After a humiliating 251-run loss in the first Test at Edgbaston, the Three Lions will now turn their focus to Lord's, where they will be aiming to level things up against their arch-rivals. The English camp will be looking at tearaway quick Jofra Archer to provide them some much-needed inspiration.
Jason Roy: All eyes were on Jason Roy at Edgbaston, with fans eager to see if he’d replicate his white-ball exploits. But the Surrey man looked all but like a fish out of water, as he struggled his way to 10 runs in the first innings and 28 in the second. His first two outings in Tests have not inspired too much confidence, and a failure here might see him face the same fate as his predecessors Alex Hales, Mark Stoneman and Adam Lyth.
Rory Burns: The 28-year-old was the pick of the batsmen for England in the first Test, as his 312-ball 133 in the first innings almost put England in total control at one point in the match. Burns, for Surrey, has many a time backed up one big score with another in the very next match, and there wouldn’t be a better occasion for him to do it come Wednesday at the Home of Cricket.
Joe Root: The skipper promoted himself to the No.3 position in the series opener, but as it has always been the case in Test Cricket, he failed to convert yet another start, falling on 57 in the first innings and 28 in the second. Being the nucleus of a relatively fragile batting line-up, Root can ill-afford to fail to go big after getting his eye in, and perhaps, he can look back at his 180 at the very same venue in 2013, where his knock helped his team crush the Aussies by 347 runs.
Joe Denly: With a solitary fifty in eight innings and with scores of 11, 18, 10 and 23 in his last four, it’s fair to say that Joe Denly’s Test career literally hangs by a slender thread. After being undone by a James Pattinson inswinger in the first innings, the 33-year-old fell victim to the pressure mounted by Nathan Lyon in the second. His part-time leg-spin was also thwarted by the Aussies, and hence Lord’s will be a test of ability, character and temperament for the all-rounder from Kent.
Jos Buttler: Cricket is a funny game, and it is indeed amusing how formats can make a massive difference. About a month ago, the whole of England laid their hopes upon the hands of the wicket-keeper batsman, and now, a month later, the very same set of people have resorted to lowering their expectations, almost being content with whatever they get. Buttler was outfoxed by Pat Cummins in both innings at Edgbaston, almost coming across as a walking wicket. In six innings, the 28-year-old averages 12.80 against Australia, and for starters, one would assume he would be looking to get past that number, at least.
Jonny Bairstow: They say when things go wrong, they go wrong all at once, and unfortunately for Jonny Bairstow, that seems to be the case at this moment in Test cricket. In the second innings, he was dismissed after replays show that Cummins’ bumper had hit his wrist-band which was connected to the glove, almost summarizing the horrid run he’s been going through. Maybe he would be better off trying to get himself to double digits on the scorecard, as he’s returned back to the shed with 0,0, 6 and 8 in his last four innings.
Ben Stokes: The all-rounder wasn’t at his very best at Edgbaston, but still returned with a fifty and a three-fer to his name, and he tipped off the match with a 28-ball six in the second innings, trying to single-handedly fend off the Aussie slaughter. If anything, the 28-year-old just proved why he is the most important member of the English team irrespective of the format. Four years ago, he set the Lord’s alight with a 92-ball 101 against New Zealand, and come Wednesday, he would love to repeat his heroics against the Kiwis’ trans-Tasman rivals.
Chris Woakes: A fifty and a hundred with the bat, and an average of 9.8 with the ball which includes multiple five-wicket hauls - Chris Woakes’ record at the Lord’s is as absurd as it can get. The Birmingham man has now firmly established himself as not only a bowler but also an all-rounder, with him being the only English batsman to score 30 or more in both innings of the first Test to go with his four wickets in the match. He capped off his last Lord’s appearance with a six-fer against Ireland, and one wouldn’t put it past him to replicate the same in the second Test.
Jofra Archer: There are some cricketers who are born to always steal the headlines, and Jofra Archer is one of them. He might have the tag of being a “white-ball specialist” surrounding him, but make no mistake, the 24-year-old is as potent with the red-ball, and his record - 131 wickets in 28 matches at 23 a piece - speaks for itself. The mind games have already begun with Archer responding to Justin Langer’s “wear down” comment, and if the youngster is even half as fired up as he was in the World Cup final, boy we will have a contest in our hands!
Stuart Broad: No James Anderson? No problem. Stuart Broad, who now is a veteran with the ball for England, showed his class yet again in the first Test as he rocked Australia with a five-wicket haul in the first innings to reduce them to 122-8 at one stage. Unfortunately enough, the Nottinghamshire man didn’t get enough help from this other bowlers to tie down the Kangaroos, and while Woakes might boast about his exceptional Lord’s record, it goes unsaid that Broad will always be the go-to man for the English in Test cricket.
Jack Leach: Rarely in Test cricket does one get dropped after scoring a match-winning 92, but Jack Leach found himself on the wrong side as he was overlooked in favor of Moeen Ali at Edgbaston. But thanks to Ali’s horror-show, Leach is back at the driver’s seat again, with one solitary aim - to exploit the rumored “weakness” of Steve Smith against left-arm bowlers. In all honesty, there are only two possible outcomes - either Leach becomes the hero who stopped the immortal, or he goes into the long list of bowlers who were annihilated by the Australian.
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