England captain Andrew Strauss continued to enjoy himself against Australia’s attack after deciding against enforcing the follow-on at Lord’s on the third day of the second Ashes Test yesterday.
At lunch, England were 57 without loss in their second innings — a lead of 267 runs.
Strauss, who made 161 in the first innings, was 24 not out and fellow left-hander Alastair Cook, out for 95 first time around, was unbeaten on 32 after putting on 196 with his captain on Thursday.
England, having escaped with a draw in last week’s series opener in Cardiff, were bidding to win their first Test against Australia at Lord’s in 75 years.
They once more took a toll of left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, whose three overs cost 17 runs, and even the normally reliable Ben Hilfenhaus was driven through extra-cover and pulled for four off successive balls by Cook.
Strauss could have enforced the follow-on earlier yesterday after Australia were bowled out for 215 in reply to England’s first innings 425.
That left Australia 11 runs shy of avoiding a possible follow-on and meant England had a first innings lead of 210.
Strauss though, perhaps mindful of Sri Lanka in 2006 and South Africa last year — when the Proteas made 393 for three declared in their second innings — had saved Tests at Lord’s after following-on, decided England would bat again.
That he had a choice was largely down to an accurate spell of bowling from Durham’s Graham Onions after Australia resumed on 156 for eight.
Onions took two wickets for nine runs in three overs to finish the innings with three for 41 from 11 overs.
James Anderson, who starred with both bat and ball on Friday, was unable to add to his haul, but his return of four for 55 still represented his Test-best figures against Australia.
Australia resumed with Nathan Hauritz and Peter Siddle both on 3 not out.
The ninth-wicket duo put on 44, aided by some wasteful bowling from seamer Stuart Broad, before Hauritz steered Onions’s third ball to Paul Collingwood, who took a sharp head-high catch at third slip.
Siddle’s Test-best innings of 35, off 47 balls with five fours, ended when Onions, again showing the value of bowling a good length, had him caught at first slip by Strauss.