Day one of second Ashes Test – England out to bounce back

Day one of second Ashes Test – England out to bounce back

Ben Stokes will lead England out at Lord’s this morning, fronting a side in need of an Ashes victory and a sport that has been rocked by more revelations of discrimination.

Stokes faced the media exactly a week on from their nail-biting fifth-day defeat by Australia at Edgbaston, but began his captain’s press conference on Tuesday by addressing the damning report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket.

In his position as men’s Test captain, Stokes took it upon himself to issue an apology to anyone who had been impacted by the entrenched culture of racism, sexism and elitism described in the long-awaited report.

Those above Stokes in the food chain have three months to prepare their response, but, for the next five days, his job lies between the boundary ropes as he seeks to square the series after an enterprising but unsuccessful outing in Birmingham.

England have made one change to their side, recalling rookie seamer Josh Tongue in place of Moeen Ali to leave part-timer Joe Root as the main spin option. Australia have delayed their call, but will be tempted to unleash left-armer Mitchell Starc.

What they said

Stokes followed his apology by outlining his own credentials as a mould-breaking outlier who has risen to the highest rank in the sport.

Crawley’s Chinese lesson

Zak Crawley (left) made a surprising intervention during a team meeting this week.
Zak Crawley (left) made a surprising intervention during a team meeting this week (Mike Egerton/PA)

England would be forgiven for counting themselves unfortunate on the fitness front after seeing the likes of Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Jack Leach ruled out for the series, while Moeen Ali and Mark Wood both miss out at Lord’s due to concerns over their ability to complete a five-day match. But Stokes revealed that Zak Crawley took it upon himself to banish any such thoughts by regaling the squad with an ancient Chinese proverb. Channelling his inner Eric Cantona, Crawley told the parable of a farmer who discovered that the notion of good and bad luck were more closely aligned than many think. Boiling the message down, Stokes concluded: “One thing happens and it might not mean it’s the end of the world.”

Lyon’s landmark

  • Sir Alastair Cook (Eng) – 159
  • Allan Border (Aus) – 153
  • Mark Waugh (Aus) – 107
  • Sunil Gavaskar (Ind) – 106
  • Brendon McCullum (NZ) – 101

While England have decided to do without a frontline spinner, Australia have selected Nathan Lyon for the 100th Test in a row. He becomes just the sixth man, and first specialist bowler, to bring up a century of consecutive appearances and needs just five more wickets to mark the occasion with his 500th wicket.

Anderson hopes to hit back

Anderson had a forgettable outing in the first Test.
James Anderson had a forgettable outing in the first Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson was a curiously peripheral figure at Edgbaston, going unused in the decisive final session and returning figures of one for 109 from 38 overs. They were his worst figures for over two years and he later described the pitch as “kryptonite for me”, suggesting similar surfaces could force him out of the series. That means the 40-year-old will be under the spotlight in the next five days. On the up side, he has plenty of history at the home of cricket, with 117 wickets at 24.58 in 27 previous appearances.

All eyes on ‘the mouth from the south’

Ollie Robinson has established himself as public enemy number one.
Ollie Robinson has established himself as public enemy number one in Australia (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ollie Robinson stirred up a hornets’ nest by offering an expletive-heavy send-off to centurion Usman Khawaja at Edgbaston, then having the temerity to stick to his guns. The Sussex seamer has riled Australia greats Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden, the latter bizarrely accusing him of bowling “124kph nude nuts” and labelling him a “mouth from the south”. Most of their stinging critiques appeared to overlook Robinson’s match haul of five for 98, which kept his Test bowling average at a cool 21.15. Fans in Australia will be desperate to see the 29-year-old fall on his face, but England need him to keep up his outstanding record at the highest level.