So here we are. After the test from hell last week, where we somehow drew after a first innings lead of 221, where a part-time off spinner was the sole Australian wicket taker in England’s mammoth second innings, we fly down to beautiful Adelaide for the second Test.
Normally, going into the Adelaide, it’s safe to assume that Australia are in some way on top of their opponent. The ‘Gabbatoir’ has proved to be such a successful ground in the past — Australia haven’t lost there in 21 years — that, even when it’s a draw, the momentum from that Test usually translates into a tangible advantage for the home side in the city of churches.
But, after last week’s result, you would have to say all the momentum is with the Poms. Despite going into the second innings with a significant deficit, thanks to Peter Siddle’s extraordinary spell in the first dig, the English showed great resolve to rack up 1/517 (dec). Going on the balance of that Test, you would say we have two bats in good form (Hussey, Haddin), while the English boast at least four (Cook, Strauss, Trott, Bell) who are in decent nick.
In saying that, the batsmen will not win this Test match. It’s all about the bowling attack.
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Much of the lead-up this week has focussed on which attack we will go into Adelaide with. After his heroics last week, Siddle is first picked of the pace battery (imagine if someone told you that six months ago), while Doherty will play again. Mitch Johnson is the scapegoat. He went wicketless and runless in the first Test and has looked a shade of the man who tore apart sides in 2008. He really could do with a spell in the Sheffield Shield and hopefully will find some form there. Happily for Vodafone, KFC and all the other sponsors that feature him in their ads, Doug ‘the Rug’ Bollinger comes in for his first Test. He should at least offer some aggression, a quality which, Siddle aside, was sadly missing from the first Test. The other move could be Hilfenhaus for Harris, a decision which will be made depending on the conditions.
The English attack, on the other hand, is a picture of stability. Jimmy Anderson looked very dangerous last start and, if things had have gone his way, he would have had a bag. Finn also looks the good after snagging 6-for in Australia’s second dig. Broad only took one wicket in Brisbane, but he should improve, while Swann — who was a bit underwhelming in the first Test — will be dangerous on a fourth or fifth day pitch.
The pitch, as usual, will be a batsman’s paradise, meaning the tactics here are simple — win the toss, rack up a decent score and hope you can apply the blowtorch to the other side.
After last weeks’ result the bookmakers can’t split the two sides. Both England and Australia will give you $3.50, while the draw is giving up $2.00. I reckon the draw is excellent value on a flat pitch.
And what’s with whole “Kevin Pietersen should be in trouble for Tweeting about Adelaide Oval controversy”? The man was on Twitter complaining about the practice nets for goddsake!
Imagine if Twitter was around when David Boon set the 52 can beer drinking record on a flight from Australia to London in 1989? Now that would be controversial!:
Tom Cowie: Well, after the debacle of last week, I can’t say I’m too confident about our bowlers taking 20 wickets on the road that is the Adelaide wicket. I think Bollinger coming back is a good move, he offers aggressions and will keep on trying all day. He can also swing the ball and get some movement off the deck. He will need to lead the attack with Siddle if we are any chance here. Adelaide could also come down to the battle of the spinners, with Doherty and Swann potentially holding the key to a victory here. Hopefully we can start backing up the hard work form the bowlers in the field. I thought last week’s fielding effort was one of the worst from an Australian side in years.
In terms of the batting, North is under big pressure, he needs a big score very soon if he is to last the series. Michael Clarke will also be feeling the pinch as well, he and Ricky Ponting need to lead from the front. I’m tipping a draw in this match, with the team who wins the toss and bats first to have ebst chance of getting a result on a crumbling fifth day deck.
Leigh Josey: We can give England shit for not getting the World Cup in 2018. They can give us shit for not getting it in 2022. Then they will probably remind us that they humiliated us in Brisbane. It still worries me that Marcus “genuine all rounder” North took the only wicket in the second innings of the First Test. Bollinger is an astute inclusion and will need to perform well. I’m so anti-English at the moment. I’m scared what will happen. Hold me.
Our man at the ground:
We are happy to welcome on board Chris Chapman as Crikey’s man at the Adelaide Oval. He will be communicating, via text, what’s going on in the outer and in the middle. Good to have you on board Chappy.
The best writing around the place:
- Visitors aim to banish Adelaide nightmare — Cricinfo
- Adelaide rebuilt & 1980s bowlers — Wisden
- England can exorcise negative ghosts of Adelaide 2006 — The Guardian
- Ponting: In good shape for second round — The Australian
- It pays to never write off wounded Australians — The SMH
The Crikey Sports Ashes archive: