Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide December 4, 2013

Can Australia hold their unfamiliar lead?

99

Match facts


December 5-9, Adelaide Oval
Start time 1030 (0000 GMT)

Big Picture

Last time Australia led in an Ashes series, they went on to sweep it 5-0. It was the summer of 2006-07 and, as it turned out, it was the last Test series that Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer would play. Those retirements began a more or less steady decline for Australian cricket, which hit its nadir when England thumped Ricky Ponting's men with three innings victories in the next Ashes in Australia in 2010-11. Australia won in Perth that summer, and at Headingley in 2009, but at no point in either of those campaigns did they hold a lead. But after their dominant display at the Gabba, Australia are 1-0 up heading in to the Adelaide Test. It is an unfamiliar feeling, and one they cannot afford to relinquish too quickly.

A draw would satisfy Australia with the bouncy WACA pitch likely to favour them for the third Test. On the new Adelaide Oval drop-in surface, and with the possibility of showers at times during the match, it might be the most likely outcome. England must find a way to regain their belief after being bundled out for under 200 in both innings at the Gabba, and a slower surface should help them handle Australia's fast men. But when huge totals are the norm, as at Adelaide Oval, even the smallest batting breakdown can prove match-turning. Both of these teams are capable of major batting collapses, let alone mini ones. It is not a time to lose focus.

But which team will find it tougher to focus? The departure of Jonathan Trott due to a stress-related illness has forced England's attention off field and must have rattled them at least a little. Their lacklustre display at the Gabba seemed a case of resting on their laurels after their 3-0 win at home, and it is hard to see what they can have gained from their two-day game in Alice Springs. Australia, on the other hand, must not take their aggression overboard, with either their talk or their tactics. Hubris is a dangerous trait, and it is up to Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann to ensure it does not creep into the squad. Since 2006-07 Australia's Ashes Test wins have always been followed by immediate defeat. This will be a very telling five days.

Form guide

England: LDWDW
Australia: WDLDL

Players to watch

It was understandable that Australia took no risks with Michael Clarke and rested him from training on Tuesday after he rolled his ankle on Monday, for there is no venue at which he has been more productive than Adelaide Oval. Clarke has scored double-centuries in the past two Adelaide Tests - 230 against South Africa and 210 against India - and overall has made five hundreds there in eight Tests. Given he scored 113 in the first Test in Brisbane, and given the benign nature of the Adelaide drop-in pitch, there is no reason to doubt that he will be a major factor again, having been ruled fit for this Test.

Kevin Pietersen has also enjoyed batting in Adelaide in the past, and in his three Ashes innings there has scored 158, 2 and 227. In 2006-07 he upset Shane Warne's plans and in 2010-11 he monstered Xavier Doherty for 61 off 60 balls, including ten fours and a six. Again, the battle between Pietersen and Australia's lead spinner - this time Nathan Lyon - will be key.

Team news

Australia have named the same side as for Brisbane, deciding against including the allrounder James Faulkner as another bowling option.

Australia 1 Chris Rogers, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steven Smith, 6 George Bailey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.

England must make at least one change due to the departure of Trott, but a second change is also likely with Chris Tremlett having had limited impact at the Gabba. The addition of the allrounder Tim Bresnan to the official squad following his recovery from a stress fracture of the back may mean an immediate return to the side. Another option would be to include Monty Panesar as a second spinner. Either Joe Root or Ian Bell will move up to No.3 to replace Trott, leaving a place in the middle order available, and the uncapped Gary Ballance may win an opportunity ahead of Jonny Bairstow.

England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Michael Carberry, 3 Joe Root, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Gary Ballance, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Tim Bresnan, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson.

Pitch and conditions

Adelaide is typically known as a friendly pitch for batsmen but that has been even more so this summer in the Sheffield Shield, following the move to drop-in pitches as part of the redevelopment of the venue. In the two Shield matches there this season, the pitch has not broken up on the fourth day and both games were drawn. Notably, the number of wickets taken by fast bowlers has dropped significantly with little pace in the surface. The forecast is for a few morning showers on day one, and possible showers on days four and five.

