Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Jon Lewis throws weight behind Jack Leach, defends bowling combination. Leach conceded 95 runs in his 11 overs
Leach conceded 95 runs in his 11 overs
England's bowling coach Jon Lewis came to the defence of the visiting side after a commanding performance from the Australian batters on Day 2 of the opening Ashes Test at Gabba. Australia ended the day with a lead of 196 and still three wickets left, with Travis Head (112* off 95) still at the crease. Following a 156-run second-wicket stand involving David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, Australia slipped to 195 for 5 but Head led a super counterattack to put his side in the ascendancy.
It was also a day to forget for Jack Leach, whose 11 overs yielded 95 runs with only wicket of Labuschagne to show for. Lewis dismissed suggestions that England lacked an extra pace option, while backing the team to fight back in the remaining days.
“I don't think so,” said Lewis when asked if England got their bowling combination wrong. “We looked at the pitch on the morning of the game and decided to go with the make-up of the team that we have. That was what we felt was the right decision and I think if we'd all bowled to the best of our ability then we'd have put Australia under a bit more pressure than they were today. However, we still took seven Australian wickets today. We are a bit behind in the game, but I know the guys will come back fighting in the next three days.
“It wouldn't be one of Leach's best days. It will be a day he wants to put the back of his memory. But I know that Jack's a pretty resilient fella. And there's only days gone in the Test match. We're definitely not defeated yet. I'd expect Jack to come back strong again tomorrow and show the character that I know he has. There's a lot more cricket to be played,” added Lewis.
England, meanwhile, are sweating on the fitness of Ben Stokes who appeared to have injured his knee while fielding in the 29th over. He bowled only nine overs in the day, going for 50 runs. “Obviously Ben has hurt himself on the field today so didn't bowl full pace at the back end of the day. Think our medical guys will assess him overnight and see how he is. Other than that the guys are okay,” said Lewis.
Robinson, who was the most impressive of the England bowlers on the day, left the field with some soreness and while he returned to the field late in the day, he did not bowl with the second new ball. The 28-year-old, however, said he should be fine to resume bowling duties on Day 3. “My body is doing OK. I came off for some strapping and maintenance but I'll rest up tonight and come back (on Friday),” he said.
Speaking about Stokes' limited role with the ball on Day 2 and England's overall bowling performance, Robinson said: “It's always tough when a seamer goes down, especially in these conditions. He (Stokes) has got something that not all of us have – he's got that pace and bounce – so it hurts us a little bit. The other boys took the slack and I thought it was a good effort in the end. It was a warm one. They were tough conditions for us but the boys toiled hard. There were some missed opportunities and on another day we could have them four down early.”
Earlier in the day, Warner got a reprieve when he was bowled off a no-ball by Stokes in the 13th over. It was later known that Stokes had bowled as many as 14 no-balls in his first five overs, with only two of them being called by the on-field umpire. The technology for tracking front-foot landing every delivery by the third umpire wasn't working before the game started, which meant that the previous playing conditions – checking for no-balls whenever a wicket fell – had to be used.
“What a fast bowler needs is some sort of understanding of where their feet are because obviously you can't see your own feet,” said Lewis. “So, if the umpires are watching the line, then after the first ball – that's Ben's first ball on this ground for eight years, (they should have called the no-ball). In England we have bowl-throughs in the morning. We don't have them on the square in Australia so it'll be the first time he's run up from that end in eight years.
“So he will need some feedback from the umpires to understand where his feet are and to then make an adjustment. If you don't know where your feet are it's very hard to make an adjustment. It would have been nice for the first no-ball to be called so he could have made an adjustment. From then on, he would have been behind the line because he knows where his feet are,” said Lewis.