WATCH: Joe Root's one-handed ripper of a catch to remove Travis Head during Lord's Ashes Test
Australia's batters imitated England's approach and fell victim to a targeted short-ball strategy on the fourth morning of the second Ashes Test at Lord's. The Australian team aimed to establish a substantial lead following England's collapse on Day 3. Despite losing Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, and the dangerous Travis Head before lunch, they managed to extend their lead beyond 300.
Starting the day at 130 for two and 221 runs ahead, Smith and Khawaja comfortably navigated through a calm first hour. However, the game suddenly gained momentum after the drinks break. Stuart Broad made a breakthrough in his first over, dismissing Khawaja for 77 as he found substitute fielder Matthew Potts in the deep.
Travis Head, the next in queue received a lifeline when James Anderson dropped a simple catch at gully when he was yet to score. Anderson had also let Khawaja off the hook on 19 the previous evening. Instead of falling for a duck, Head managed to get off the mark with a single, giving the strike to Smith.
England's quick strikes forced Australia to halt their scoring rate
Subsequently, it turned out to be advantageous for England as Smith, who had scored a century in the first innings, hooked the very next ball from Josh Tongue straight to Zak Crawley. This marked the third time in the summer that Tongue had dismissed Smith, including the first innings at Lord's and Smith's County Championship debut for Sussex against Worcestershire.
Due to Ollie Pope's shoulder injury, Joe Root had to take his place as a short-leg fielder and pulled off an impressive one-handed catch to dismiss Head for just 7, granting Broad his second wicket.
The fall of wickets not only halted Australia's scoring rate but also restricted them to a mere 92 runs added to their overnight total by the end of the extended morning session. They held a lead of 313 with five wickets remaining, although Nathan Lyon is unlikely to bat due to a calf injury.