No chance of Aussie attack going down hill at Lord’s

The 2.5m slope at Lord's can get in to bowler's heads but Pat Cummins said it was "just a cricket pitch" and he's brimming with so much Ashes confidence he could get wickets on a strip of concrete.

Going from side to side, not end to end, putting the pitch at a slight angel, the slope is already a talking point ahead of the second Test with first inspections of the Lord's wicket revealing a surface which could be very flat.

Bowlers are thought to benefit more from the "unique" nature of the wicket than batsmen, although man of the moment Steve Smith did plunder 215 when he last played a Test at the venue in 2015.

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Australian coach Justin Langer captained English county side Middlesex, which plays home games at Lord's, and his match planning will include taking his bowlers through all the nuances they need to know.

But Cummins, who was there in 2015 but "running drinks" said he wouldn't let the idea of the slope get to him.

"It's a funny one, it seems like everyone has a theory on which end to bowl here," Cummins said after his first practice session following the opener victory at Edgbaston.

"People reckon they nip it down the hill, people reckon they nip it up the hill, I've got no idea. You normally settle into an end, I haven't bowled enough here, played one-dayers and haven't found too much of a difference, but don't know.

 

The slope at Lord’s was retained even when the ground was re-done earlier this century.
The slope at Lord’s was retained even when the ground was re-done earlier this century.

 

Cummins has taken five wickets in three one-day games at Lord's, but none against England during the World Cup. He said the slope wasn't a "massive factor" for him.

"I think every time you play here it comes up and it's just one of those nuances of this ground, but it's still a cricket pitch. I don't think it makes too much of a difference," he said.

"I'm sure it'll come up but it's not a massive factor I don't think."

When the Lord's surface was re-done in 2002, the idea to level out the slope was raised, and quickly dismissed by the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Langer said the slope was real, but only affected players if they let it.

"The very first time I played here, Somerset versus Middlesex, I think Andy Caddick got me out with one that definitely came back in to me (off the slope)," he said.

"I'd heard about it, but until you actually get out there and feel it, by it's only then you realise there was a slope. But it's that little wake-up call and you adapt to it. Hopefully our guys will do that."

Cummins is a certainty play at Lord's after his seven-wicket haul in the opening win at Edgbaston, including four second innings wicket to help propel Australia to the win.

 

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He said he would "love" to play all five Tests, but was fully buying in to the squad mentality of the fast bowling group which he thinks could be the most important thing for Australia's Ashes success.

"I think everyone would like to play all five. I think it's one of those things where it's just great that we've got that flexibility,' he said.

"Personally I'll be hoping to play every game, and if I'm fully fit and bowling well I expect to, but it's good we've got plenty of bowlers here."