Openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook made the most of a wayward Australia attack with an unbroken century stand as England dominated the early stages of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s yesterday.
England at lunch were 126 without loss as they sought a first Test win over Australia at Lord’s in 75 years.
England captain Strauss, on his Middlesex home ground, was 47 not out after winning the toss and fellow left-hander Cook 67 not out, with 56 of his runs coming in boundaries.
Australia left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, billed as the spearhead of a four-man attack, had a morning to forget with his eight overs costing an expensive 53 runs.
Only Ben Hilfenhaus of Australia’s trio of seamers maintained some order with nine overs for 16 runs.
Johnson, who had struggled during the closing stages of the drawn first Test in Cardiff, saw his first ball of the day clipped off his legs by Cook for four.
The bowler was struggling on both sides of the wicket, with Strauss striking him for four boundaries in six balls.
Cook, defending with an angled bat, had a nervy moment on 9 when he edged Hilfenhaus just wide of Australia captain Ricky Ponting at second slip.
Otherwise, England were untroubled and Strauss’ superb drive to the extra-cover boundary off Peter Siddle brought up the half-century stand in 78 balls. Cook then showed his form by seizing on a Siddle delivery that was only fractionally short to pull the pace man for four through mid-wicket.
When Johnson dropped short twice in two balls outside off-stump, on a typically good Lord’s pitch, he was square-cut for successive fours by Cook.
Australia, again without Brett Lee after the fast bowler was ruled out with the rib problem that saw him miss the first Test, were struggling. Even when Cook edged Siddle, the ball fell safe as the Essex batsman completed a 73-ball half-century that included 11 boundaries.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin conceded four byes he should not have let through before he was unfairly punished when a wide Siddle delivery was also credited as four byes.