It seems an awfully long time ago that Ben Stokes was wheeling away in celebration after trapping Pat Cummins LBW. Australia were reeling on 122-8 and looked to be out of the game before it had even got going.
Yet following another dismal England batting collapse, Tim Paine’s side sealed a convincing 251 run win on day five, winning at Edgbaston for the first time in any format since 2001.
England’s task must be to strike back immediately at Lord’s if they are to stand any chance of regaining the Ashes.
Our cricket expert looks at all the key markets ahead of the Test and gives you the best bets.
Despite the batting collapse, perhaps England’s biggest concern during the first Test was losing James Anderson during the first innings. Being a bowler light at any point during a Test match puts you on the backfoot, let alone when that bowler has 575 Test wickets.
In the immediate aftermath, the decision seemed to rest on Olly Stone and Jofra Archer, until the former was unfortunately ruled out after a reoccurrence of a back injury. Archer then will be the man to come in, after proving his fitness during a run-out for Sussex’s second XI.
The Aussies are fairly unflappable when it comes to playing fast bowling, but Archer’s steep (and likely uneven) bounce could still trouble them at Lord’s. He’s currently available at 6/1 to be the top wicket-taker in the match at Grosvenorsport.com.
Given his record at Lord’s, it’s hard to look past Chris Woakes as England’s biggest wicket threat in this match. Incredibly, he’s the only player with over 10 wickets at a venue who averages less than 10 runs per wicket and more than 50 with the bat. At 5/2, he’s a contender for England’s top first innings wicket-taker and well-priced at 6/1 to take the most match wickets.
Despite leaving out Mitchell Starc in the first Test, Australia will be pleased in the way their bowlers approached taking 20 wickets. Even with England well placed at 150-1 in the first innings, they didn’t change their plans and took the last 15 England wickets for just 238.
Nathan Lyon was the man who ripped the heart out of England’s second innings with 6-49. His brilliance was in stark contrast to Moeen Ali’s abject performance on a dry pitch, with the off-spinning all-rounder picking up 2-130. Ali looks desperately short of confidence in both departments and will likely lose his place to Jack Leach at Lord’s.
You’d expect the seamers to be the bigger threat down the Lord’s slope in this game. England we’re ripped apart by Tim Murtagh in the recent one-off Test match with Ireland there and could struggle against an accurate, English-style bowler such as Peter Siddle. At 11/2, Siddle will certainly be in contention for Grosvenorsport.com‘s leading wicket-taker market.
One relief for England will be that at least one of their openers scored runs at Edgbaston. Rory Burns patient first innings 133 should have cemented his place at the top of the order for the foreseeable future. The Surrey batsman now has a real opportunity to leave those who doubt his Test match credentials in the rearview mirror. Burns is currently available at 9/2 to be England’s highest first innings scorer and 7/1 to be the top batsman in the match.
Particularly following the manner of his dismissals, there will be a concern with Jason Roy. His difficulties with the moving ball were exposed again in the first innings, whilst considerable questions were asked about his temperament in the second innings. With England needing to bat the day to save the game and well-set at 60-1 in the morning session, Roy inexplicably tried to hit Lyon into the next county, triggering England’s collapse. They’ll hope he’s learnt his lesson, but even at 14/1, I’d be tempted to avoid Roy for leading match run-scorer.
It goes without saying that Steve Smith is the key wicket for England and the fate of the match could once again rest on his performance. As Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan pointed out, England’s bowlers are already onto plan X against him and need to find a way of stifling his runs. Whether they can do this, even with Archer’s added pace, is no certainty and Smith is priced at 2/1 to be top run-scorer for the second time in two Test matches.
Matthew Wade also chipped in with a well-made hundred at Edgbaston, along with a healthy contribution from Travis Head. Head has made a respectable start to his Test career, averaging just under 50 in his nine matches. He’ll be hoping he can add a second hundred to his record and get himself a spot on the famous Lord’s honours board. He’s currently available at 12/1 at Grosvenorsport.com to be top run-scorer in the match.
There wasn’t much to get excited about for England fans at Edgbaston and I’m not confident matters will improve at Lord’s. Particularly after seeing the batsmen capitulate against an inferior Irish seam attack at Lord’s just a few weeks ago. Australia’s bowlers will be far more threatening and if England’s batsman don’t apply themselves effectively, they’ll find themselves 2-0 down pretty quickly.
I’m backing Australia at 5/4 at Grosvenorsport.com.
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