Australia Sets England a Target of 371 to Win 2nd Ashes Test

Sat Jul 01 2023
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LONDON: In a display of remarkable courage, Nathan Lyon emerged with a limp to bat as Australia set England a challenging target of 371 runs to win the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Saturday. Despite doubts surrounding his participation due to a calf injury sustained while fielding, Lyon received a standing ovation from spectators at the iconic ‘Home of Cricket’ as he walked out with Australia at 264-9.

However, Lyon’s injury hampered his mobility, and with runners no longer allowed in Test cricket, the situation took an unusual turn. Australia relied on hitting boundaries to add to their total, with Mitchell Starc’s attempted six being knocked back in by substitute fielder Rehan Ahmed. Lyon, limping and displaying incredible determination, managed to complete a single when the ball remained in the air for an extended period.

With England positioning most of their fielders deep, excluding wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, the match reached a stalemate. Starc eventually hit a six, and Lyon contributed with a pulled four off Stuart Broad. Lyon’s gritty effort finally came to an end after facing 13 balls, as he holed out off Broad, who led England’s attack with figures of 4-65. Lyon departed the field to applause from England captain Ben Stokes and the appreciative crowd.

Australia’s Acknowledgment of England’s Proficiency

Lyon’s presence on the field reflected Australia’s acknowledgment of England’s proficiency in successful run-chases, considering their remarkable achievements in the past year. England holds the national record for the highest fourth-innings run chase, a stunning 378 against India at Edgbaston in 2022. However, the highest successful chase at Lord’s remains West Indies’ 344-1 in 1984.

Resuming on Saturday morning at 130-2, Australia, the holders of the Ashes and leading the five-match series 1-0, aimed to build a substantial lead. Usman Khawaja, who played crucial innings of 141 and 65 in the thrilling victory at Edgbaston, started the day unbeaten on 58, while Steve Smith was on six.

Australia seemed well-placed at 187-2 but suffered a collapse, losing three wickets for just 10 runs. Khawaja departed for 77 after mistiming a bouncer from Broad, resulting in a catch at fine leg. Travis Head was dropped on his first ball by James Anderson but soon fell for seven when he fended at a rising delivery from Broad, caught by Joe Root at short leg. Smith, on 34, also fell to a bouncer, hooking it straight to Zak Crawley at deep backward square.

The dismissals of Khawaja and Smith highlighted that Australia, despite their advantage of a substantial lead, could also be vulnerable to the bouncing deliveries. The match stands on a crucial precipice as England faces the daunting task of chasing down 371 runs for victory.

The stage is set for an enthralling battle between the two cricketing giants as the second Ashes Test reaches its climax at Lord’s.


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