'It's a disgrace': Fury over 'ridiculous' tradition that caused Ashes draw

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

As thrilling and dramatic as the second Ashes Test at Lord’s was, it succeeded in exposing an archaic tradition that robbed it of being so much better.

Australia held on for an extraordinary draw on Sunday, with super-sub Marnus Labuschagne, who replaced Steve Smith in Australia's XI on the morning of day five, scoring 59 from 100 balls as the tourists batted out 47.3 overs to maintain their 1-0 series lead.

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Australia finished 6-154 after being set a target of 267, with Labuschagne and Travis Head doing most of the heavy lifting as Jofra Archer threatened to bounce England to victory on debut.

However the pesky London weather robbed fans of a result, and the spoils were shared after a cracking Test match.

The players leave the field after the second Test was drawn. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

But could more have been done to force a result?

Despite all of day one and the majority of day three being washed out, fans were left fuming when play continued to start at 11am on proceeding days.

The morning sessions were extended to 1.30pm rather than 1pm, and time was supposed to be made up at the end of each day, but bad light and more rain scuppered that plan as well.

Despite the sun shining and the covers nowhere to be seen before the second and fourth days, play wasn’t started earlier as would normally happen in Australia.

The first and third days were heavily affected by rain. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Fans were gobsmacked at the decision to keep starting at 11am, with the reason simply being that tradition dictates play can’t start any earlier.

Aussie commentator Jim Maxwell was among those to call for change.

Both sides claim upper hand

The five-Test series continues on Thursday, when Smith is fully expected to be an enforced omission because of the frightening bouncer blow to the neck that Archer inflicted on Saturday.

Australia will retain the urn if they win the third Test.

"It's a great situation to be in. This Test was tight all the way ... I wouldn't say it was a great escape at all," Australia captain Tim Paine said.

"If you would have said (prior to the series that) we are 1-0 up after two Tests, we would have taken that every day."

England counterpart Joe Root was just as buoyant.

"We put them under huge amounts of pressure," he said.

"We might look back at the odd missed opportunity, but it was a fantastic effort."

with AAP