England fall 2-0 behind in Ashes quest – how a dramatic day unfolded at Lord’s
More heroics from Ben Stokes were not quite enough to help England pull off a miraculous chase at Lord’s after Australia clinched the second Ashes Test by 43 runs to move 2-0 up in the series.
Stokes blitzed 155 to propel the hosts into a position of strength after Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal but top-edged Josh Hazlewood when England were 70 runs short of a record-breaking 371 target.
It left too many runs for England’s tailenders and Mitchell Starc wrapped up victory for Australia when he sent Josh Tongue’s leg stump cartwheeling away during an extended afternoon session.
There will not be much time to reflect on another adrenaline-fueled Ashes Test, with the third match of the series set to start on Thursday at Headingley.
View from the dressing room
Pumped up after Bairstow’s wicket, Stokes switched into six-hitting mode instantly. Cameron Green felt the full force of his destruction with one over going for 24 after three maximums brought up a sensational century.
Stokes went from 62 off 126 balls to a 13th Test hundred 16 deliveries later. Before and after lunch he picked his moments with a succession of pulls for six followed by singles repeatedly turned down with Australia’s field spread trying to protect the boundary rope.
Talk of Headingley rumbled on at the home of cricket but Stokes’ superman effort could not get England over the line with a top-edge against Hazlewood presenting Alex Carey with a simple catch – a far less controversial involvement for the Aussie gloveman.
No keepers union here…
England pursuit of 371 took a drastic twist at the end of a 52nd over which proved match-defining. After Bairstow had ducked under Green’s bouncer, he went to meet Stokes in the middle of the wicket but turned around in horror to see Carey’s throw from behind the stumps had dislodged the bails.
Bairstow had been under the impression that the ball was dead only for Carey to have other ideas and after some deliberation between the two umpires and both teams, TV umpire Marais Erasmus had to decide if Bairstow was in or out of his crease.
Television replays showed Bairstow was clearly out of his crease and he was subsequently given out stumped for 10, which sparked boos from a suddenly partisan Lord’s crowd. Tensions spilled over at lunch when MCC members clashed with Australian duo David Warner and Usman Khawaja in the Long Room and three members were subsequently suspended following allegations of “abusive and aggressive” behaviour.
Broad makes his point
Stuart Broad walked out after Bairstow’s dismissal ready for a fight and immediately told Carey he would be “forever remembered” for the stumping. Words followed with Marnus Labuschagne and the pair repeatedly sparred during Broad’s brave 125-minute spell at the crease.
On numerous occasions at the end of an over, Broad would ask Carey and the other Australian fielders in close proximity if he was OK to walk to speak with captain Stokes in the middle of the crease.
Broad also played his part in a 108-run partnership with Stokes, contributing 11 but more significantly wearing a number of bouncers, having taken a nasty blow to the jaw in the first innings. His gutsy batting displays, coupled with his five wickets for the Test, could help him retain his place at Headingley.
Can Ben follow Don’s lead?
Only once before has a team fought back from two down in an Ashes series to win 3-2. Don Bradman’s Australia team achieved the feat on home soil during the 1936-37 series.
After England won the first two Tests emphatically, Bradman almost single-handedly refused to give up on the urn and scores of 270, 212 and 169 inspired the most remarkable of turnarounds with three successive victories.
If anyone can repeat the trick, it is Stokes.
Attention turns to Leeds
England announced their squad for the Headingley Test minutes after defeat was confirmed and Rehan Ahmed and Matthew Potts have been left out of the 15-man squad.
Changes are expected, with James Anderson set to drop out after struggling during the first two matches and Mark Wood should be ready after building up his workload during the past week.
Moeen Ali is also fit again after the burst blister on his right index finger at Edgbaston and it leaves Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum with a decision to make. Vice-captain Ollie Pope must be assessed after he injured his right shoulder at Lord’s.
England head to Leeds with total clarity. It is win or bust.