Rogers rides his Lord’s luck
Aussies start well despite Warner lapse
CHRIS Rogers rode his luck as Australia made an excellent start in the second Ashes Test against England at Lord’s last night.
Australia was 1-104 at lunch on the first day, with David Warner the only batsman dismissed, as it looked to level the five-match series at 1-1 after its 169-run defeat in the first Test in Cardiff last week.
Rogers was 43 not out, on a ground he knows well from his time with Lord’s-based county side Middlesex, and Steven Smith 16 not out.
Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first on what looked another typically good pitch at the home of cricket.
Initially overcast skies offered a hint of swing movement.
In the first over, Rogers was fortunate to survive when he edged an intended drive off James Anderson just over the top of the slip cordon for four.
Warner is generally the more aggressive of Australia’s two left-handed openers, but it took him 25 balls to score his first four last night, pulling first-change Mark Wood.
Rogers did not look secure and repeatedly played and missed.
By contrast, Warner started to find his touch with five fours, all off fast bowler Wood, in 13 balls.
England captain Alastair Cook brought on Moeen Ali after drinks.
But with Australia determined not to let the off-spinner settle, Warner slog-swept Moeen’s first ball for four.
Moeen, however, had his revenge five balls later as he dismissed Warner for the second time in as many innings.
Warner came down the pitch but his lofted drive was caught by Anderson on the run at deep mid-off and was out for a near run-a-ball 38 that included seven boundaries.
It left Australia 1-78 off exactly 15 overs.
England fielded the same side that won in Cardiff after all-rounder Moeen overcame a slight side strain.
But Ashes holder Australia — looking for its first Test series win in Britain in 14 years — made two changes.
Wicket-keeper Peter Nevill made his international debut after first-choice gloveman Brad Haddin withdrew for personal reasons while Mitchell Marsh came in for dropped fellow all-rounder Shane Watson.
Former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy said before the tour that Nevill would be up to handling the pressure if handed a debut.
“I am happy with his emergence. When it became obvious they were not going to pick Chris Hartley I felt he was the one who has a good idea about his wicket-keeping,” Healy said.
“I would have first seen him five years ago at the elite keepers’ camp at the academy.
“He is a good hard worker with a solid and repeatable technique.
“He has worked ever harder. He has a game which should hold up under pressure. He’s good.’’
Statistics say that the toss was massive for Clarke to win.
In the three Tests played on England soil this year (two against New Zealand) the team batting first has won.
Australia didn’t lose a Test where Clarke won the toss on the last tour in 2013 when England got up 3-0.
“We’ve had a lot of success over our history of cricket at Lord’s. It’s a wonderful place to play,” Clarke said.