Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood described his side’s progress through the second Ashes Test as “smooth sailing” on Saturday as England’s Ben Stokes called for a rearguard action to save the game.
The touring side piled up 566 for eight declared before dismissing England for 312 and Australian openers David Warner and Chris Rogers added 108 runs on Saturday to leave the hosts 362 runs behind with two days to play at Lord’s.
“It has been pretty smooth sailing,” Hazlewood told reporters.
“Batting first was key and we did the job with the ball on Day 2 and Day 3. So we’re in a pretty good position.”
Hazlewood bowled Ian Bell on Friday with a full delivery and returned to mop up Moeen Ali and Mark Wood with aggressive deliveries on the third day.
“It was quite hard work today(on Saturday) and we had to work for the rest of the wickets,” he said.
“It didn’t reverse swing for us but it may do later in the game. The fuller the better on this wicket.”
England all-rounder Stokes admitted that his team would have to bat for 150 overs to save the game.
“The bowlers have tried their nuts off and it’s over to the batters for the next two days,” the 24-year-old told reporters after scoring 87 in the first innings.
“If we get a chance of winning then we can change but the likely thing is to bat 150 overs and not lose 10 wickets.
“I probably only need one word for this pitch. Flat.”
Australia are in pole position to win at Lord’s for the first time in three matches following an incredible run in which England failed to achieve victory in an Ashes Test at the home of cricket for 75 years between 1934 and 2009.
England won the Lord’s Tests in 2009 and 2013 but it will take a monumental effort from the hosts to prevent Australia from levelling the five-match series at 1-1.