On the eve of the second test match in the Ashes series, England captain Alastair Cook was quoted as saying that despite England's tremendous victory in Cardiff, Australia are still favourites to retain the Ashes.
He must have had a look into his crystal ball, and seen the outcome of the first days play at Lords yesterday.
Aussie skipper Michael Clarke called 'heads' and won the toss and immediately decided to bat. It was a decision the Cook agreed he would have made if he had won the toss.
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The Australian squad has been talking a good game in the lead-up to the Lords test match and they back up their words with actions yesterday. Having won the toss, it was imperative that the Australian batting line-up made the most of a very flat track, and they most definitely did that. At the end of the first day's play, Australia was 337-1.
The only wicket to fall was that of David Warner for 38, with the score at 78. He had a moment of madness and came down the wicket to try and smash Moeen Ali back over his head into the pavilion. He only succeeded in lofting his shot to a backtracking Jimmy Anderson who pouched the chance at long-off.
That wicket was to be England's only success of the day. Chris Rogers with 158 and Steve Smith with 129 then batted out the day with hardly any scares at all and added 259 runs for the second wicket. The unbroken partnership of 259 is a record for Australia's second-wicket at Lord's, and there is every chance that they will extend that record even further.
It was a very long day in the field for England and their bowlers. In all, they tried seven bowlers during the day's play. England did miss one obvious chance when Ian Bell dropped Steve Smith at slip when Smith was on 50.
The Aussies having totally dominated the England bowlers will now want to punish England further on the second day and hopefully get close to 600. Should they reach that target, it will leave them close to three days to take 20 England wickets and level the series at 1-1.
It is very easy to say that it is a flat wicket, but that comment is best left until after England have batted.
If they are chasing a score of 600 the tourists bowlers will put England's batting under extreme pressure and it will be a real test of technique, attitude and commitment for the England batsmen.
If this type of wicket was prepared at the request of the England camp in the hope of blunting the Aussie pace attack, let's hope the English batsmen play as well as the Aussies did today.
With the score as it is after just one day's play, there is very little hope of an English victory. This means all England have to play for is a draw, and when you start playing that way, you become negative, and should England play like that, it is almost guaranteed England will lose the match.
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