Australia coach Justin Langer has termed the Lord’s pitch an ‘interesting’ one, having had a look at it three days before the second Test. Australia, who enjoy a very good record at Lord’s, had an optional training session on Sunday and post that, Langer mentioned that the squad is well equipped to handle any surface that is offered. “The wicket is really interesting, it looks like it’s going to be a really flat wicket to me,” Langer said.
“It’s quite dry though. It’s not a surprise… the wicket is the last thing you look at when you come to Lord’s. Most grounds it’s the first thing to look at but here, there’s so much else to admire and love about being here. But whether it’s a green-top or a dry wicket, we have really good options and that’s nice as a coach and selector.”
With the wicket expected to aide turn, Australia are likely to pick only three pacers and that would mean a couple of high-profile names might miss out on selection yet again, like it was the case in the opening Test that they won. “Whoever misses out it’s going to be tough,” Langer pointed out. “The one who will be twelfth man it will be even tougher, whether that be Sidds (Siddle) or Josh (Hazlewood) or James Pattinson, whether it’s Starcy (Mitchell Starc) or Pat Cummins, they are all very, very good bowlers.”
Langer admitted to being curious on how Jofra Archer is going to fare on his debut. With James Anderson sidelined due to an injury, England are expected to unleash Archer to add firepower to their bowling. “He’s a very skilled bowler and a great athlete, but Test cricket is very different to white-ball cricket,” Langer warned. “Like we’ve talked about a long time, we’ve got to keep wearing them (England’s bowlers) down and get him back into his second or third and fourth spells.”
The 48-year-old saw plenty of positives from Australia’s tour game against Worcestershire that ended in a draw. “Travis Head played well,” Langer remarked. “He has a huge future. He’s very coachable, he’s got better every time he plays. Josh Hazlewood bowled very economically. He got some wickets which was good for his confidence, Starcy does what he does best, he shook up the tail. He took a couple of wickets really swinging them back, an LBW early. It was good to see Mitch Marsh spend a bit of time in the middle if we need an all-rounder, he bowled a few overs as well. Uzzie got some time in the middle. There were some good things to come out of Worcester.”
Langer also remained coy on the possibility of Pat Cummins playing all five Tests in the series, especially given his injury record in the past and the gruelling schedule. “In theory, you would like him to play all five Tests,” Langer said. “Those back-to-back Test matches depends a lot on how much he bowls. He bowled the most overs in the first Test, but depends on how the game goes and how many overs he bowls. On how much batting there is in between, whether we’ve bowled last or we’ve bowled in the third innings of the game. All those things will come into it.
“You’d like him to play all five but I am not sure it’s humanly possible. He’s the No 1 bowler in the world. You also have Josh Hazlewood who has played 40-odd Tests and is a gun and Mitch Starc who took 10 wickets in his last Test match. And he’s played 40-odd Tests as well.”