2nd over: Australia 11-0 (Finch 9, Warner 0) Jofra Archer to start from the Pavilion End. His first ball to Australia in what will hopefully be a long and beautiful friendship. It’s a peace offering, floated up outside off stump and driven by Finch for four! Top shot, splitting the cover field along the ground. Jofra gets his length right after that, and Finch watchfully plays out the over. Punch and counter.
1st over: Australia 7-0 (Finch 5, Warner 0) Chris Woakes will get this who on the road. Finch facing the first ball without incident, then edging the second over slip! Went for it hard, as he does, and got a thick airborne edge. Away for four. Then a couple of leg byes off the thigh pad, and a single to cover. Warner gets stranded by a ball that moves away appreciably, so much so that I don’t think you could say that he played at it. Eventful start.
Morning / evening / International Space Station orbit to you all. Which is the more inspiring song: Advance Australia Fair, or Stand By, by Rudimental? A titanic battle for the ages. It’s humid and grey and not too warm here in London. A wet dog sort of day. What will that do to the ball? Let’s find out.
Speaking of Geoff, here he is to take over the OBO controls and guide you through the Australian innings. Cheerio from me.
“Even two-thirds of the way through the Cricket World Cup group stage we are still waiting for teams to peel off their false moustaches and reveal who they really are,” writes Geoff Lemon in his match preview. For a team blessed with a rich history of facial hair, these Australians are actually relatively clean shaven for this tournament. Just Starc, Richardson and Warner can claim to have top lip slugs, and none stand alone – they’re all part of a wider bearded look. Boon, Hughes and Mitchell Johnson in Movember these are not.
Anyway, just a thought that entirely misses the point of Geoff’s excellent article, which you can read here:
But first we’ll have the anthems. Advance Australia first. The players lock arms as a giant cricket ball covered in an Australian flag floats in the background. If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, nothing will. And now God Save the Queen. Nearly ready to go.
“I was at Jimmy Anderson’s book launch recently when he commented that Virat Kohli wasn’t being nice in asking Indian fans not to boo,” writes Evelyn Williames. “He realised that the booing just encouraged them (as it did Stuart Broad in Australia).” We’re about to find out, with Warner under 10 minutes away from walking out onto the hallowed Lord’s turf, alongside his opening partner Aaron Finch.
Today is a big test for England. And it’s not going to get any easier in their remaining two matches. Let’s not forget who lies in store for the hosts in their remaining two games after Australia: India and New Zealand. Defeat today could seriously damage their hopes of reaching the semis, especially with Bangladesh breathing down their necks – who are now just a point behind after victory in Southampton 24 hours ago.
England win the toss and opt to bowl
Morgan flips the coin, Finch calls wrongly and England will bowl first in the overcast conditions.
In terms of teams, Morgan confirms England are unchanged after Archer passed a late fitness test. “He’s good. He had a little stiffness in his side the last two games,” Morgan says, before saying he’s now good to go.
Finch admits he wasn’t sure whether to bat or bowl if he won the toss. Don’t worry about that, Aaron. Two changes for Australia: in come Nathan Lyon, for his first match this tournament, and Jason Behrendorff with Adam Zampa and Nathan Coulter-Nile the men to give way.
The captain doth protest too much. Here’s the inimitable Vic Marks, on Morgan and the fact that is most certainly not a hum-drum, just-another-game for England.
Eoin Morgan is entitled not to over-hype the occasion and to keep his players cool. But the protestation that this is just a routine World Cup match was not entirely convincing. In fact, if England had beaten Sri Lanka at Headingley his view of Tuesday’s mouthwatering meeting with Australia would have more credence.
It is true that England can lose at Lord’s and still control their own destiny in this tournament as they strive to satisfy the bare minimum of expectations: reaching the semi-finals. But if Australia prevail then the nerves really start jangling, however icy-calm Morgan may like to appear. Then England might have to win both their remaining matches, against India and New Zealand, neither of whom have been beaten so far.
More on the weather. The importance of the weather radar to everyone’s enjoyment today cannot be underestimated. There’s cloud cover hanging over Lord’s, but importantly no rain and we’re set to get underway with no delay.
Team news. Confirmed XIs obviously won’t be in until a bit later, but Jofra Archer has been suffering from a side problem and underwent a late fitness test at Lord’s. He’s passed it, according to OBOer Adam Collins.
And Michael Vaughan has just said on the telly that Nathan Lyon may make an appearance for Australia.
“Regaining trust takes a lot of time”. For anyone fearing the Lord’s crowd may delight in getting on the backs of the two players at the centre of the aforementioned scandal, thank goodness then for England captain Eoin Morgan, who took the opportunity on the eve of the match to pour cold water on any hot heads wanting to have a pop at poor old Dave Warner and Steve Smith. No, not really, they’re fair game apparently.
Hello and welcome. Sydney calling first up to set the scene ahead of today’s hugely-anticipated meeting at Lord’s, before handing over to London for the start of play (10:30am local, 7:30pm AEST). It hardly needs hyping, such is the, um, special relationship between these two countries, but the fact that this gives England fans a chance to remind their antipodean cousins of the time Australian cricket imploded in Cape Town 15 months ago is sure to only add even more heat to an already five-chilli occasion.
But it’s not just about two very naughty boys seeking a kind of redemption and some inevitably cheap jokes emanating from the stands today. There’s a Cricket World Cup on, and with just two points separating the sides heading into this fixture, there’s table position to play for. Australia sit in second on 10 points, with England fourth on eight, both having played six games. An Australian win will see them leapfrog New Zealand into top spot and put a huge dent in England’s hopes of reaching the semis; defeat will see England draw level on points. First place plays fourth and second plays third in the semis.
Anyway, please do feel free to get in touch with any thoughts on today’s match. I’ll try to field any emails before handing over to Geoff for the first ball. It’s [email protected] on email or @mike_hytner on Twitter. Go!