England rally with the ball despite Steve Smith’s century at Lord’s

England rally with the ball despite Steve Smith’s century at Lord’s

England rallied with the ball on the second morning of the second Ashes Test, bowling out Australia for 416 to stay alive at Lord’s.

The home side’s day one efforts drew stinging criticism from a host of notable players, with Kevin Pietersen branding them “absolutely shambolic” and Michael Vaughan labelling some of their bowling “utter dross”.

But they bounced back impressively to take five wickets for 77 runs in the opening session and deny their rivals the mammoth total they had looked on course for at 316 for three midway through the previous evening.

Steve Smith converted his overnight 85 into a knock of 110, his 12th Ashes century and an eighth behind enemy lines, but he could not halt a much improved English effort.

Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett then safely negotiated four overs before lunch to reach 13 for nought and begin the job of chipping away at the scoreboard.

In need of a big response, England tossed the ball to their two oldest stagers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The pair sent down 33 wicketless overs between them on Wednesday but made good on their captain’s show of faith as they made early inroads.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Second Test – Day Two – Lord’s
Australia’s Steve Smith celebrates reaching his century (Mike Egerton/PA)

Broad’s first two balls of the morning disappeared for four but he ended the over with a beauty, jagging back into Alex Carey and flicking the front pad on its way over middle stump. England need DRS to change umpire Ahsan Raza’s mind, but the end result was exactly what they needed.

Anderson picked up the baton at the Nursery End, angling the ball towards the cordon and drawing a thick edge from the newly arrived Mitchell Starc. Jonny Bairstow, 24 hours on from his starring role as a bouncer in the Just Stop Oil protest, leapt in front of first slip and held the catch.

Smith was watching calmly from the other end, making his way to 99 before lashing a cover drive to the ropes to bring up his latest Ashes ton. It was an excellently judged innings, but England had the bit between their teeth now and wrapped things up with admirable efficiency.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Second Test – Day Two – Lord’s
Steve Smith provided Josh Tongue with his third wicket (Mike Egerton/PA)

Josh Tongue, who dismissed Smith for Worcestershire earlier in the season, had the centurion well caught in the gully by Duckett as he swung hard and lost his balance. Ollie Robinson then swept up Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood in successive overs.

Starc and Pat Cummins had two overs each to land a blow in return, but England’s top order pair reached the break without offering a chance.