Buttler, Stokes, Stoic Against The Blood-thirsty Australia > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Buttler, Stokes stoic against blood-thirsty Australia

Buttler and Stokes employed a defensive approach in damp conditions to drag this game to its inevitable fate

On the field, Ben Stokes' unbeaten 19th Test half-century not only arrested England's slide but also pushed their lead to 165 at lunch on the final day of the second Ashes Test at Lord's. However, the seemingly inconsequential day of Test cricket was still dominated by yesterday's events and its repercussions.

Besides the unrelenting rain that chewed up the first 70 minutes of potential cricket, there was more inauspicious news to start the Sunday: Steve Smith, who copped two blows to his body on Saturday facing an intense spell from Jofra Archer post-lunch, was withdrawn by the Australian team for the remainder of the game due to a delayed concussion. As per the latest changes to the ICC regulations, Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket. Even though Cricket Australia have not officially ruled Smith out of the Leeds Test (which begins in three days' time) yet, they admitted it doesn't work in favour of the former skipper.

The wicket-less, 80-minute session - curtailed due to morning rain - saw England stretch their lead beyond 150 and more importantly, doing so without losing further wickets. Resuming from a lead of 104 overnight, Stokes and Jos Buttler continued the hard work they put in yesterday to prevent a collapse that could have potentially put Australia in driver's seat.

Josh Hazlewood, and Australia, took an LBW appeal against Stokes upstairs after being turned down the by the on-field umpire, early into the day. However, the inside edge only meant the visitors lost another review to poor judgement. The uneventful session otherwise saw a couple of nervy edges, but no real damage for England. Stokes and Buttler's partnership now stands, unbeaten, at 86. A declaration from England seems unlikely - given their 0-1 standing in the series - which all but seals an inevitable draw in this rain-affected contest, unless, of course, a dramatic session unfolds after the break

Brief scores: England 258 and 157/4 (Ben Stokes 51*, Jos Buttler 31*) lead Australia 250, by 165 runs.

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