Stumps Australia 30 for 1 (Khawaja 18*, Bancroft 5*) trail England 258 (Burns 53, Bairstow 52) by 228 runs
Jonny, be good. It was a plea rather than a statement and Jonny Bairstow duly answered England’s call.
Whether Bairstow’s half-century, his second in Tests in 2019 and his first on home soil in more than a year, combined with Rory Burns‘ fifty proves to be enough remains to be seen but, given Australia’s performance in the opening Test, England’s first-innings total did not look overly impressive.
Most concerning for the hosts, was the events leading up to Bairstow’s entrance. Again, England’s top order floundered, and Burns and Joe Denly were among just four batsmen to pass 20, another being No. 8 Chris Woakes. Even a 66-run stand for the third wicket between Burns and Denly, while somewhat encouraging, was indicative of the England batting collective – a start without going on with it.
Australia battled during a tricky hour under lights at the end of a late session elongated after the washed-out first day. Openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner, who both failed to break into double figures at Edgbaston, looked uncomfortable in the face of a fiery first spell from Test debutant Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad, who has had the measure of Warner in the series so far.
Broad claimed Warner’s wicket for the third time in as many innings, bowling him through the gate off an ideal length for just 3 with a ball that nipped back to take the leg bail and put Australia at 11 for 1, having dismissed him lbw and caught behind in the previous Test.
Archer could have had Warner out an over before with a 90-mph delivery that UltraEdge suggested shaved the bat, but with not so much as an appeal emanating from the bowler or the field, Warner hung on – briefly. Bancroft and Usman Khawaja safely navigated the rest of the session as Australia went to the close with a slight edge.
Archer’s first over in Test cricket yielded plenty of pace and venom with speeds in the low 90s and high 80s after he was made to wait a day to be a part of the action, having been handed his cap by Chris Jordan during a short break in the weather on Wednesday. His first foray came with the bat after Tim Paine won the toss and sent England in.
When Josh Hazlewood claimed the wickets of Jason Roy for a duck and Joe Root for just 14, England were in trouble at 26 for 2 and Paine’s call – which Root said he would have echoed had he won the toss – seemed well justified.
Doubts crept in, however, as Burns and Denly dug in, the former backing up his first-innings 133 in Birmingham with a controlled 53 after he was dropped on 16 by Khawaja at gully off the bowling of Peter Siddle, and Denly making a marginal improvement on his earlier innings of 18 and 11 in this series when he reached 30 to leave the match looking fairly even at lunch.
It took a brilliant catch by Bancroft, diving to his left at short leg, off Pat Cummins to dismiss Burns after Hazlewood had Denly caught behind. The England pair were among four wickets to fall in the second session, as Australia’s bowlers combined well, Cummins banging the ball in short while Hazlewood and Siddle found some away swing from the Pavilion End.
Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes made very little impact to compound England’s batting concerns as Bairstow and Woakes set about rebuilding. Woakes was hit hard on the helmet by a Cummins delivery and, after barely flipping the penultimate ball of the over to the leg side, fell on the next when Cummins’ delivery brushed his thumb on the way through to Paine behind the stumps.
Bairstow compiled his 52 off 95 deliveries, with seven fours, before he picked out Khawaja at deep square leg to hand Cummins his third wicket. Nathan Lyon, who along with Hazlewood also picked up three wickets, moved level with Dennis Lillee on 355 Test wickets, joint-third overall for Australia.
The theme of the day was red, with Lord’s spectators urged to wear the colour and players entering the field wearing bright red caps in honour of the Ruth Strauss Foundation, set up by former England captain Andrew Strauss following the death of his wife last year from a rare form of lung cancer. By stumps the initiative had raised well in excess of £350,000 for cancer research and support for patients and their families.