Australia and England will lock horns in the second test match of the 2009
edition of the Ashes series on Thursday, when they meet at Lord's. And
with the score-line reading 0-0 after the first test match at Cardiff was drawn,
it will be interesting to see which team draws first blood in the game.
Australia had the better of most exchanges in the Cardiff encounter and yet,
they were not able to close out the match as they would have expected. Going
into the last day needing eight wickets, Australia had managed to bag three
of them in the first session, but could garner only four more in the next two,
to have only a draw to show for their effort.
However, what they will be cock-a-hoop with, would be the effort of the bowling
side, especially the under-fire spinner, Nathan Hauritz. The off-spinner
bowler captured six wickets in the game and out-bowled his English counterpart
to almost bowl his side to the doorsteps of a win. He may not get enough spin
from the Lord's pitch, but he is bound to retain his place.
Amongst the batsmen, there were four century scorers for Australia and that
should augur well for them. With Marcus North and Brad Haddin
slamming a century each at the number six and seven position, and Mitchell
Johnson a decent bat at eight, it does look like their batting is something
of a plus point.
England, on the other hand, would be ruing the wasted opportunity in the first
innings, when ten of their batsmen got starts but not a single century was scored.
The worst affected would be Kevin Pietersen who was put under a lot of
pressure by the media and the opposition alike, both, on and off the field and
seemed to have succumbed to it.
England is sure to drop one of the two spinners for this game, especially given
Lord's record as a seamer-friendly track. Graeme Swann did not have a
great game with the ball, but he did well enough with the willow in his hand
to deserve the lone spinner's spot, which means that Monty Panesar who
batted out more than ten overs, will get the boot.
Panesar's spot will be taken by Graham Onions, who had a five-wicket
haul in his debut game against West Indies, and is also the back-up seam bowler
in the squad. And if there enough cloud cover, he could prove to be quite a
handful with the new ball in his hand.