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Odds-on for an Aussies win after another England top-order collapse

18 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Odds-on for an Aussies win after another England top-order collapse

England have a mountain to climb. Saving the follow-on will be their sole focus today but don't assume Australia will automatically force England to bat again...

It is hard to see how England can get out of this test match with their 1-0 series lead intact. Australia have the best part of three days – or 270 overs –  to score maybe 200 runs (if necessary) and take 16 English wickets.

The forecast is reasonably good and anyway, the excellent Lord’s drainage system means that, even if there is the odd shower, little time will be lost.  

England look doomed. Winning the toss was crucial. There is still little in the pitch, but fresh bowlers operating against tired batsmen who have been in the field for a day and a half, and with 550 on the board, will always make it difficult.

Saving The Follow-on Is England’s First Target

England’s first target will be to reach 358 and save the follow on. That is a long way off and they almost certainly won’t make it. But if England make only about 280, Michael Clarke will almost certainly bat again for 40 overs, put England completely out of the game and allow the pitch to wear a little more.    

In fact the pitch is less relevant to these Australian bowlers, especially the pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. Their speed and style is such that they often take the track out of the equation.

They will bowl either very full – as with the wicket of Gary Ballance, which means the slowness of the surface will have little impact – or very short, banging the ball hard into the batsman’s ribs, as with the way Johnson ruffled Joe Root, before getting him to flash at a wide ball that he should have left. Very fast bowling lures you into doing things you don’t mean to. It’s an adrenaline rush. 

A Flat Pitch But The Slope Still Offers Movement For The Aussie Bowlers

The Lord’s slope across the ground also helps confident bowlers (and inhibits nervous ones.) Even on a flat Lord’s pitch, the odd ball will move just a fraction down the slope. Batsmen also sometimes play for this movement and its not there.

And you have to bat differently from one end to the other.  A left hander (of which England have seven) has to protect his stumps if facing the bowling from the Nursery End, and try and leave as much as possible veering away from him at the Pavilion End. 

The off spinner Nathan Lyon will plug away relentlessly from one end. There will be some slow turn, but he will look to bowl as straight as possible. The low bounce of the pitch means lbw is one of the most likely modes of dismissal. England better play straight and avoid being hit on the pads or we are in for an early finish.        

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