Rogers and Smith can post big first innings scores in Lord’s Ashes Test

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Australia had much to thank 19-year-old debutant spinner Ashton Agar for in the first Test, with his 112-run contribution the highest by any baggy green-sporting batsman at Trent Bridge. With the tourists’ top and middle order aware their jobs are on the line after a relatively innocuous showing, they’re expected to provide more runs at Lord’s.

Agar is 25/1 to repeat his first Test heroics by posting the largest score of the first innings for his side, but among the batsmen by trade there are one or two that look attractively-priced in the market.

Of those charged with seeing off the new ball, county cricket veteran Chris Rogers showed the pragmatism that oozes glacially through the veins of all decent opening batsmen, facing down 121 balls for his second innings 52.

He had been dismissed for a marginal lbw call on 16 in the first innings of what was his first international Test outing since 2008 and should be able to build on that at Lord’s.

Having played County Championship cricket for Middlesex at Lord’s as recently as the beginning of June – when he plundered a first innings 184 against Sussex – he’ll be more well-versed with conditions than some of the English batsmen and looks the pick of the upper order in the betting at 9/2, with Michael Clarke (3/1) likely to be the recipient of the England attack’s most motivated work.

If slow and steady doesn’t win the Aussie runs race, then it could be Steve Smith who steps in with a big knock, after showing a keenness to get on with things at Trent Bridge. His first innings 53 came off just 79 balls and included seven fours and a six.

That was the second successive tour match in which he posted a half century in the first round of batting and although his full-blooded approach carries the risk of an unexpected dismissal, that’s factored into the New South Wales native’s 8/1 top Australian first innings batsman price.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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