeeded. The off-spinner got his revenge in the second innings as he trapped Smith leg-before wicket.
The battle will be renewed at Lord’s.