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Simon Hughes: Anderson and Broad can dominate on Lord’s unique slope

15 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Simon Hughes: Anderson and Broad can dominate on Lord’s unique slope

As proven in the first test, catching could prove the crucial factor in this series - and Lord's is perhaps the most difficult catching ground in the world...

Because of its unique slope – nearly 9ft from one side of the ground to the other – Lord’s is probably the most difficult catching ground in the world. That is not good news for a team – Australia – who are giving a test debut to a new wicketkeeper and have also lost their regular first slip (Shane Watson.)

Catching, as was proved at Cardiff, could be the key to this series.  Brad Haddin dropped Joe Root on 0, demoralizing the bowler (Starc) and invigorating Root. He took 11 off Starc’s next over and went on to make 134. Batting at the less taxing spot of no5, Root is already the favourite to be England’s leading run scorer in the series.

5/4 – Joe Root to be series top batsman

England’s catching at Cardiff was impressive (16 out of 17 chances accepted) but both teams fielders will be challenged by Lord’s unique geography. Fielding at slip when the bowling is at the pavilion end, edges tend to fall short (because the fielder is slightly uphill from a right hand batsman) so the slips need to stand closer. 

When the bowling is from the Nursery End they need to stand deeper as the edge (from a right hander) is going downhill and flies slightly further than expected. Bowling for that end for Middlesex I had many chances dropped as the edge hit the fielder on the wrist (above his hands.)

Keeping is also tough at Lord’s, not only because of the slope, but also because the ball has a habit of swinging and dipping after it passes the bat. New Australian keeper Peter Nevill will have a tough baptism especially if the Aussie seamers spray it around as much as they did in Cardiff.

2/5 – Australia to concede the most match byes

England know the conditions well, of course. Jimmy Anderson has 75 test wickets at Lords (average 26) and is superb at using the angles the slope provides from the Pavilion End to his advantage. Stuart Broad is pretty good too – 61 wickets at 28 (mostly from the Nursery End.) And Mark Wood adapted swiftly on his first visit (v New Zealand) and has an impressive strike rate (a wicket every 49 balls.)

READ – Dean Wilson: Time to double down with a run fest > >

If the pitch is slowish – as it is likely to be – England have the better seam (more disciplined) attack for these conditions, certainly in the first innings. (As the weather hots up it will get quicker and more abrasive and help reverse swing.)

The slope always gives bowlers a sniff of a chance.

If England can catch as well as they did at Cardiff – having worked very hard on this skill during their pre-Ashes camp in Spain – then they can win again.

The Ashes 2nd Test Odds:

7/4 – England

6/4 – Australia

13/5 – The Draw

All Ashes betting