The second Test is quickly upon us and for good as the enthralling contest at Trent Bridge left us wanting more.
England managed to close out a narrow victory by 14 runs at Nottingham, but they were given a wake up call considering most critics had ruled out Australia even before the first ball was bowled.
It is being termed a moral victory for the Australians and captain Michael Clarke too preferred to look at it in a similar way. “I hope we’ve earned a bit of respect by the way we’ve played,” he said at a post-match press interview. Even the most ardent supporter of English cricket would tell you that they had their heart in mouth when Brad Haddin and James Pattinson walked out to bat in the post-lunch session with only 20 runs to get.
It is not as if Australia do not have any concerns ahead of the 2nd Test. They relied heavily on their lower-middle order for runs, and that has to be changed. Ed Cowan’s place is already under the scanner after he failed in both innings, whereas captain Michael Clarke has not lit the competition on fire as yet.
Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson have not made the kind of impact that they had hoped for, and better performance will be expected from the bowling department. If that was not enough substance to worry about, Mickey Arthur’s comments about a radical split in the Australian camp would do the necessary. It has got the tongues wagging once again and as much as the team management tries, it is difficult to insulate the team completely.
The atmosphere of the Ashes, the grandeur and expectations that come with the occasion, can bring the team together as they try to iron out the flaws to forge a winning team. Here is a list of five reasons why they can level the series with a triumph at Lord’s:
5. Holes in English batting-order
The Australian players were quick to admit to their underdog status ahead of the Ashes, but that would have considerably changed now that they have exposed a few chinks in the armour of their arch-rivals. England have a few vulnerable areas in their batting line-up which Australia can exploit.
Joe Root is not a tried-and-tested commodity batting at the top of the order against the swinging ball and his lack of runs in the first Test would have had an impact on his confidence. The early-loss of wicket can expose the middle order.
Moreover, Jonny Bairstow does not have many runs under his belt, and the Ashes is not a good place to try and find your form. Matthew Prior disappointed with the bat in both the innings and his last outing at Lord’s against New Zealand saw him getting a pair.