London : Australia dominated the first day of the 2nd test match between Australia and England played at the Lord’s Cricket ground, after two unbeaten centuries by Chris Rogers and Steven Smith, posting a massive total of 337/1 at stumps.
Chris Rogers and Steven Smith stood for a partnership of 259 runs which broke the previous Australia second-wicket record at Lord’s of 231 set by Bill Woodfull and Don Bradman which had stood since 1930.
England’s lone success in 90 overs’ of toil was when off-spinner Moeen Ali had David Warner (38) caught in the covers by James Anderson shortly after the first hour’s play.
Not since Geoff Marsh (125 not out) and Mark Taylor (141 not out) took their side to 301 without loss against England on the first day of the fifth Test at Trent Bridge in 1989 had Australia produced such a commanding display with the bat on the opening day of an Ashes match.
It was just the response the Ashes-holders, looking to win their first Test series in Britain in 14 years, would have wanted following England’s 169-run win in the first Test in Cardiff last week. Left-hander Rogers — who plans to retire after this series — knows ‘the home of cricket’ well from his time with Lord’s-based county side Middlesex.
This was the 37-year-old’s eighth fifty in nine Test innings but the first one in that sequence he had converted into a hundred. Rogers batted the whole day as he spent more than six hours at the crease and in the process scored his fifth hundred in 22 Tests.
It was his highest score at this level, comfortably topping his 119 against England at Sydney in 2014.
“That’s probably a little bit better to bat on than a usual Lord’s pitch,” Rogers told Sky Sports after both he and Smith gained a place on the Lord’s honours board. “It’s one of the proudest moments of my career. To get a hundred here is so special.”
Initially overcast skies offered a hint of swing movement but long before tea the sun had broken through as conditions for batting eased. The first over saw Rogers fortunate to survive when he edged an intended drive off Anderson just over the top of the slips for four. England captain Alastair Cook brought on Ali after drinks.
But with Australia determined not to let the off-spinner settle, Warner slog-swept Ali’s first ball for four. Ali, however, had his revenge five balls later to leave Australia were 78 for one. Smith, until twice making 33 in Cardiff ranked as the world’s number one Test batsman, should have been out for 50 when he edged all-rounder Ben Stokes only for Ian Bell to floor the low chance at second slip.
Smith joined Rogers in the 90s with a straight driven six into the Pavilion against the part-time off-spin of Joe Root. Australia’s No 3, despite giving Rogers a 35-run and 70-minute ‘head start’, was the first of the duo to a century. Chris Rogers and Steven Smith were the real stars for the aussie cricket on stumps of day one.