England move on to the second leg of this Ashes tour and the poisonous atmosphere has continued between the teams and from the Aussie media. The second test in Adelaide is not a ‘must –win’ for England but certainly falls under the category of ‘Must Not Lose’.
Australia are in buoyant mood after they battered us in the first Test and they go into this game as something they’ve not experienced in over 11 matches – favourites.
England have lost Trott to illness and it appears that the flexible Joe Root will move up to bat at number Three in England’s re-jigged batting order. Trott, one of England’s world class players, has been out of form for some time and his absence hopefully will not be as much of a loss if Cook, Bell or KP were out of the tour. It’s likely Durham lad Ben Stokes will come into the team to Bat at number 6 ahead of Johnny Bairstow. Stokes Test debut coming away in an Ahses series would be quite a challenge but he appears to have the ability and confidence to handle the occasion. His ability to provide bowling support is likely to give him the edge in terms of selection.
There has been talk of Panesar playing as a second spinner in this test to possibly exploit a turning track but I can’t see it – though the inclusion of Stokes may make this more of a possibility. Bresnan was impressive in the 2 day warm up game in Alice Springs and he seems to be rated as 50/50 to play in the match. I would play him ahead of Tremlett certainly and I think his inclusion will be key to England performing in this series.
It is the batsmen though, who are under the most pressure. England’s batting has been flaky for 12 months now and it’s time that the world class players we’re lucky to possess knuckle down and build large partnerships. The bowlers did a great job in Brisbane before being mercilessly let down by their batting colleagues and the only way England will prevail against this mentally fragile Australian outfit is by getting runs on the board and putting the opposition under pressure.
The drop in pitch is likely to flat though not as flat as previous years as the Aussies (quite rightly) try to get as much help for Mitchell Johnson as possible from the pitch. Adelaide is a results pitch – a fact that surprises many people and although a draw certainly doesn’t damage England, it won’t help either.
I’m hoping and praying we win the toss, bat first and post anything above 400. Normally 500 + is considered par at Adelaide but for some batsmen to get runs on the board for us will be a real boost for the rest of the series.
I’m going to go for a convincing England win, as defeat doesn’t really bear thinking about.