Australia will want to comeback in the second Test    Getty Images
Australia will want to comeback in the second Test Getty Images

Australia take on England in the second Ashes Test at Lord s from Thursday, July 16. Australia arrive at the home of cricket after a thrashing in the first Test, in which they uncharacteristically collapsed in the first game, costing them the Test within four days. They will however, be up against a confident and refreshingly aggressive England side. Australia arrived at the first Test on the back of two thumping wins in the tour games, but all their hopes were more or less diminished when England won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry wicket which proved to be a masterstroke.

Australia found early success, but the drop of Joe Root on nought by Brad Haddin proved to be the one of the most crucial reasons for Australia’s loss. They also struggled to bowl on a deck which did not have the best of assistance for fast bowlers. ALSO READ: England thrash Australia by 169 runs in 1st Test at Cardiff

Their star players in Steven Smith and Michael Clarke did not have a good game and their batting struggled against a disciplined and always-at-you England bowling attack. The fact that James Anderson was not the sole wicket taker should worry Australia as England seem to have found a perfect back-up to their new ball bowler in Mark Wood. Australia will want to sort their batting issues and strengthen their middle order as both their openers have looked in decent touch.ALSO READ: Australia will recover from heavy defeat, believes Darren Lehmann

Shane Watson had a Test to forget and there have been calls for him to be replaced by Mitchell Marsh, who scored back-to-back tons but was left out of the side for the first Test as Australia opted for experience over youth. There are some doubts over his bowling but Australia now need runs to boost their chances and give their bowlers a good score to defend. ALSO READ: Shane Watson, Brad Haddin criticised by Australian media

Mitchell Johnson has not had best memories of bowling in England, and Australia will need him to be at his best. Clarke used him well in Australia on bouncier and pacy tracks but things are not quite same here and Johnson has looked far from threatening. Clarke might also have to revisit his strategy of having his bowlers bowl quick short spells since it does not seem to be working. He will have to be more patient on surfaces like the one at Cardiff. Though Lord s is likely to have more pace and bounce, Australia will need to do their home work well.

The visitors will also be praying hard for the fitness of Mitchell Starc and hope they have their strike bowler. Even without being at his lethal best, Starc was the highest wicket-taker for them, which goes on to show how good he could be if he is 100 per cent. Josh Hazlewood might not get dropped after one bad game which means Australia are most likely to just the couple of changes. With Brad Haddin opting out of the Test due to personal reasons, Peter Neville will be making his Test debut. This could be the second change with the other one being replacing Watson.

England have far less to worry about as they had a near perfect Test. Their top-order seems to be the only chink in the armour that they will look to fix. Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance have had runs but not in the most convincing manner and England will want them to come good with skipper Alastair Cook, who is showing signs of returning to his best. Root has been in rich vein and form and he already has a special liking for Lord s. Ian Bell and Ben Stokes too chipped in with crucial knocks as England pummelled Australia. ALSO READ: Stuart Broad is back to his best, says Alastair Cook

With Moeen Ali contributing at No. 8, England have no worries about their batting depth and will want to continue the good work of the first Test and carry the momentum ahead. Ali has often chipped in with wickets at crucial junctures to lessen the burden on Anderson.

With Broad back to his best and Wood giving good support to Anderson, England have an attack which looks very threatening at the moment and if Australia do not find a way to counter them, they might as well be two down in the series and under severe, severe pressure.

Squads:

England: Alastair Cook (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Joe Root, Ian Bell, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Gary Ballance, Steven Finn, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood.

Australia: Michael Clarke (c), Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Fawad Ahmed, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Peter Siddle, Adam Voges, Pat Cummins.

Time: 3:30 IST | 11:00 local | 10:00 GMT

(Nikhil Popat is a diehard cricket enthusiast and a PotterHead till the end of time. He can be followed on Twitter @CricCrazyNIKS)