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Ashes 2023 2nd Test Day 1 Highlights : Smith, Head and Warner give Australia opening-day honours

Ashes 2023 2nd Test Day 1 Highlights : Smith, Head and Warner give Australia opening-day honours

LONDON, ENGLAND – Root’s double-wicket burst towards close plus Tongue’s two wickets meant all was not grim for England.

Australia 339 for 5 (Smith 85*, Head 77, Warner 66, Root 2-19, Tongue 2-88) vs England

Steven Smith and Travis Head gave the opening-day honours to Australia at Lord’s, but the scorecard was not quite as bleak for England as appeared likely shortly before the close until Joe Root burgled a double-wicket over after what had been a largely uninspired performance from the home side.

It may only have been day six of the series, but as Smith and Head were combining to add 118 in a bit over 20 overs for the fourth wicket, it felt as though Australia were taking a significant step towards having a stranglehold in the Ashes. A close-of-play total of 339 for 5 may yet end up proving decisive but England were clinging on.

Head had played in what has become his trademark style as he flayed 77 from 73 balls, catching up with Smith who had a 43-run head start when he joined him at the crease. But having deposited Root down the ground he could not resist trying again and this time he was beaten convincingly, although Nathan Lyon will have noted the turn on offer.

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Two balls later Cameron Green played a very out-of-character hoick, miscuing Root to mid-off, and Australia’s good work was in danger of unravelling. However, Smith remained immovable and was closing in on Test century No. 32 on the ground where he was felled and concussed by Jofra Archer four years ago. As had been expected, there was not going to be two Tests in a row where he and Marnus Labuschagne did not contribute.

David Warner, riding a little bit of luck along the way, had helped lay the early foundation under slate-grey skies which looked tailor-made for bowling although the surface itself was much less green than the days leading into the game. When he departed shortly after lunch, during a terrific over from the recalled Josh Tongue, England threatened to hit back but first Smith and Labuschagne, then Smith and Head shut them out before Root’s late incisions.

On an overcast morning where light drizzle and a pitch invasion by Just Stop Oil protesters, which required orange powder to be removed from the square, caused a couple of delays Ben Stokes was happy to insert Australia but England failed to take advantage of conditions. As at Edgbaston, catching – this time from the slip cordon – was one of the key reasons.

Usman Khawaja, on 1, survived a low edge to first slip which just reached Root. Then a much more clear-cut chance escaped Ollie Pope at fourth from Warner off Stuart Broad when he had 20. Dismissal No. 16 went begging. Pope later spent much of the day off the field nursing a shoulder injury after diving to intercept a ball.

Although Australia did not initially race away with the scoring – they were 39 for 0 after 17 overs – they had weathered the early window, albeit with a little bit of good fortune going their way. Warner had not been afraid to try the unconventional, twice stepping outside off stump to effectively sweep Broad, the first of which brought smiles between the batter and bowler.

After the interval, Tongue got the better of Warner during an over where he produced an inside edge that narrowly missed the stumps then sliced him in half with a delivery that went for four byes before bowling one a touch fuller to obliterate the middle and leg stumps. Warner, though, has done enough to ensure he gets the rest of the Ashes, and probably the Sydney farewell he has mapped out.

Source : ESPN

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