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Friday, July 17, 2015

Rogers and Smith centuries put Australia in front on flat Lord's pitch: T2 D1

Australia 1/337 (90ov, Rogers 158*/282b/25x4, Smith 129*/217b/1x6 13x4) vEngland; T2/5 D1/5 at Lord,s. Toss: Australia. 

Winning the toss gave Australia, who brought in Mitchell Marsh and Peter Nevill for Shane Watson (as expected dropped) and Brad Haddin (personal reasons) the considerable advantage of first use of a flat Lord's pitch. Chris Rogers and Steve Smith, coming together after David Warner was dismssed for what now looks a trifling though quickfire 38, have added 259 for the 2nd wicket . They gave few chances (fewer, I thought,  than were in the eyes of some beholders/commentators) and with their judiciously aggressive strokeplay capitalised on the blandness of pitch to reduce the England attack to near impotence.

Much of the quick scoring came at the beginning of the innings and during the last session. In between England, whose bowlers lacked the edge and some of the accuracy they'd showed at Cardiff, opted for a wide of off stump line in the hope of induced some errors. The scorecard shows that this strategy didn't work.

The pitch has been rightly criticised for its flatness. Whether it is sufficiently flat to condemn the Test to a draw is too early to say. Australia have a good numbers of runs on the board at the moment, but they will need to add many more to give them the scoreboard pressure which might assist their bowlers to dismiss England twice. Just over a month ago New Zealand lost to England at Lord's after a first innings of 523.

For all the assistance offered by the pitch both Rogers, on his English home ground, and Smith batted extremely well.

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