If England are to have any chance of winning – or even retaining – the Ashes then a solid days batting is required on Day 3 (and 4), of the 2nd Test match from Adelaide. Australia comprehensively outplayed England on Day 2, and all England can look to do now is save this Test match.
To start with, England have to reach the follow-on target. Should they achieve that, that should take them well into Day 4. The worst case scenario then, would be a possible tricky spell of batting late on Day 5.
As I already said, England have been well outplayed. There have been too many dropped catches, I know the bowling fell away a bit at the end of the day, but they simply weren’t backed up in the field.
Michael Carberry is supposed to be one of the best fielders in England, what is going on with him? Besides the drop on Day 1 (which is one of those things that can happen to anyone at some point in their careers), his throwing in from the out field seems to be a bit erratic.
He did his best to muck up the run out of Haddin at the end of the Australia 1st innnigs in the 1st Test, with a wild throw to Prior, and his throwing in this match has been just as bad.
I’m not trying to single out Carberry, this is just an example of the small little things that England aren’t getting right. This is the sign of an out of sorts team.
The Stokes no-ball when Haddin was on 51, the throw in from Monty to Swann that injured his hand. All these silly little things are hindering England.
No wonder Brad Haddin got a century, albeit a good innings, England gave him how much help?
Luck also appears to have deserted the English. They seemed to have it in the Ashes series in England, but it has gone now, and Michael Clarke’s shot off his first ball of the day from Monty Panesar epitomised that. I also seen Brad Haddin miss hit a shot that went for six.
Keeping the Aussies in the field is now vital, for a number of reasons. First, England need to show them that their batting won’t just keep on rolling over. Second, to test the Aussie bowlers fitness. Ryan Harris might not be able to play back-to-back Test matches, with Perth coming so soon after the end of this match. I don’t see any problems with Siddle and Johnson though.
And third, to test Australia’s mental strength, Mitchell Johnson may still be a bit fragile, if England can neutralise him here, he could start doubting himself again. At the moment England just seem to be playing into Johnson’s hands, and helping him to rebuild his confidence. A firing Johnson can blow away better – and more in form – batting line ups, than England’s. Nathan Lyon is also another player who must have a fragile confidence, so keeping his wickets to a minimum is also essential.
England can surely feel the Ashes slipping away now, they are hanging in there at the moment.The Aussie tails are well and truly up, and I feel all England can currently do is it to hang in there and wait (and hope) that the Aussies performance level drops off at some point, and allows Cook’s men back in the series.
The betting markets seems to suggest that England can potentially save the Test match. At the moment the draw can be backed at 5/4, which doesn’t suggest the punters have totally deserted England’s chances of saving the Test just yet.
Australia are 3/4 to win this Test match… and are now as short as 4/11 to win the Ashes outright.