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Smith Stars Before Root Double Revives England

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Smith Stars Before Root Double Revives England

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Australia had a strong start on the opening day of the second Test against England at Lord’s. Despite being sent in to bat by England captain Ben Stokes in overcast conditions and on a green-tinged pitch, Australia reached a commanding position at 316/3 by stumps.

The star of the day was Steve Smith, who remained unbeaten on 85. Smith’s innings was the centerpiece of Australia’s impressive total of 339/5 at the end of the day’s play. It was a crucial performance from Smith, considering his recent struggles in the previous match at Edgbaston. His resilience and determination stood out as he held the innings together.

However, England’s off-spinner Joe Root, known for his batting prowess and currently ranked as the No. 1 Test batsman, made an impact with the ball as well. In the late stages of the day, Root took two wickets in four balls, disrupting Australia’s progress. His double strike provided England with a glimmer of hope and prevented Australia from completely dominating the game.

Travis Head, the aggressive left-handed batsman, provided excellent support to Smith with a quickfire knock of 77. Together, they stitched a partnership of 118 runs, giving England a taste of their own medicine with their aggressive batting approach. But Root’s sharp-turning delivery proved too good for Head, who was beaten and stumped brilliantly by Jonny Bairstow.

Root continued his heroics with the ball, claiming another wicket just three balls later. Cameron Green fell for a duck, slicing Root’s delivery to James Anderson at mid-off. Root finished the day with impressive figures of 2/19 from eight overs, proving his effectiveness as the only spinner in England’s bowling attack after Moeen Ali was dropped.


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England’s decision to replace Moeen Ali with fast bowler Josh Tongue paid off as Tongue dismissed both Australian left-handed openers, Usman Khawaja and David Warner. Khawaja fell without playing a shot, being bowled by Tongue, while Warner, who had been troubled by Stuart Broad in previous Ashes contests, was bowled between bat and pad by a sharply-cutting delivery from Tongue. Tongue ended the day with figures of 2/88 in 18 overs, making a valuable contribution to England’s bowling effort.

The day was not without its interruptions, as two protesters from the Just Stop Oil environmental pressure group invaded the outfield and sprinkled their trademark orange powder on the square. They were swiftly apprehended by the vigilant stewards, with the police making three arrests to maintain the order.

England’s fielding continued to be a concern, as they missed several chances to dismiss Australian batsmen. Ollie Pope, who later suffered a shoulder injury, dropped a catch offered by Warner when he was on 20. Warner capitalized on the opportunity, scoring a quick fifty off just 66 balls, including a six off Tongue’s bowling.

However, Warner’s innings was cut short when Tongue bowled him with a ball that sharply cut back off the pitch. Despite Australia’s batting prowess, England’s extras proved costly, conceding 36 runs, including 12 no-balls.

Steve Smith displayed his class and determination as he reached his half-century, taking on Stuart Broad and successfully overturning a caught-behind decision. He continued to dominate the bowling attack, reaching a milestone of 9,000 runs in Test cricket with a confident flick through midwicket off Stokes.

Marnus Labuschagne, who was previously the world’s second-ranked Test batsman alongside Smith, also made a valuable contribution with a well-crafted innings of 47. However, he was caught behind by Bairstow off a superb delivery from Ollie Robinson, ending the century partnership between Smith and Labuschagne.

At the end of the day, Australia stood at a formidable position of 316/3, indicating their dominance in the match. With Smith leading the charge, Australia’s batting lineup has laid a strong foundation for a big total. England will need to regroup and find a way to break through Australia’s resilience when play resumes on the second day of the Test.


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