Absolutely shambolic – Kevin Pietersen rips into England after day one at Lord’s
Kevin Pietersen accused England of an “absolutely shambolic” opening day at Lord’s after Australia’s batters took control of the second Ashes Test.
Pietersen, who was given the honour of ringing the bell before the start of play, offered a stinging assessment of England’s efforts with the ball after the tourists reached the close on 339 for five.
Only two late wickets in four balls from part-time spinner Joe Root prevented the end-of-play scorecard looking even worse, Travis Head and Cameron Green both falling to unforced errors.
A scattering of live green grass and overhead clouds that were gloomy enough to warrant floodlights throughout the day appeared to hint at ideal conditions for England’s five-strong seam attack, but it was the tourists who dictated the tone as half-centuries from David Warner (66), Travis Head (77) and Steve Smith (85no) left them well placed.
“Not a lot’s caught my eye from an English perspective, it’s been shambolic. Absolutely shambolic,” the 104-cap veteran told Sky Sports.
“You have overhead conditions, you have wickets that suit your bowlers and you’ve got bowlers running in at 78, 79, 80 miles an hour.
“Now it’s one thing walking here, swanning around, saying ‘this is a wonderful team to play in, we’re creating the best environment’. But this is not Ashes cricket.”
Pietersen also took issue with an apparent lack of edge on the field – just a week on from Australian criticism over Ollie Robinson’s expletive-filled send-off of Usman Khawaja at Edgbaston.
“It’s all too easy, too nice. Are you telling me Ricky Ponting in 2005 is going to be talking to Geraint Jones? You think Michael Vaughan is going to be stood next to Justin Langer saying ‘hey mate, what a cool day, it’s overcast, it’s beautiful, what an awesome day, environment here at Lord’s – what do you think of the wicket’?
“Are you joking? Are you absolutely joking? I just hope they’re in their dressing room now and the England coach is giving them the biggest hammering and saying it’s absolutely not good enough.”
Josh Tongue was the pick of the five English quicks on his first Ashes outing, topping the pace charts and snapping up the wickets of Khawaja and David Warner either side of the lunch break.
The 25-year-old saw his first three overs smacked for 24 but revealed a word of advice from Ollie Robinson about utilising the famous Lord’s slope helped him open his account against Australia.
“I spoke to Robbo just before lunch about trying to use the slope a bit more,” said Tongue.
“I was trying to wobble it away from the bat and he said ‘why don’t you try and get the ball coming back into him’. Getting Khawaja just before lunch was crucial and then, obviously, I was trying to do the same to David.
“He’s a very hard batter to bowl at. If you miss your length you’re going to the boundary, that’s how I felt, so the wicket came at a very good time for the team.”
Invited to rate the Warner dismissal, which skidded between bat and pad and lifted the bails with precision to cap an outstanding over, Tongue added: “I haven’t properly looked back yet, but listening to the lads it was a very good ball.”
Warner opted to shine a light on Head’s performance after the latter hit 14 boundaries to pile the pressure on England in the evening session.
“Trav is Trav, that’s the way he plays,” he said.
“It’s exciting and we’re just lucky he’s on our team. He can take it away from you. Striking at over a hundred is exceptional. He just finds a way.”