WHEN you consider how well England performed in Cardiff, it was a big surprise to see them lose the way they did at Lord’s
There are all kinds of words you can use to describe what happened at the weekend, but England were, quite simply, hammered. It was remarkable and kind of a mirror image of what happened in Cardiff.
With a score of that size (by Australia), you always feared that England were going to lose some wickets against the new ball and that is what happened.
With Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes, I thought they did really well to recover and get over 300 like they did but, after that, it was a pretty disappointing display all round really.
Australia were ruthless. They admitted that they were slightly complacent in Cardiff and they were a bit careless in the way that they batted, but at Lord’s they were just relentless.
With Chris Rogers getting almost 180 and Steve Smith getting a double century, there was a ruthlessness about their batting which made it clear they weren’t going to make the same mistakes again and once you’ve got 560 runs on the board, you’re in control of the game.
Their captain Michael Clarke used Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson well – in short bursts so they had lots of pace and that made all the difference really, particularly when you’re bowling at tired minds and tired legs because as a batsman, your movements aren’t quite quick enough and you can get exposed.
So I think the nature of the Australian batting allowed Clarke to use his bowlers in the way that he did. Mitchell Marsh came in and did a really good job and he looks a great cricketer and he impressed on debut with both bat and ball.
But England just didn’t appear to know how to play the situation, whether to attack or defend and it all looked very tentative as a result.
Clearly there is a problem in that England do lose two or three wickets early on a regular basis, but at the same time I’m sure they won’t want to show panic by making wholesale changes given that we won the first Test and played well in Cardiff.
Clearly the defeat at Lord’s is a resounding one but they won’t want to appear to be panicking. So it’s going to be very interesting to see what they do because, other than Jonny Bairstow here at Yorkshire, there are not too many other options.
It’s a big headache for the selectors.
Psychologically it is a big blow for England to lose as heavily as they did and it is going to be a huge challenge for them to come back from it because the gremlins are kind of there and the Australians are going to be sowing the seeds of doubt as much as they can between now and the next Test at Edgbaston next Wednesday.
It’s a huge mental challenge as well as a technical one, not just for the England batsmen, but also their bowlers too because, from a bowling point of view, Cook’s players will be hoping that there is some kind of sideways assistance for them when they get to Edgbaston whether off the pitch or in the air – there seemed to be precious little of either for them at Lord’s.
England’s players need to wipe Lord’s from their minds as soon as possible and get back to the way it was in Cardiff – but that is not going to be easy.