Is Bodyline back? Short stuff gets Lord’s crowd fired up
AUSTRALIA has been booed by the normally gentile Lord's crowd for unleashing Bodyline-style tactics on England's tail - and been warned to expect a similar bombardment at their own lower order.
Australia turned to the short ball on Thursday as they rolled England for 258 in their first innings to set the second Ashes Test alight despite losing a day's play to rain.
And, as in Australia during the last Ashes series, the bouncer barrage only intensified as the wickets tumbled and the less qualified batsmen came to the crease.
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The strategy enraged the Lord's crowd, who let out a chorus of boos for the first time of the day during a sustained spell of short-pitched bowling from Pat Cummins to debutant Jofra Archer.
It revived talk of the infamous Bodyline tactics - later deemed illegal - designed to stifle the talents of the legendary Sir Donald Bradman.
But England said they would be prepared for a response to the "obvious tactic" now that the ball is in their hands.
"The boys are preparing for it and luckily we can dish out some of our own in this game as well," said opener Rory Burns, who was hit a number of times in the chest during his knock of 53.
"We've got some boys in our armoury who can do the same thing, so it should be a brilliant Test."
When asked if he expected Archer would enjoy unleashing similar treatment on Australia's tail, Burns' response was clear: "I'd have thought so. He copped a fair few as well, so he's probably looking forward to getting his own back."
Australia's No. 11 Nathan Lyon believed England had the firepower to back up Burns' words - but said he was looking forward to the challenge.
"They've got a world-class bowling attack," he said
"Of course it's going to be challenging, but that's Test cricket, that's why we play it.
"Personally, I want to challenge myself against the best players in the world and these guys are the best bowlers in the world.
"So even though I can't bat, I'll go out and give it a go."
On a brutal day of express pace bowling, two England stars - No. 4 Joe Denly and all-rounder Chris Woakes - were struck on the helmet as Australia's superstar quicks turned to the dangerous tactic.
Burns wore a peppering of short balls to his body as Cummins used intimidation to re-enforce his position as the world's top-ranked Test bowler.
Burns said he hadn't been surprised by the tactic. Far from it. Lyon had told him it was coming just three hours into play on day two.
"I was well versed in what I was looking at and was prepared for what I was getting. It's just a good battle," he said.
"(Cummins) got two dead in the same spot which was nice. It's always nice to get into a scrap, just getting in amongst it and trying to toughen up."