Cricket 3 years ago

Second Ashes Test, Day 1: Twin Tons put Australia on top

  • Second Ashes Test, Day 1: Twin Tons put Australia on top

As soon as Alastair Cook came out in a convincingly loose jacket for the toss while continuously expressing his levels of discomfort, you (being an England fan) could just sense what awaited. On a special occasion at a special place, Day one at The Lord's Cricket Ground belonged to two men - Steven Smith (129)* and Chris Rogers (158)*.

Long before the test match had even begun, people had been busy speculating about just how quick could the Lord's pitch possibly be and how Mitchell Johnson would rattle England. The dreams of a fast pitch, however, were in tatters by the time James Anderson and Stuart Broad finished their first spells. There was bounce, but no swing at all, absolutely nothing.

The fact that even Geoffrey Boycott - who usually has all the answers - was clueless himself when asked what England should do next itself was a testimony to the Lord's surface being excruciatingly flat, as if it were a concrete road, which is a tremendous shame because all the sport needs is that fine-fine presence of contrasts, and it was nowhere to be found on a pitch that shamed the word dreadful itself.

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On a hugely disturbing day of Cricket (at least for England fans), the only encouraging things were those lovely hundreds by Steven Smith and Chris Rogers who showed just the kind of application, technique and class that Australia had badly missed at Cardiff. 

Day one could have easily been a tale of another irresponsible bit of batting performance by Australia once David Warner played a needless shot having begun as well as he ever has to set the tone, gifting Moeen Ali a wicket to make it 78/1. From that point till the stumps being called, Smith and Rogers compiled for an unbeaten ginormic 259-run stand, which was litted with some glorious strokes in all the regions of the park. While both of them were given a lifeline each pretty early on, their's was a truly awe-inspiring partnership. 

May it be a cover drive, may it be the on drive, the cut, the pull or the leg glance, Smith and Rogers played them all to perfection with their supernal touch, and looked as if they had shooed away all their fears, to bat and just bat. Fair to say, batting hardly gets better than what the Home of Cricket witnessed today. It was a flat pitch, but even then, you can't help but applaud the way the two Aussies batted to take their team to Stumps at 333/1.

As for England, they have to travel a long road tomorrow before things start looking good again. They wanted to take the Johnson threat out of the equation, but have ended up making a mess of it, a mess whereby bowlers can lament - including England's - a graveyard-like surface. 

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