Captain Joe Root has demanded “a big response” from his wounded England side as they resume Ashes battle with Australia at Lord’s.
The tourists took a 1-0 lead in the series opener at Edgbaston, converting a first-innings deficit of 90 into a crushing 251-run win.
Root senses the pain that result inflicted on the team and anticipates a fitting reaction at the home of cricket.
The weather forecast for day one is enough to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm but those within the dressing room feel like there is a point to prove.
“Last week will have hurt everyone. Everyone will be absolutely desperate to go and win this week and I expect nothing less,” said Root.
“We really back ourselves to perform and to come back strong. We’ve proven that we do that time and time again when we when we’ve been defeated, especially at home. And I’m expecting a big response from the boys.”
There will be at least two changes to the England side, with Jofra Archer set to replace the injured James Anderson and be joined by at least one of two left-arm options – spinner Jack Leach and swing bowler Sam Curran.
England could conceivably fit both in by removing Joe Denly from the top four and rearranging the order, with 21-year-old Curran receiving a warm tribute from his captain.
“Sam’s a brilliant talent, he’s got the ability to change the game with both bat and ball, similar to Ben Stokes,” said Root, who does not invoke his vice-captain’s talents lightly.
“His record is fantastic. He has had a huge impact in most of the games he’s played, and is a very promising talent. I’m sure he will play a huge amount of Test cricket.”
As for Archer, who will make his Test debut having won as many World Cups as he has played first-class matches in the past 11 months, Root was buoyant.
“He’s certainly very confident and that’s great to see in a young guy. It’s as he should be off the back of a brilliant World Cup,” he said.
“We’re very excited to see him at the start of a journey. Things don’t seem to faze him. He’ll be desperate to prove to everyone how good he says he is.”
Australia skipper Tim Paine is content that his side know all about Archer’s abilities, not least because of his time with Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, but accepts nullifying them may be a different matter.
“A lot of our guys have seen Jofra or faced him which is a plus,” said Paine.
Would love to get on the honours board 👀
— Jofra Archer (@JofraArcher) August 12, 2019
“It’s been in white-ball cricket but we’ve actually faced him in Australia where conditions suit fast bowling. We’ve seen him at his fastest, they know what to expect, they know how skilful he is and how good he is.
“Like most bowlers that play Test cricket there will be times where he’s going to be a real threat and we’re going to have to weather that.”
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are vying for the final bowling place in the Australia XI after James Pattinson was rested.
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