Ashes 2009: Strauss Marches On As Others Fall
England 364-6 (Strauss 161no, Cook 95) v Australia
Second Test, Lord's, day one: stumps
By Peter Exley
The home of cricket welcomed the Australians back to England as England were trying to break the duck of 75 years to beat the Old Enemy at Lord’s.
The build up to the second Test was dominated by England’s selection and retirement issues, however, when the match finally came along, it was unnecessary speculation as both Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff were passed fit to play and lined up in the starting XI. Australia named an unchanged side from the one that came agonizingly close to beating England at Cardiff, with Brett Lee still missing due to the side strain that kept him out of the opening match.
England made one change to their side, with batting hero Monty Panesar making way for Graham Onions due both his poor showing with the ball and the greener, quicker pitch at Lord’s.
Andrew Strauss made it two out of two for the tosses as he elected to bat first. And it proved to be a very good decision as he and fellow opener Alastair Cook progressed confidently throughout the morning session.
It seemed that the Australian bowlers may be struggling to come to terms with the Lord’s slope as they, Mitchell Johnson in particular, bowled poorly. Cook (67no) registered his fifty that featured 12 boundaries, and Strauss finished the session on 47 not out to help England into a strong position at lunch on 126 for none.
England continued in the same vein after the lunch interval with Cook moving closer and closer to his century. However, Mitchell Johnson, perhaps surprising Cook with a straight delivery, managed to breach his defences and trap him plumb in front for 95. Andrew Strauss had a stroke of luck however, when he was dropped by Nathan Hauritz having smashed the ball straight back at the bowler. This could well be doubly bad luck for Australia as Hauritz had to be rushed to hospital with a suspected dislocated finger.
Andrew Strauss, however was joined by Ravi Bopara after Cook fell and he carried on in superb form to record his 18th Test hundred just before the tea break. Bopara on the other hand, played a number of glorious strokes, but fell to an in cutter from Ben Hilfenhaus for a well played 18.
The tea interval arrived with England on 255-2 just after Kevin Pietersen had arrived at the crease. He entertained the crowd with some aggressive play that saw him go into tea on 22 with Strauss on 100 exactly.
After tea, Australia hit back with three quick wickets. The slight collapse of England’s batting began when Paul Collingwood, the saviour of Cardiff, mis hit an attempt to go over the infield and he was caught at mid on for 16 from the bowling of Michael Clarke. Matt Prior followed soon after, when Mitchell Johnson swung a delivery back through bat and pad to strike the top of off stump. Flintoff, who came out to bat to a standing ovation, did not last long as he edged Hilfenhaus to Ponting in the slips in almost identical fashion to his dismissal at Cardiff.
Meanwhile, Andrew Strauss survived a chance when he was on 109, when Michael Hussey dropped a difficult chance at gully. He continued on though, to see the day out. Strauss finished on 161 not out with Stuart Broad the other not out batsmen with seven. England were 364 for six at the end of the day, which marked a good day for the English batsmen.
England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Matthew Prior, Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions
Australia: Phil Hughes, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (captain), Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus
© Cricket World 2009