Friday, July 19, 2013

England vs Australia

Australian captain Michael Clarke will have his eyes firmly set on taking the final three English wickets in the first session of the second Ashes Test.

The home side looked set to be in a very strong position at the close of play on day one, thanks to Ian Bell’s third Ashes century in a row, and the 19th for his career.

The classy number five batsman for the Three Lions showed how easy batting on the Lords pitch might become on the second and third days, with his 109 featuring 16 boundaries.

With crisply struck cuts, pulls and drives, Bell was the backbone for his side’s innings as others made handy scores around him.

Jonathan Trott would be disappointed to not have gone on with his 58 after he hit an easy catch to Usman Khawaja at deep square-leg.

Jonny Bairstow continued his affinity with Lords to score another half-century at the venue, but his soft dismissal to Steve Smith, who was the hero in the last session for Australia, will haunt him.

The part-time leg-spin of Smith looked more like that of Shane Warne than of a former all-rounder who has largely done away with bowling in games.

Smith was able to impart drift and extract spin from the Lords pitch to finish with 3-18 off six overs, in what will be an encouraging sign for Graeme Swann when he gets his chance to bowl sometime on day two.

Ryan Harris was the other talking point from Australia’s day in the field, with the Queensland fast-bowler showing why he was recalled to the side by coach Darren Lehmann.

An excellent length in the first session was rewarded with just enough swing to trouble the England top-order, as he collected 3-43 off 20 overs.

Tim Bresnan and James Anderson will resume their innings’ this morning on seven and four not respectively with Stuart Broad and Swann still yet to bat with the score at 289-7.

Clarke will be aiming to bowl the Three Lions out for less than 350 to give his side every chance of earning between a 50-100 first innings lead, if their top-order wobbles from the first Test are solved.

England will be desperate to creep towards 400 as the pitch shows signs of rewarding batsman who take the time to get set.

The thrilling start to the series has seen demand for Ashes tickets skyrocket, as cricket fans clamor to secure their chance to see if the home side can hold onto the urn.

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