England took a firm grip on the second Test at Lord’s after a dramatic Australian collapse saw the tourists dismissed for 128 in their first innings, with the hosts eventually taking a 264-run lead.
If the honours were split evenly on Thursday, Friday saw the pendulum swing emphatically in England’s favour. They are now 1/8 to take a 2-0 series advantage.
The morning saw Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad put on 28 and 33 respectively, taking England to a total of 361 – a commendable achievement considering they had been perilously close to collapsing at 28-3.
With England having taken the initiative, it was up to Australia to respond on what is being viewed as a batting track.
Instead Graeme Swann took 5-44, with Tim Bresnan taking 2-28. It was Bresnan – a replacement for the out-of-form Steven Finn – who made the breakthrough, taking Shane Watson lbw at a time when the opener was looking very comfortable at the crease and scoring freely.
Several of the Australians were undone by poor shot selection and execution, and it is clear that something drastic has to happen for the series to go beyond the third Test at Old Trafford.
Such was the capitulation of Michael Clarke’s side, the price of 6/5 for there to be no draws in the series looks increasingly tempting. The weather has been unnervingly reliable thus far, and given the dire state of the Aussie batsmen, it is difficult to envisage a full five days of Test cricket taking place.
Darren Lehmann’s men are now 11/10 to return home having not won a single Test, with Australia 4/6 to win at least one. Something notable will have to happen for that price to appeal, though it is hard to see them failing to improve on what has been a sorry showing so far.
Instead of putting the tourists into bat again England elected to build on their lead, and although they suffered some discomfort on their way to 31-3, they’ll be confident of taking their already commanding advantage towards the 400+ mark on day three.
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