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The Ashes: Second Test preview

The Ashes series in England got off to a thrilling start as Australia edged a two-wicket victory at Edgbaston and there are no reasons not to expect similar when the two sides go at it again at Lord's.

The Baggy Greens took a potentially crucial series lead by claiming the spoils in Birmingham, but they will be well aware that the hosts hope to hit back quickly at the Home of Cricket.

Lord's, though, has been something of a happy hunting ground for Australia over the years, with the tourists having won 15 times at the venue, as compared to just seven victories for England.

WhatEngland v Australia, second Test
WhereLord's, London, England
When28th June - 2nd July, 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsEngland 2.62, Draw 5.00, Australia 2.10

Opening win could prove crucial

Australia may be without an outright Ashes series victory in England since 2001, but they have put themselves in a superb position thanks to their efforts at Edgbaston, where a number of players stepped up to the plate.

The win was all the more impressive as the big three of Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Travis Head contributed just a single 50 between them across their six knocks.

Usman Khawaja put previous struggles in England behind him to record knocks of 141 and 65 which were absolutely crucial to the cause and earned him the player of the match award.

Skipper Pat Cummins took four crucial second-innings wickets and then made an unbeaten 44 to steer his side home when they looked to be heading to defeat, leaving Australia 1.50 to claim an outright series triumph.

He was aided and abetted by Nathan Lyon, who contributed 16 not out to an unbroken stand of 55 with his captain, with the off-spinner having earlier claimed eight wickets in the match.

Lord's holds happy memories

Over the years Australia, 2.10 to win the second Test, have certainly enjoyed themselves at the Home of Cricket, while their most recent visit in 2019 ended in a draw.

Four years earlier Smith made 215 and 58 as the tourists romped to a massive 405-run win, bowling England out for just 103 in their second innings after they had been set 509 to record an unlikely victory.

The matches in 2013 and 2009 both went the way of the hosts, but the Baggy Greens had taken the honours in five of the previous six Tests at Lord's and, in fact, England failed to win an Ashes Test at the venue between 1934 and 2009.

Smith will certainly be relishing the prospect of heading back to HQ, having backed up his 2015 efforts with 92 in the 2019 draw and he is 4.75 to be Top 1st Innings Batter, while the right-hander is 4.75 to be Top Match Batter.

Both sides may opt for changes

With a packed schedule set to play out over the next few weeks, both teams may decide to tinker with their line-ups for the Lord's showdown.

Australia have a fit and fresh Mitchell Starc waiting on the sidelines to come in and his left-arm pace may be preferred to the nagging accuracy of Scott Boland, who took some punishment in taking just two wickets in the match at Edgbaston.

Starc is unlikely to be any more economical than Boland, but does offer a greater wicket-taking threat.

Opener David Warner made 9 and 36 in the series opener and needs to find some form quickly if he is to avoid being axed, however, his last visit to Lord's in 2019 saw him dismissed for 3 and 5.

England have tried to play down the significance of being beaten at Edgbaston and are determined to hit back hard in the second Test, but they do have some selection puzzles to solve.

Off-spinner Moeen Ali unsurprisingly struggled on his return to Test cricket after two years away and leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has been called up as cover, while England have Mark Wood, Matthew Potts and Josh Tongue as options if they switch around their seam attack.

The extra pace of Wood seems to be the most likely call-up and he is 4.00 to be Team - Top 1st Inns Bowler, with James Anderson and Stuart Broad heading to a ground where they are the only two players in history to have taken more than 100 Test wickets.

Stokes role remains unclear

The main issue for England surrounds captain Ben Stokes, whose ongoing knee problems restricted him to seven overs in each of the two Australian innings at Edgbaston.

Stokes has also been struggling with the bat despite his side's recent successes in red-ball cricket, having not passed 50 in any of his last 13 Test innings.

He will hope to be inspired by holding the record for the fastest Test century made at Lord's in a Test match, having reached three figures from just 85 balls against New Zealand in 2015.

Stokes also made 115 not out in the draw against Australia four years ago and he is 21.00 to be Top Match Batter and 12.00 to be named Player of the Match.

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