England Cricket Team Analysis

While the panic button is yet to be hit, England needs to fire early at Lord’s after their first test humbling. Allowing the Aussies to get on top would increase the already growing pressure on the home side. Few will forget that they had the tourists 8/122 on day one at Edgbaston, feebly losing their grip on the game through a combination of bad luck (Jimmy Anderson’s calf injury), poor decision making and misfortune in the form of an otherworldly Steve Smith.

The good news for them is that they’ve been here before, and fought their way through. They were comprehensively beaten in the first test of the 2005 series, going on to famously prevail 2-1. And while Anderson remains sidelined indefinitely, in Jofra Archer, they welcome in perhaps the most exciting young talent in world cricket. The boots he fills could hardly be bigger, but the extra pace he is sure to generate couldn’t come quicker for an England side that lacked grunt in Birmingham. Jack Leach will replace the struggling Moeen in the spinner’s spot, hoping to exploit the apparent ‘weakness’ Smith has to left-arm orthodox. But whether the Somerset tweaker’s variations present the same troubles as that of Ravindra Jadeja and Rangana Herath in the subcontinent is unlikely. The last change could come in the form of Sam Curran for Joe Denly, although England will likely leave that until after the final pitch inspection before the toss.

Australia Cricket Team Analysis

The first test win at Edgbaston was immediately celebrated as one of the best of the modern era for the Aussies, and it’s not difficult to see why. Smith’s double tons, Wade’s comeback runs Lyon’s final day dominance, and so much more. It was indeed one to savour for Australian cricket. And after a nine-day break, Tim Paine and co saddle up for a real opportunity to go 2-0 up in an away Ashes series. In truth, they’ll hardly get a better chance. Riding the momentum of the crushing win in Birmingham, Lord’s doesn’t present an intimidating prospect for the visiting Australian side. A ground steeped in history and tradition, the Aussies boast 15 wins at the home of cricket, compared to England’s seven. In fact, the home side has defeated Australia there just twice since 1934. The last time they faced off at cricket’s spiritual home (in 2015), Smith peeled off 215 in the first innings as the Aussies routed England by 405 runs. After Edgbaston, the seemingly infallible Smith has unsurprisingly firmed in all series futures markets and is already 175 runs ahead of his nearest teammate to be Australia’s series top scorer.

As always, the prospective XI carries much intrigue, but after the dominant first test win, it’s difficult to see any changes. Josh Hazlewood impressed in the tour game at Worcester, but Peter Siddle or James Pattinson would count themselves incredibly unlucky to miss out. The Aussies could well go in unchanged.

The Ashes Betting Tips

The first thing punters will consider ahead of Wednesday is the weather, with rain forecast for the first day, and intermittent delays expected throughout the test match. That has naturally brought the draw into play, but should the pitch offer the spice some are reporting it will, low totals will likely follow and a result within five days is more than likely.

The players to look out for are Chris Woakes, who took 6/17 in his last outing at Lord’s. His four tests at the venue have reaped 24 wickets at a more-than-tidy average of 9.75. Ben Stokes, meanwhile, looked the most solid of all the English batsmen at Edgbaston. For the Aussies, it’s a brave man who’ll be betting against Steve Smith in his current form, while Pat Cummins should prove a continuous threat whether the pitch is flat, lively and anything in between.

Betting Market Betting Tip
Win: Australia
Top England Runscorer: Ben Stokes
Top England Wicket Taker: Chris Woakes
Top Australia Runscorer: Steve Smith
Top Australia Wicket Taker: Pat Cummins