London: Former England captain Nasser Hussain has strongly criticised Ben Stokes and his teammates, rating their performance on the opening day of the second Ashes Test at Lord's as lacking energy and enthusiasm.
Australia enjoyed a strong start to the second Ashes Test as they ended day one on 339/5 at Lord’s with David Warner (66), Travis Head (77) and Steve Smith (85 batting) all scoring half-centuries as the visitors made merry against England’s seam attack.
In his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain's pointed out that despite winning the toss and opting to bowl first in cloudy conditions, England displayed an absence of intensity with the ball.
"They were subdued despite winning the toss and there was a real lack of intensity to their bowling attack -- the speeds of each of the five seam bowlers was down and they didn't bowl bouncers to change things up -- while the fielding was sloppy and they missed catches.
"Where was the spark? Where was the urgency? When the Just Stop Oil protest happened, there was a lot of chat and then, when it rained they strolled off and were still upstairs when the Australian batters were waiting on the steps at the bottom of the pavilion.
"In those drizzly conditions, if the umpires call you back on, you want to be rushing on straight away as a fielding team, bowling as much as possible," he wrote in his column.
The additional pacer Josh Tongue was the pick of the quick bowlers for England on the day, removing both of the Australia openers with excellent deliveries and finishing with figures of 2/88.
Reflecting on the positives for England on an overall forgettable day, Hussain praised pacer Tongue, regarding him as the standout performer among the bowlers and emphasized that his performance stood out as a rare highlight in an otherwise disappointing day for the English team.
"Josh Tongue was the pick of the bowlers and it was a brave selection to play him on a green top when they might as easily have picked Chris Woakes, a good all-round cricketer with a fine record on this ground.
"Tongue's dismissal of David Warner from around the wicket was a fine piece of bowling. But it was a rare positive in what was generally a lack of intensity from England," Hussain noted.