2nd Test, Day One, Lord’s.
Chris Rodgers and Steve Smith both scored centuries as Australia ended day one of the second test on 337-1 to seize control at Lord’s.
Following their heavy defeat in Cardiff, the tourists hit back with a five-star batting display from opener Rodgers and second best batsman in the world Smith.
Despite David Warner handing his wicket recklessly to England, the two batsman were confident on what was a slow pitch with little bounce in the capital.
Their partnership of 259 broke an 85-year record for an Australian second-wicket partnership. It had previously been 231 set by Bill Woodfull and Don Bradman.
Rodgers also overcame a record of seven consecutive fifties without converting them to three figures as he scored his highest test score of 158. As a result, he became just the fifth Aussie to score over 150 runs in one innings at Lord’s.
“It’s one of the proudest moments of my life,” said the Aussie opener.
“To get a hundred here is so special.”
Smith in contrast played like two different batsman. Taking 111 balls to make it to half a century, he smashed his next 50 runs in just 50 deliveries.
“The pitch was a little bit slow and if you got in you needed to go big,” said Smith.
“I wanted to make it count today and get up on that board. It was about keeping England out there for as long as possible.”
As Australia eye up a massive score in their first innings, England will be desperate to find more wickets on what will be a crucial second day.
The English bowlers will feel a bit of injustice, as they didn’t play entirely bad. Stuart Broad was, in particular, very consistent with the ball. His high-pitched deliveries were unplayable at times, but narrowly missed the bails.
Mark Wood also played well once he got going, but again his unplayable deliveries just went wide of the stumps.
The same can’t be said of James Anderson, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, who were punished when they pitched the ball too short.
“Hats off to the two guys who made hundreds – they played brilliantly throughout the day,’ said Anderson.
“They stayed patient, they attacked us when they could and made it really difficult for us to bowl at them for long periods of time and create that pressure.”
It was the first time in 22 years that England only took one wicket on the opening day of an Ashes Test match, and just the second time that only one wicket was taken in a Lord’s test.
England know that wickets are needed to get their foot back in the door and keep their Ashes lead in tact.
But with Michael Clarke and debutant Mitchell Marsh, who scored two hundreds in the warm up matches heading into the Ashes, to come in, things are looking good for Australia.