The 2nd Test starts in Adelaide in just a few hours, and if England are to stand any chance of returning home with the Ashes, this is a Test match that they cannot lose.
I know it’s only the 2nd Test, but this is surely a pivotal moment in the series as another pacey wicket is expected at the WACA in the 3rd Test, so with the English expected to struggle there, avoiding defeat in Adelaide is paramount.
From an Australian perspective, it will be interesting to see how a team that is – on the whole – used to losing responds to being in the lead, and possibly on the brink of delivering a knock out blow.
If Australia can manage a victory in Adelaide, the series would seem to be theirs for the taking – with Perth coming up immediately afterwards. So has Darren Lehmann managed to convince the team they can do it?
Lehmann’s finger prints seem to be all over this team now, they are playing tough aggressive cricket, in – what seems to be – a win at all costs manner. It is certainly a team in the mould of it’s coach.
The England team on the other hand will no doubt stick to their guns, and back the methods that have served them so well over the years. They will obviously have one enforced change, and will no doubt make a second one through choice.
Andy Flower and England don’t like changing too much, but I can’t see them not bringing Tim Bresnan back if he is fit.
Not sure what Cook and Andy Flower will eventually decide to do, but my England XI would be… Cook, Carberry, Root, Pietersen, Bell, Bairstow, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann and Anderson.
All the mood music suggests it will be 10 of the above 11, with Gary Ballance playing instead of Jonny Bairstow. For me, although Bairstow hasn’t yet totally convinced at this level, he does have a good few Test appearances behind him. I would prefer that to a man coming in to make his Test debut in such a pressure cooker environment.
I am happy to see Joe Root promoted to No.3, I think it is a natural move as he is an opener by trade – and no doubt effectively will be again batting at No.3 for England at the moment.
Ian Bell is settled at No.5, and moving him up the order exposes a weak middle order with Matt Prior in no form whatsoever.
I honestly haven’t got a clue how this Test match will go. History suggests England usually bounce back after a poor 1st Test, but momentum is well and truly Australia’s at the moment. Both of these sides have potential batting collapses in them, so backing a draw would also be perilous.
Neither are very convincing at the moment. Australia go into the match as favourites, they are currently 2.70 with Sportingbet Australia. Although I can’t back Australia for reasons of loyalty, I still don’t think that is great value.
Not sure I would be confident enough on England either, as it’s hard to know which one will turn up here? The one from Lord’s last summer, or the one from Brisbane? They are 5/2 with William Hill.
And the draw, both these sides to bat for 5 days…. it can be backed at around 6/4.
For me, I think I will be trading price movements on the exchanges to start with.