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England v Australia: Test Two Preview – Cricket

Glamorgan fans must be wondering what has gone wrong for Marnus Labuschagne. 

Since the Australian star left the Welsh county he has struggled for runs and he will find a fierce spotlight on him throughout the second Test against England which starts at Lord’s on Wednesday. 

Labuschagne smacked 138 for Glamorgan against Sussex in his last match for the county before linking up with the tourists for the Ashes series. 

That followed his blistering 170 not out against Yorkshire at Leeds. 

But since then, his top score in four Test innings has been 41. He hit 26 and 41 against India at The Oval and followed that with even more modest scores of 0 and 13 against England at Edgbaston. 

Not that the Aussies suffered too badly as they still won by two wickets and they are favourites to win again and establish a 2-0 lead. 

DragonBet have England at 7/5 to win the Test, with the Aussies at 21/20 and the draw at 9/2. 

Australia have won four of their last five Tests against England, with one draw. 

Labuschagne’s first ball duck in the first innings at Edgbaston, coupled with Joe Root’s unbeaten century, meant the England legend dethroned the Aussie at the top of the Test batting rankings. 

But Australia’s batting coach Michael di Venuto insists Glamorgan’s favourite wearer of the baggy green will come good at Lord’s. 

“Sometimes things happen in the game, but he nicked two balls he normally leaves quite regularly,” said Di Venuto. 

“Hopefully, he bounces back this week. Marn is his best coach. The same as ‘Smudge’ [Steve Smith]. They are great problem solvers, and that’s why they have been such great players for Australia for a period of time. 

“We’re here to help, and anything we see as well, we’ll mention, but those two are their own best coaches.” 

A win will not necessarily seal Australia’s retention of the Ashes on away soil, but it would certainly mean they have one foot in the door. 

It would leave England needing three consecutive wins to prevent that from happening. 

Historically, Lord’s has been a happy hunting ground for Australia with England only winning seven matches and Australia winning 15 in all Ashes Tests at the venue, with 15 draws included in that tally. 

England have thrown rookie seamer Josh Tongue into his first Ashes Test after concerns over the readiness of spinner Moeen Ali and paceman Mark Wood. 

Tongue, who took five wickets on his international debut against Ireland earlier this month, replaces Moeen in a four-strong seam attack in what will be easily the biggest game of the 25-year-old’s career. 

Moeen recovered well after a burst blister on his right index finger reduced his ability to bowl effectively at Edgbaston, but some concerns of a recurrence still lingered. 

England will rely on the part-time off-breaks of Joe Root if they want some variation to their four seamers. 

Australia will make no such choice and their frontline spinner Nathan Lyon is preparing to play the 100th consecutive Test of his career with another milestone of reaching 500 wickets also in sight. 

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