Despite winning the first game by a narrow margin of 14 runs, England haven’t learned too much from their first innings debacle in that match. With a new-look Australian bowling attack, it was only a matter of holding their nerves and scoring vital runs. But the top order, with the exception of Jonathan Trott, flattered to deceive yet again.
Here are the flops for the day:
Joe Root (6 runs off 14 balls – 1 four)
It looks like the Yorkshireman hasn’t fully recovered from David Warner’s punch about a month ago. He looks dazed and confused, and the opening slot just doesn’t seem to be a fit for him.
Having hit a lone boundary, Root fell prey to the classic in-coming delivery to the right hander, bowled by Ryan Harris. It took the inside-edge, and DRS confirmed the ball had hit the pad first.
In all honesty, Root needs a break. Perhaps Nick Compton could be rushed into the side?
Kevin Pietersen (2 runs off 4 balls)
The maverick batsman, returning from a long injury layoff, made a plucky 64 in the second innings of the first Test. But he seems to have forgotten how to move his feet – again – to get to the pitch of the ball.
His side was two wickets down already, with only 26 runs on the board, and yet KP went fishing outside the off stump to another Harris delivery. A faint edge tickled down to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, ending his short stay at the crease.
Pietersen will need to take it up a notch if England have any ambitions of retaining the urn.
Alastair Cook (12 runs off 14 balls – 2 fours)
If Root and KP are struggling for runs, the captain isn’t exactly above water either. He played two exquisite strokes – the first one a beautiful flick to the mid-wicket fence to get off the mark, and the other a delightful on-drive off a length delivery on middle stump.
But then Michael Clarke played a master-stroke: he brought on Shane Watson, and the all-rounder struck with his second delivery – a sharp incoming ball that nipped back and struck Cook on the pads.
Coach Andy Flower will have plenty to say to his skipper; Cook really deserves a sound talking-to. He must switch into specialist batsman-mode when he walks out to the 22-yard strip in the centre and play his natural game. Otherwise England may well send Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow to open in the second innings!
James Pattinson (0/79 in 18 overs)
Even by Test cricket standards, an economy rate of 4.38 is a criminal offence committed by a fast bowler – especially one who opens with the new ball. So Pattinson is young and will learn with experience, but not everyone can be a Dennis Lillee now, right?
Wayward doesn’t even begin to describe the kind of bowling he dished out on the Lord’s track. He was all over the place – Bell and Bairstow together took 16 runs off one of his overs.
Pattinsonwill need to focus on line and length and subtle variations in pace if he needs to be effective. Ii wouldn’t be surprising if Lehmann pulls Pattinson out in the next game and brings in James Faulkner to add more variety into the pace attack.
Peter Siddle (0/53 in 20 overs)
He may not have had it as tough as Pattinson, but NSW seamer Peter Siddle was decidedly unlucky on the first day. He did stray in line a bit while bowling to Trott, who played him well off his pads.
Siddle, however, came back quite well as both Bell and Bairstow played him watchfully, getting the occasional boundary in between. Let’s hope the morrow brings the old workhorse better luck.