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Ashes 2013: Lord's victory will help heal Australia divisions

Mike Atherton - Michael Atherton Posted 17th July 2013 view comments

Sunday's defeat at Trent Bridge was a very bitter pill for Australia to swallow, particularly as they got so close to victory.

But regardless of how close they came, the bottom line is that after losing 1-0 to South Africa and 4-0 to India they are now behind in this series. A defeat is a defeat regardless of the margin.

Since then they've also had to deal with the fallout from the legal claim brought by former coach Mickey Arthur against Cricket Australia after he was replaced by Darren Lehmann.

I'm not sure how that will affect the team as a whole but it does confirm in my mind that Australia were right to get rid of Arthur and it may well be that the constant line of questioning about whether there is a rift in the tourists' camp will have a galvanising effect.

Australia will feel that there are areas where they can get stuck into England at Lord's, starting with the batting.

Michael Atherton
Quotes of the week

Let's be clear - there hasn't been a team in the history of cricket that has had 11 players who are absolute bosom buddies. It's no secret that Stuart Broad and James Anderson didn't get on with Kevin Pietersen in the past, just as it was no secret that Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist didn't see eye to eye.

When you are winning these divisions are kept hidden but when you are losing they come to the surface and Australia are on a losing run right now.

Options

As before the first Test, Australia will feel that there are areas where they can get stuck into England at Lord's, starting with the batting.

They got Alastair Cook out relatively cheaply by his own standards, twice, while Joe Root didn't get many runs and Pietersen struggled to make an impact on the game.

They have a good pace attack, that much is clear - a pace attack that can get 20 wickets - so as a captain you've always got a chance but your team has got to get runs and Australia didn't look like getting many until the bottom order weighed in.

History shows that Australia has lost just once at Lord's since 1934 but England have a strong record in recent times at the ground, winning the last Ashes contest here in 2009.

I'm not sure how much store I put by history, records and statistics. Thursday is the first day of a fresh Test and I don't think what happened at Trent Bridge will have much bearing on the game coming up.

What we do know is that conditions will be dry and you'd imagine that the seamers have five gruelling days ahead of them.

Australia will try to demonstrate how reliant they believe England are on Anderson again and England, for their part, will want to keep Australia out in the field for as long as possible.

My view is that England should include Steven Finn in their attack - it's his home ground and there will be more pace in the pitch.

Plus, he's got a good record here, taking his wickets at an average of 20, and he is particularly dangerous from the Pavilion End where the line bowlers tend to prosper.

But England do have other options they could pursue in Tim Bresnan and Graeme Onions, and as usual England are giving out few clues.

Error

Naturally after some of the scenes we witnessed at Trent Bridge, every decision involving the DRS system will be scrutinized even more closely than before.

The system on the whole works well but you can't account for human error, which meant that there were one or two controversies in the first Test.

England used their reviews pretty well - they seem pretty used to it now - but on reflection Australia will feel that they were a little bit hasty with a couple of their reviews, particularly given they had none in the tank for the Stuart Broad 'dismissal'.

So they'll hope to use the system better but the system itself works fine. You are never going to get a situation where you get 100 per cent correct decisions but I think the stats show that we are getting more and more correct decisions.

Watch the first day of the second Test between England and Australia from 10am on Sky Sports Ashes HD and live on the Ashes Event Centre, available via the Sky Sports App.

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