Ashes 2015: Five reasons why England can still save the Second Test against Australia and win the Ashes back

The Australia we all expected finally turned up at Lord's to post a formidable 566-8d

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The Independent Online

Steve Smith may have put the Second Ashes Test firmly into Australia’s hands, but England must not panic just yet with plenty of time left to save the match at Lord’s.

In fact, as Australia surged past the 500 mark, England could take positives from their first innings that offers them hope not just for the remaining three days but for the rest of the 2015 Ashes Series as a whole.

With Alastair Cook’s side facing a hefty run chase to level the scores heading into the second innings, here’s five things that England can take heart from over the next three days.

 

Michael Clarke appears to have forgotten how to bat

38, 4 and 7 stand as dismal figures for a batsman of Clarke’s calibre, and it won’t help a team it the man who is meant to lead by example fails to do so. If questions begin to arise over Clarke’s form, it will rob the side of the confidence that the first innings at Lord’s injected them with. While Clarke will be afforded more time than his team-mate Shane Watson was, another failure in the second innings will prompt unwelcome questions of the skipper.

Australia have used up a lot of the Test match – England can do the same

As Australia started losing wickets on Friday afternoon, all eyes turned to the Australia balcony to see if a declaration was coming. We waited, and waited, and waited, and as Australia passes the 550 mark just before tea we wondered if it was ever going to come. When it eventually did, the majority of two days had been used up and if England manage to do something similar, a draw will be a nigh-on certainty come Monday evening. Four more draws means England win back the Ashes, but it’s going to more exciting than that – isn’t it?

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Smith starred but Australia used up over a third of the match

Australia’s middle order failed once again

With Australia well set-up by a wonderful innings of 215 from Steve Smith and 173 from Chris Rogers, Australia wobbled and saw Clarke, Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh come and go in quick succession. Peter Neville stuck about for a promising 44 on debut, but it was little to write home about and Australia are yet to put together a complete batting performance.

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Nevill was the only middle-order batsman to offer any runs of note

David Warner can’t seem to build an innings anymore

There was a time when it appeared that everything Warner touched would go for six. He showed signs of that form on day one in the first innings at Lord’s, only to see an almighty slog find the waiting hands of James Anderson in the deep when well settled on 38. A poor return of 17 in the first innings in Cardiff didn’t do him any good either, and it was a surprise to see Warner walk when on 52 after Moeen Ali trapped him lbw. Usually at least two of those would have been converted into a three-figure total, so what’s changed?

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Warner has got himself in but keeps finding ways to get out

England’s bowlers learnt from their day one mistakes

Stuart Broad exempt, England’s bowling on Thursday was pretty dreadful, and the decision from Alastair Cook to throw on Adam Lyth in a bid to get anything out of a flat track. The result? One wicket all day. However, the second day saw Broad and James Anderson take on the bulk of the attack, ably assisted by Mark Wood and Moeen. If they continue to learn from the errors of their way, then the performances should improve as the series goes by.

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