The Ashes 2019 – Second Test, Day 2: Swings, tension and everything good about test match cricket


It wasn’t quite the classic first day of a Lord’s st match, but it still encapsulated everything good about Ashes cricket.


The mind games began early on the second day when Paine decided to send in the frail Poms batting line up. The pitch had been brewing for a whole day under the rain-soaked covers – would the pitch that was uncovered be a green monster or a placid dry wicket?


It was hard to tell early, as Hazlewood’s return coincided with the accurate bowler using his favourite aid – the Lord’s slope. Decking his outswingers down the drop, Roy’s aggressive game wasn’t set for a grinding innings, and the big New South Welshmen gave the Aussies the perfect start. Cummins continued on his excellent form from the second innings at Edgbaston, but couldn’t get the wicket he deserved. Instead, Hazlewood showed why he should be a mainstay in the line up, setting up Root with the classic ‘three out-swingers and then one-swinger’ system that always has batsmen fooled.


The Poms were reeling at 2-26, Hazlewood looking untouchable and Cummins hitting the bat with reeling force. But Siddle’s first change spell wasn’t as unnervingly accurate as what we had come to expect, with his first over going for 13. Like the class bowler he is, he steadily found his rhythm and deserved the wicket of Burns; his edge bounced straight off Khawaja’s chest.


Burns, enjoying the enormous amount of luck he’d received in Ashes cricket so far, looked set once again to plunder a ton alongside the helping hand of Denly come lunch. But Hazlewood was always waiting in the wings, and his burly frame came back on and undid Denly immediately. Buttler, much like Root, came in at a time where his defensive technique was going to be severely tested. Despite some nice drives, he was a sitting duck for Siddle, who nagged in the right channel for long enough. He deserved a wicket – Paine had also dropped Burns off his bowling. Good things come to those who persist.


Bancroft broke the game open with one of the better bat pad catches seen. Steve Waugh’s pre-series moniker of Bancroft being the best bat pad fielder he’d seen appeared astute when the opener got a hand to a Burns fend off, only to keep following it and grasp a one-handed screamer just inches off the ground. For all of Burns’, he couldn’t keep living like a cat with nine lives. Not with an Aussie side roaring for his wicket.


After this, Stokes and Bairstow had to be the rocks. Stokes, always a thorn in Australia’s side, looked ominious with some assertive sweeps off Lyon, who was struggling with the slope. But, just when you think Lyon is out of the game, he bites back with deft smarts and accurate bowling. He set up Stokes and suddenly the tail was oh-so-close.


The Aussies persisted, but the two Englishmen weren’t going down once more without a whimper. Bairstow began to play straight well, his footwork much quicker and decisive than what the Irish and Aussies have exploited recently. He found confidence, and then played some crisp reverse-sweeps and flicks off the bowlers. Woakes was a solid companion until he was sent packing after a wonderful Cummins out-swinger.


Despite England appearing to settle before both breaks, the Aussies found ways to make the ball swing after the intervals. The English tail tried to help Bairstow with some hefty swings, but were quickly bowled out. Hazlewood instilled a ruthless edge for the Aussies, while Siddle improved as the day went on and Cummins bowled superbly. Lyon, in different conditions to Edgbaston, toiled cleverly.


With not many overs to bat, the Aussies looked to get off to a perfect start. Broad had other ideas. He bowled a fiery spell before the close, capped off by a searing inswinger that beat Warner and ripped off the bails. Khawaja played fluently, increasing in confidence as he scored off the dangerous openers who bowled some searing balls. Both him and Bancroft survived to day three, with the game intriguingly poised for a massive day of Ashes cricket.



For more of Sean’s writing, click here:


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


Leave a Comment