London: England chose to bowl first against Australia on a green strip under cloudy skies at Lord’s in the second Ashes test Wednesday.
“The overheads have played a massive part in this,” England captain Ben Stokes said. “The wicket looks like it’s got plenty of grass on it so hopefully we can exploit that this morning.”
Australia chose fast bowler Mitchell Starc ahead of Scott Boland in the only change to the side which won the first test by two wickets at Edgbaston.
Starc played in the world test championship final win against India at the Oval this month but lost out to Boland at Edgbaston when Josh Hazlewood returned from injury.
The cloud cover at Lord’s was expected to tip the scales in favor of the accurate Boland again but Starc’s pace and bounce was preferred.
“We just wanted some variety,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said. “We’re really happy with how Scott has been going. Unfortunately he is the one to miss out this week but we’re excited to have someone of Starcy’s class come back in.”
England named its side Tuesday, choosing an all-seam attack and no frontline spinner. Josh Tongue is the fourth quick, making his second appearance after a dream debut this month in the Ashes warmup against Ireland, also at Lord’s. He took 5-66 in the second innings of a three-day win.
Tongue was also the first bowler to dismiss Steve Smith during the Australian’s brief sojourn in the County Championship this year.
Tongue replaced off-spinner Moeen Ali in the only change to England. Ali injured his spinning finger in his comeback test at Edgbaston but he trained fully this week. England will rely on the part-time off-breaks of Joe Root, who has 18 wickets from 29 tests at an average of 55.44. Stokes said he will also bowl more after committing to 14 overs for two wickets in the first test.
“We felt having the four seamers, we wanted a point of difference and Tonguey gives us that,” Stokes said. “Joe bowled well last week when he got responsibility with the ball. He’s really enjoyed the challenge of coming on and changing the game with the ball.”
England: Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Josh Tongue, James Anderson.
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (captain), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.