The match highlighted the weaknesses of Australia and the strength of England. In the first test both sides weren’t at their best but England had rectified this to stamp their authority over Australia, winning by a margin of 347 runs.
It was England to bat first and they must have had sights of 450 plus on a flat Lords deck with the joyous sunshine however, the Aussies put in a decent performance with the ball to bowl England out in their first innings for a below par 361.
Ian Bell reached a consecutive century before nicking off to a great leg spinning delivery from the part time of Steve Smith.
The ever reliable Jonothan Trott scored a steady 58 in the only way he knows how and the enterprising Jonny Bairstow played well to get up to 67 until his awful dismissal where he chipped a full bunger (as said by Shane Warne) straight back to Smith.
Smith had bowled well, taking three wickets for just 18 runs, but Bairstow will feel bitterly disappointed with the dreadful ball that dismissed him.
England did recover, and with help from the tail, they managed to get up to what looked like a below par score.
Now it was Australia’s turn. If the could bat well, they could take the advantage in the match. But it wasn’t the bating line up of old and England’s bowling attack took full advantage.
Swann took a five wicket haul to get his name on the Lords honours board and the rest of the wickets were spread around to show that they are not fully reliant on Jimmy Anderson.
The top score was a mere 30 runs from Shane Watson before falling to an lbw decision that he reviewed but was unsuccessful. It wasn’t just the batting weakness of Australia that became apparent, but also the inability to choose when to review and when to bite the bullet and trudge off.
The sorry performance with the bat ended 128 all out, leaving England with a lead of 233.
Alastair Cook had the decision of whether to make the Australians to follow on or for themselves to bat again. It looked like England would win either way but on a dry, flat pitch England opted to build on their lead, bat Australia out of the game and let Swann loose on them in day four and five.
However it wasn’t all plain sailing as England were three down quickly. It took an innings of real character, strength and quality from Joe Root to get England up to the position they wanted.
With support from Bresnan, Bell and Bairstow, Root scored an impressive 180. An innings that has surely cemented his role at the top of the order. With a lead of 582, Australia had no chance of winning, but had to get a draw to stand a chance of gaining a foothold in the series.
Australia had hints of resistance from captain Clarke and Khawaja but were both dismissed by the part time off spin of Joe Root. Swann took another four wickets to give him nine in the match and the Aussies were simply blown away by an England team on top form.
Everything came together in this match for England being the first game in a while where the whole team had played well.
Selection was justified, bringing Tim Bresnan in for Steven Finn and best of all the Yorkshire fellas had a cracking game, all scoring valuable runs as well as Root and Bresnan taking wickets.
There is just over a weeks gap until the next match. I would imagine England would maintain the same team if all the players are fit. Old Trafford has more pace in the pitch and will certainly turn but England rarely play two spinners and the part time off spin from Joe Root should cover if needed.
Australia still have options if they decide to change their starting eleven. Is Agar good enough as the front line spinner after being out performed by Steve Smith? I don’t think they will change their batting line up despite the poor performances because there are no clear replacements. Australia are in big trouble.