England came close to wasting a superb fightback with some brainless batting late on the second day of the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s.
The home side had done much to reverse the damage of a poor opening day, bowling Australia out for 416 and reaching 188-1 in response.
But Ollie Pope, Ben Duckett and Joe Root all gifted their wickets to Australia’s telegraphed short-ball plan, Duckett falling for 98 and missing out on a maiden Ashes hundred.
The three wickets fell for 34 runs before Harry Brook, who had several near misses in his 45, and captain Ben Stokes, with a calm 17 from 57 balls, took England to 278-4, 138 behind.
The carelessness of England’s batting was compounded by the fact key Australia spinner Nathan Lyon was off the field with a calf injury that will be assessed overnight.
Steve Smith earlier completed his 32nd Test hundred before being dismissed for 110 by Josh Tongue.
That was part of an Australia collapse of five wickets for 65 runs on Thursday morning, with Tongue and Ollie Robinson finishing with three wickets apiece. (BBC)