x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lord's gives Australia that feeling of being at home

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting may have been disappointed after the first Test, but the form book shows it is England who have work to do.

Forlorn. Dejected. Dismayed. Adjectives galore to describe Australian captain Ricky Ponting's face as England salvaged a draw in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff. But Ponting will smile at the venue of the second Test, which starts today. He will be aware of Australia's historic domination at Lord's. England haven't beaten their urn rivals at the home of cricket since the heady summer of 1934.

As Europe stared down the barrel of a war, Hedley Verity was England's one-man army that day. He blitzed the Australians, becoming the only bowler in Test match history to take 14 wickets in a day. It was England's first victory over Australia at Lord's since 1896 - and there hasn't been another. The history of Australia at Lord' s is an embarrassment to England. And in recent years, the home side should have stayed at home.

Even in England's victorious 2005 series, Ponting led his troops to a crunching 239-run win. Glenn McGrath - who terrorised England throughout the summer - plundered five for 53 in the first innings and four for 29 in the second. Wins don't come easier. With knocks of 57 and 64, an emerging Kevin Pietersen and Steve Harmison - who took eight wickets - were England's only positives. In 2001, McGrath - England's tormentor-in-chief again - and Jason Gillespie combined to take 15 wickets during the hosts' two innings of 187 and 227.

A Mark Waugh century helped Australia to 401 in their first innings and they needed only a paltry 14 runs to clinch the simplest of eight-wicket wins. The summer rain saved England in 1997. The opening day washed out, England won the toss and batted first on day two. Unsurprisingly, it was McGrath who bulldozed his way to eight for 38 as England fell for a meagre 77. Australia were in control at the end of day four, but rain again came to England's rescue and they held out for a draw.

In 1993, centuries from Mark Taylor, Slater and David Boon, as well as 99 from Mark Waugh, saw Australia power to a first innings total of 632 for four. With a derisory England forced to follow on, a young spinner called Shane Warne carved out eight wickets and England lost by an entire innings. It was similarly one-sided in 1989, the tourists winning by seven wickets. England struggled to a first innings total of 286, before Steve Waugh led Australia to 528 all out.

David Gower batted bravely for a century as England managed 359. Australia needed 119 runs to win and reached it in 40.2 overs. Honours went to Australia in 1985, too. England, batting first, struggled to reach 290 all out. Alan Border's 196 sewed up the match before England even came back out to bat. They fought valiantly for 261 but Australia strolled to a 127-run target with four wickets to spare.

All in all, England's history against the Aussies at Lord's must be one of the worst home records in global sport. Ricky Ponting has plenty to smile about going into today's Test. emegson@thenational.ae