Australia keen to own ground for second Ashes Test at Lord's

AUSTRALIA will be desperate to avoid a hat-trick of losses at a ground they 'owned' for 75 years when the second Ashes Test starts at Lord's tonight.

After left-arm spinner and second world war hero Hedley Verity led England to victory in 1934 with match figures of 15-104 (including getting Don Bradman twice), the home side had to wait until 2009 to taste success at the venue again.

James Anderson was the hero in that match, setting up England's win with six wickets in the first innings. Australia didn't go down without a fight, losing by 115 runs despite making 406 in the second innings.

Four years later England inflicted Australia's biggest loss at the ground, winning by 347 runs.

After Ian Bell made 109 in the first innings, off-spinner Graeme Swann picked up 5-44 to dismiss the tourists for a paltry 128. It was Joe Root's turn in the second innings, his 180 allowing the home side to declare at 7-349, before Australia was dismissed for 235.

Both line-ups will be significantly different this time around, with just three Australian players from the 2013 match - Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke and Steve Smith - expected to be in the team tonight.

England has also had plenty of changes in the past two years, with just five players - Alastair Cook, Root, Bell, James Anderson and Stuart Broad - still in the line-up.

Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris were also in the Australian XI at Lord's in 2013, but Harris is unavailable this time after announcing his retirement before the first Test, and Siddle is likely to carry the drinks again unless left-arm quick Mitchell Starc is ruled out with a ankle injury.

Reports yesterday suggested selectors had finally lost patience with the 34-year-old Watson who was out lbw twice in the opening Test in Cardiff, the 29th time in his career - and 14th against England - he had been dismissed in that manner.

Watson's axing would open the door for 23-year-old West Australia Mitch Marsh to play his fifth Test.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann said earlier this week Marsh would get his chance sooner or later.

"He's going to get his opportunity somewhere - there's no doubt about - whether it's this Test match or down the track," Lehmann said.

"We've got to put him under the microscope and see how he goes."

Haddin will also miss the Lord's Test after pulling out for personal reasons.

It's the second time the 37-year-old has put family ahead of playing for Australia. In 2012 he took almost a year off after his then 17-month-old daughter Mia was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a rare form of cancer that attacks children aged five years or younger.

Haddin's place has been taken by 29-year-old keeper Peter Nevill who will make his Test debut in the match.


Australia: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.

England: Alastair Cook, Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Stuart Board, James Anderson, Mark Wood.

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