Smith amused by England's strategies at Lord's
Australia's batting sensation Steven Smith took a dig at England's tactics after the visitors dominated the first day of the second Ashes Test at Lord's on Thursday.
Unbeaten centuries from Smith and opening batsman Chris Rogers meant that Australia, after winning the toss, ended the day at a commanding 337 for one.
Unlike the first Test at Cardiff when England adopted an aggressive approach with the ball, Smith felt that Alastair Cook slipped into a defensive mindset rather quickly at Lord’s.
“I was a little bit surprised that Trevor Bayliss allowed Alastair Cook to have a deep point for as long as he did today, to be honest," said Smith at the press conference following the day's play.
“I think it was a good pitch to bat on. They got defensive quite quickly.
“I know that’s one thing we’re certainly not going to do.”
Smith further said the key here was to remain patient as compared to the previous Test where he looked to go after the bowlers especially Moeen Ali.
"We said as a batting group we needed to be more patient. Myself? I didn't want to go too hard at Moeen Ali.
"I think I was just in a bit of a hurry in Cardiff, I wanted to really take him down.
"Here, it was about just waiting for the bad ball and keeping them out there for as long as possible."
The Australian vice captain also hoped that his team can put a huge first innings score for Nathan Lyon to exert pressure on the fourth innings.
"We'll keep batting and try to post a big first-innings total," Smith said.
"That's going to be crucial on this wicket.
"There's a little bit of rough starting to form, so hopefully Nathan can get into the game for us."
Smith, who ended the day unbeaten on 129, had a slice of luck on 51 when he was put down at second slip by Ian Bell off the bowling of Ben Stokes.
On a fantastic batting pitch, chances like that came very rarely for England, who regretted the mistake heavily, as the Australian went on to compile his 10th Test century.
With the runs coming steadily and the bowlers unable to find a way to get a wicket, England were forced to go on the defensive.
While Smith had a go at Alastair Cook’s tactics, England’s pace spearhead James Anderson came out in defence of his captain.
Reflecting on the Lord’s pitch, Anderson opined that the surface wasn’t one where a team can try to show all-out aggression.
"We struck at it all day to be fair. We got just one wicket. Not much of reward," Anderson said to Sky Sports.
"We didn't bowl as much as we bowled in Cardiff and on a pitch like that where there is no side or seam movement, you are going to get punished.
"But hats off to the two guys who made hundreds.
"I thought they played brilliantly - they stayed patient, attacked us when they could and made it really difficult to bowl at them for long periods of time.
“Setting fields on a wicket like that with a fast outfield is always tricky,” Anderson said.
“You’ve got to try to balance attack and defence and figure where you’re going to get the wickets.”
Anderson felt that pitch was too unresponsive for the seamers although England did have the odd chance that however came at long intervals.
With the surface not providing much pace or sideways movement to the bowlers, Anderson believes that England did the best they could.
“The nicks weren’t carrying so well.
“We had a few chances that went through the slips, but generally you didn’t feel it was a nick-off kind of wicket.
“We tried to create pressure in certain other ways.
“Whether that’s defensive or not, I’m not sure.”
England lead the series 1-0 after the 169-run win against Australia in the first Test in Cardiff.
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