LONDON: Australia’s Josh Hazlewood marked his entry into this season’s Ashes with two early wickets before England held firm as the second Test finally got under way at Lord’s on Thursday.
England were 76-2 at lunch on the second day, having been 26-2 after Hazlewood captured the wickets of Jason Roy and captain Joe Root.
But Rory Burns (34 not out) and Joe Denly (27 not out) prevented further collapse, with Hazlewood having the excellent figures of two wickets for 14 runs in 10 overs at lunch.
Australia, 1-0 up in the five-match series after a 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston last week, saw captain Tim Paine show faith in his attack by deciding to bowl first after winning the toss following Wednesday’s opening day washout.
It took just nine balls for his decision to be rewarded.
After Pat Cummins had bowled a probing maiden to Rory Burns, Hazlewood — recalled in place of James Pattinson in the only change to Australia’s side — struck with just his third ball when Roy was caught behind for a duck by wicketkeeper Paine after fending loosely outside off stump at a rising delivery.
England had now lost their first wicket without a run on the board.
Although the sun was breaking through the clouds, easing the conditions for batting, that did not stop Australia’s new-ball duo from repeatedly beating the outside edge of Root amd left-hander Burns — who scored his maiden Test century at Edgbaston.
But Root, England’s best batsman, did hit the first boundaries of the match in when he cover drove two successive Cummins deliveries for textbook fours in the seventh over.
And when first-change Peter Siddle replaced Cummins, England took 13 runs off his first over including three well-struck boundaries.
But Hazlewood then had Root, aiming across his front pad, lbw for 14 with a ball that nipped back.
Root thought about a review but decided against, with England now 26-2 as the under pressure Denly walked out to bat.
England should have been 40-3 but Burns, on 16, saw Usman Khawaja drop a routine gully chance from an edge drive off Siddle.
It is 18 years since Australia last won an Ashes series in England.
Wednesday’s washout saw play extended to 98 overs per day, with the follow-on reduced to within 150 runs rather than 200 now this is a four-day match.
On the last two occasions that an entire day’s play has been lost in a Lord’s Test (first day, 2001 v Pakistan and first day, 2018 v India), the match was still over within four days.
Thursday saw Lord’s turn red in support of the Ruth Strauss Foundation — a lung cancer charity set up to honour the late wife of Andrew Strauss, the former England captain and director of men’s cricket, who died from the disease.
Fans have been asked to wear the colour and both teams will wear limited-edition caps and shirts that will be auctioned off.—AFP