England, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 champions, are on the backfoot in the ongoing Ashes contest against Australia after a huge 251-run defeat in the first Test in Edgbaston. Steve Smith's two centuries and Nathan Lyon's haul of 6/44 in the second innings helped Australia break their 18-year hoodoo at the venue. Heading into the second Test at Lord's which begins on August 14, Joe Root's side have made changes in a bid to square the series. Moeen Ali, who struggled with the ball on a turning wicket in Edgbaston and was dismissed for 0 and 4 in both innings by Lyon, has been dropped for the Lord's Test and replaced by Jack Leach, the left-arm spinner. Moeen fell for the ninth time in 11 innings to Lyon and this prompted many England commentators, mostly former England captain Nasser Hussain to say he was 'shot mentally'.
This will not be the first time Moeen has been replaced by Leach. During the Ashes 2017/18 series Down Under, Moeen suffered a slump with both bat and ball and he was not picked for the series in New Zealand. Leach had played in the one-off Test against Ireland in Lord's and it was his 92 while opening the batting as a nightwatchman that allowed England to recover and register a tense win against the Irish.
With James Anderson ruled out of the Lord's Test, England could hand a debut to Jofra Archer. The right-arm pacer, who suffered a side strain and did not play for a couple of weeks, has been in good form for Surrey and former Australia skipper Jason Gillespie remarked that Archer 'must play at Lord's'.
"I was surprised he didn’t play the first Test to be perfectly blunt. I think England missed a trick by not playing him but he’ll certainly play at Lord’s," Gillespie told the official Cricket Australia website.
The replacement for Anderson in the side could also be Sam Curran, the all-rounder who made a big impact in the series against India which England won 4-1. Australia has lost just three games in the last 75 years of playing a Test in Lord's and they will be determined to extend their advantage.
England squad for Lord's Test: Joe Root (capt), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes