Australia’s Steve Smith proved a relentless force on the second day of the second Ashes test at Lord’s, powering his way to a commanding 32nd century before England collected the remaining five wickets they needed to prevent further run accumulation.
Smith resumed the day on 85 and quickly passed 9,000 runs, joining the ranks of four other Australian trailblazers. But England’s star bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were determined to regain their reputation after Wednesday’s performance, responding with voracious attack to ship out Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc in rapid succession.
Undeterred, Smith continued in his electric manner as Australia crested past 400 runs and it took one of the greatest English bowling performances in recent memory for the hosts to prevail over the tourists — who finished on 416 after 90 minutes of action-packed cricket.
The Australian batsmen had started Wednesday’s play in a commanding position – with a 316-3 score and the English attack looking ineffectual. But England put up a strong comeback, sparked by an impressive slip catch from Joe Root that dismissed Josh Hazlewood off Ollie Robinson, ultimately ending Australia’s innings at 393 for nine.
At the helm of this was captain Pat Cummins, who batted brilliantly to be unbeaten on 22. Unfortunately his partner Nathan Lyon could not resist a short ball despite a field set to catch his mis-hit and was caught out for seven.
Also worth mentioning is Steve Smith, who scored his 32nd Test 100 with a punchy cover drive before Ben Duckett snagged him for 110 to give Josh Tongue his third wicket.
Overall, Australia will be pleased with their total having lost the toss – but there will no doubt have been a few ‘what ifs’ along the way.