Ben Duckett insisted England had no regrets about its aggressive game plan after the opener was one of several batters to fall into Australia’s short-ball trap on a dramatic day at Lord’s.
In reply to Australia’s first-innings total of 416, England had seized back the momentum as it raced to 188-1 during Thursday’s second day of the second Ashes Test.
But Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root all perished playing needlessly attacking hook shots in response to a barrage of Australia bouncers.
That reduced England to 222-4 before captain Ben Stokes restored order with a slightly more cautious approach alongside Harry Brook as the hosts reached 278-4 by the close of play.
Despite handing Australia a lifeline, Duckett was adamant there would be no recriminations in the England dressing room.
“I don’t regret it at all. I would have been gutted with myself if I had gone into my shell and gloved one to the keeper,” Duckett said after he was caught in the deep for 98 by David Warner.
“Ten metres either side of him I would have got a hundred. I’m not happy I got out but I’d rather get out like that.
“There wasn’t really any discussion. No one in that dressing room will be disappointed with how Pope got out. They will be gutted it didn’t go for six.
“Pope said ‘I’m going to smack it into the stands’ and I said ‘do it’. He was so unlucky to get a toe end on it.
“It’s the way we play our cricket. If we went into our shells and got bombed out it would be totally against the way we play.”
Go for broke
Duckett’s refusal to change his go for broke style cost him dearly as he was caught on the boundary two runs short of his hundred.
However, he defiantly claimed England’s ‘Bazball’ philosophy could eventually leave Australia, already 1-0 up in the five-match series, fatigued.
“We fought back so well. The way we batted was amazing. We were going at five or six an over even though we lost a couple of wickets,” Duckett said.
“We are in a good position. If they keep bowling bumpers with all four bowlers they are going to be quite tired, especially with back-to-back Tests.”
Earlier, Australia batter Steve Smith scored 110 with a far more traditional approach.
Smith said Australia’s decision to switch to a short-ball policy was influenced by England’s aggressive inclinations and the change in weather conditions on Thursday.
After overcast skies that blanketed Lord’s for much of Wednesday, 24 hours later there was sunshine and easier batting conditions as a result.
“The pitch looked flat. But we had some nice tactics with some short stuff. It felt like we were in the game there,” Smith said.
“We were setting the fields and they were taking it on. We were creating chances. The way England are playing this really aggressive brand, it was creating opportunities.”
Asked if he agreed with England’s approach, Smith smiled as he said: “It was interesting. If you get under a few you might stop doing it. They stopped a bit when Ben Stokes came in and ducked a few.
“He was the only one looking to ride them, the rest were looking to take it on.
“If you are going to hit it for six, you are going to have to get a good piece of it and we had fielders there to catch it.”
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