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Cricket: Australia v England – 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5-9th Dec

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Australia v England – 2nd Ashes Test Match

Dec 5th-9th, The Oval, Adelaide

The Second Test will be vital as Australia are brimful of confidence and gusto after their hammering of the tourists in the First Ashes Test in Brisbane

The Adelaide Oval has been knocked down and rebuilt in the past year or so as it is turned from quaint and picturesque into a modern multi-purpose sports stadium, basically so AFL can be played in the city and not in the suburbs; the new OVAL retains the scoreboard and grassy bank to the North whilst it now has 3 brand new stands to the East, West and South

The weather has turned this week as a huge front comes in from the south-west – this has dropped the temp from 36 C on Monday to barely 16 C right now (Wed am here in Adelaide). We had a thunderstorm yesterday and there are likely showers around later today and tomorrow. So Thursday (day 1) could well be interrupted by the weather, Friday is supposedly a bit warmer at 22 C with broken cloud and some chance of showers although probably around 2o% or so. The weekend should be sunny and much warmer (30 C) but again, slight chance of a shower Sunday late on, and again on Monday. We usually have plenty of sunshine here and the showers are brief if at all so I would expect not much time to be lost

The toss is usually fairly straight-forward here as whoever wins, bats! Historically the pitch has been a bit slower and less bouncy than others on this Continent but now we have a drop-in pitch. The curator has promised it to be a typical Adelaide pitch but does concede that it is new and thus hard to judge. A typical Adelaide track is flat and great for batting on; it offers a bit on the first morning , then plays true for a few days with the chance of spin on days 4 and 5

Now this being a new drop-in pitch, I am expecting it to be a bit slower than the norm – this usually leads to mis-timed shots and scoring at a steady or slow pace. I twill also mean the spinners may be able to tie the batsmen down a bit. There probably won’t be much in the pitch for the bowlers however and they will have to work hard to gain any success

There have been two Sheffield Shield matches here so far, on alternate drop-in pitches, and they saw over 2,500 runs scored for the loss of 55 wickets so if this pitch is similar, it will probably mean some decent scores and thus a likely draw

Australia are hinting at an unchanged team which is to be expected; there is a possibility that Faulkner may play instead of Bailey but I think the selectors will give Bailey another go here, with the extra intention of him going after Swann (Bailey has spoken of this already). Clarke has a small ankle concern but is expected to play

England may pull a surprise and go with 2 spinners here, with Panesar possibly replacing Tremlett; the big paceman didn’t really do much wrong but just doesn’t seem to be quite up to Test level. More likely is Bresnan being picked as he seems to be ready to go again after his injury and the selectors will remember the impact he made previously in Australia. Swann is under a lot of pressure as he doesn’t perform well here and started poorly in Brisbane. I would bring back Bresnan for Tremlett and even go with Panesar for Swann but I’m expecting England to name just Bresnan as a bowling change

Ballance seems to be the likely replacement batsman and Root is probably going to be promoted to the no 3 slot with Ballance batting at 6

England are looking a bit shell-shocked with the defeat at the Gabba followed by the shenanigans with the press and their Aussie foes; the semi-practice match in Alice Springs hasn’t really helped and they are starting to look under pressure as opposed to Lehmann’s squad who are looking more relaxed and confident. This reflects their coaches fairly well and with the hosts winning the opener, this has set up this match as a fairly pivotal one in the context of the series

Perth is expected to go the way of Australia so the pressure is on England here to win and square the series otherwise they could be struggling all the way to Sydney. I never expect things to work out the way they seem but this will be a good test for the English bowlers; Broad is becoming talismanic for them nowadays so Anderson needs to regain his top form, Swann needs to rapidly improve or could face the chop and Bresnan needs to be fit and healthy and on song if he is picked

Australia will be confident and expecting to do well but they need to be mindful that England are still a decent side and can bat well and long. There is also just a 3 day gap between this and the next match in Perth so fitness may well soon become an issue for both teams. They are unlikely to rest anyone at this stage as they have enough part-time bowlers to enable their pace attack to not do too much hard yakka

There is a chance that Australia could rip into England and with Cook having had some poor series averages other than the last trip here, with the inexperience of Carbs, Ballance and Root, the eccentricity of KP and the lack of form of Prior, then they may be looking to the bowlers to again bat them to a decent total. There is a chance that things could go rapidly wrong for England as there are plenty of cracks showing. They have also failed to pass 400 in their test match first innings since March in NZ

The Aussies meanwhile have Warner in great form, Clarke already with a ton this series, Haddin enjoying some of his best career form and with the bowlers looking good, they are starting to look a decent side again

Prediction > the draw looks fairly likely although they should manage to play most of the allotted time – a slow track means perhaps the runs won’t flow quickly but taking 20 wickets will be hard graft. Confidence and form pushes me to the Aussies again and there is a small chance of England falling apart; it won’t be long before they do need to rebuild and then they really will look a different side and if truth be told, not a particularly strong one. England have bounced back from poor starts to series regularly in the last few years and fair play if they do

Advised bets > the draw is now favourite at 2.5 but I like the Aussies at 2.78 on BF; if they bat first, then the top 5 could score well, enabling Bailey and Haddin to pile the runs on later; conversely, if England bat, they have a chance to get into the inexperienced players and get KP / Bell in early doors. Australia are also 1.69 on the Draw No Bet market on BF

Top Bat > Pietersen will get a big score at some point, perhaps this Test, 5.0 on BF for top Eng Bat 1st Inns bat is worth taking. Smith at 11.5 is worth a small dabble for top Aus Bat 1st Inns

Lyon to take more 1st Inns wickets than Swann > 2.04 on BF

 

About Author

* UK born, now live in sunny Australia * Specialise in golf & football but also dabble on the nags, cricket, US sports, AFL, etc * Always looking to go against the flow and tend to trade most of the time

2 Comments

  1. So England did indeed play two spinners as suggested; not a bad idea here, especially if you win the toss but the Aussies did and are batting.

    Stokes was a surprise as Ballance seemed likely

    England don’t look that strong to me and I’m happy with my Aussies bet

    Weather-wise, we had awful weather last night, storms and heavy rain, high winds etc – today is brighter with plenty of blue sky but already we have had 3 or 4 showers so an interrupted day is likely (and it’s blooming cold!)

  2. My top bat predictions were rubbish! but I did say that England could fall apart and have been saying for a long time now that this isn’t as good an England team as many think

    Aussies to win and DNB market are both in big profit so that worked well and they were the main bets

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