London, August 18: Ben Stokes made a brilliant century and England declared on 258 for five to set Australia 267 to win the second Ashes test at Lord’s on Sunday.
Stokes scored 115 not out, hitting three sixes and 11 fours, as the hosts added 162 runs to their overnight score to give themselves a chance of securing an unlikely victory in the rain-affected match which would level the series at 1-1.
Australia will be without their leading batsman Steve Smith, who was ruled out of the rest of the match due to concussion symptoms after being struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer on Saturday.
The absence of Smith, who made 92 in the first innings and 144 and 142 in the touring side’s emphatic win in the first test, is a major blow for Australia, although Marnus Labuschagne will be able to bat in his place after becoming test cricket’s first concussion substitute.
After resuming on 96-4 following another rain delay, Stokes and Buttler dug in to take England to 157-4 at lunch.
Buttler fell for 31 to Pat Cummins after the interval, but Stokes went on the attack and brought up his seventh test century, adding 97 with Jonny Bairstow who finished on 30 not out.
The hosts have 48 overs to bowl out Australia, who are bidding to win the Ashes in England for the first time since 2001. (Agencies)