Ashes 2019: Nasser Hussain urges bruised England to request green top at Lord’s for second Test
Joe Root has a few issues on his hands going into the Lord's Test. © AFP

Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes that captain Joe Root and coach Trevor Bayliss should demand a green surface at Lord’s for the second Test match against Australia as they seek to prevent Tim Paine’s team from taking another massive step towards ending an 18-year away Ashes drought.

Australia hammered England by 251 runs on Monday at Edgbaston to take a 1-0 lead in the Ashes series, and Hussain urged the home team to request a livelier track at Lord’s as opposed to the “flat” track at Edgbaston.


The game reminded me of recent Ashes Tests in Australia, when the pitch is flat and there’s nothing in it for the seamers. Look at the difference in the way the teams bowled on the fourth and fifth days here,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.

Australia vs England 1st Ashes Test
Australia head to Lord’s with a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series. AFP

“Yes, England badly missed Jimmy Anderson, but you could see how much their three seamers needed lateral movement as Australia racked up 487 for seven in their second innings. Then, when it was Australia’s turn to bowl, they got so much more out of the surface. It wasn’t that they were a lot quicker than England’s seamers – it was more their control of line and length, which gave them that bit of extra zip.


“Look at the way Rory Burns and Jonny Bairstow were bumped out by Pat Cummins. Or the way Peter Siddle hurried Joe Root because he bowls a good length and tries to hit the top of off stump. Australia’s seamers have been very impressive in this game, and they’ve got power to add, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood waiting in the wings.

“Root has a problem, because he’s going to have to go to Lord’s groundsman Karl McDermott, who he criticised after the Ireland Test and say, please can we have a nice green top against Australia? Because England need the ball to move off the straight and narrow if they’re going to have any chance of removing Smith and therefore troubling Australia.”

Joe Root england captain
Joe Root walks back after being dismissed on Monday. AFP

In Hussain’s view, the nature of the Edgbaston track played into Australia’s hands because of their varied pace attack and the skill of their more aggressive batsmen.

(READ: What we learned from the Edgbaston Test)

“On flat pitches, not only does the extra edge of Australia’s seamers count in their favour, but their batsmen – who love to hit through the line – feel more at home,” he wrote.

“The trouble is, Root will be going cap in hand knowing full well he’ll be without Anderson, the bowler most likely to prosper in those conditions. In that respect, losing him has proved a triple whammy. It allowed Australia to wriggle off the hook on the first day, it meant England’s other bowlers carried too big a burden, and it leaves them underpowered for Lord’s, and possibly beyond.”

(READ: England sweating over fitness of James Anderson after second calf scan)

With Anderson all but out of the Lord’s Test, Hussain felt that England needed to hand World Cup breakout star Jofra Archer his Test debut.

“Jofra Archer has to play, clearly, and Root might decide to use him against Smith: here, have five overs at him and give it everything,” he wrote. “One way or another, England have to stick to a plan against Smith – whether it’s Archer charging in, or the other bowlers drying him up outside off stump. At Edgbaston, they seemed unsure what the plan was.

What Root needs to tell himself is that Australia are vulnerable too – as long as the conditions are in England’s favour. Over to you, Karl McDermott.”

The second Ashes Test starts August 14.