Stats and trivia

  • Pietersen and Alastair Cook are both within reach of the 8000-run mark in Tests - Pietersen needs 69 and Cook requires 121. Only Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, David Gower and Geoff Boycott have scored more than 8000 Test runs for England

  • Despite Clarke's success in Adelaide, Brad Haddin has a higher Test average at the venue, having scored 366 runs at 122.00 in his four Tests there

  • In the two Sheffield Shield matches this summer on Adelaide's new drop-in pitches, 54% of the wickets have been taken by spinners; last season only 22% of wickets came from spin

Quotes

"The conditions are going to be very different to the Gabba, where there was good pace and bounce. England will probably find Adelaide more to its liking and I'll be interested to see the balance of its attack."
Michael Clarke, Australia's captain

"The conditions should be good here. We must get back to doing what we're capable of."
Graham Gooch, the England batting coach

Hopps: England need to leave out Tremlett

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 10, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    Spot on adbuddy > excellent predictions

  • nlpdave on December 5, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    such unimaginative team selection based on wild hope rather than any expectation, Stokes can only offer mediocrity, Panesar can't sparkle in 2nd string county stuff and has a dismal record in Australia, Carberry just isn't good enough. It looks bad and by god it is bad. Not worth staying up for. The cracks have been there a while and ignored by Flower who will clearly be off after this debacle in Australia is over.

  • GrindAR on December 4, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    Irrespective of who wins, this match is going to be Monty+Swan match.

  • on December 4, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Can you change our Australian flag on your home page of the phone app it looks ridiculous.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 4, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    @Al!!! Fancy seeing yoy around these parts mate? - BC

  • popcorn on December 4, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Why do you call it an UNFAMILIAR LEAD? We beat England in IDENTICAL fashion at the Gabba in November 2006, that time by 277 runs, this time by 381 runs. That time, Kevin Pitersen was out caught in the IDENTICAL FIELDING POSITION by Damien Martyn off Brett Lee. This time by George Bailey off Ryan Harris.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    @JG2704 on (December 4, 2013, 13:31 GMT), my implication was not that England have not had success with two spinners or even necessarily that they shouldn't play two spinners in this game. It's a fact that, in the past, England have taken quite some convincing that playing two spinners was a good idea. Even in conditions where everyone knew that the pitches would turn it often took them two Tests to realise it was the way to go. Adelaide is unlikely to turn more then UAE or India and they didn't play two spinners there straight away so I see why they would here. I guess the main difference here is that they may have less faith in their fast bowlers than they did before, although I think that their faith in a fit Bresnan is still fairly high.

  • scottnye on December 4, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    lol@ rickvoncanterbury. really made me chuckle.

  • adbuddy on December 4, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    I'm an aussie living in UK and can only see one result here.Flat wicket I know but feel Harris & Siddle will pin them down with Johnson pitching it short and getting 7 wickets at least in the test but I'm sure he will leak the runs. Eng simply do not have the bottle. Cook will score 40+ the rest not alot. England all out 270. Oz to score 400+ (Clarke & Warner another ton) and then the rest the same as Brisbane. Off to Perth next. The fastest wicket in the world. Johnson will be on fire. 3-0 by the end of that test. Beefy you said 5-0 think you might be right :)

  • Mary_786 on December 4, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    We can win, we just need to win the toss and keep up the verbal pressure on England, can't wait, boof has really changed things around

  • on December 10, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    Spot on adbuddy > excellent predictions

  • nlpdave on December 5, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    such unimaginative team selection based on wild hope rather than any expectation, Stokes can only offer mediocrity, Panesar can't sparkle in 2nd string county stuff and has a dismal record in Australia, Carberry just isn't good enough. It looks bad and by god it is bad. Not worth staying up for. The cracks have been there a while and ignored by Flower who will clearly be off after this debacle in Australia is over.

  • GrindAR on December 4, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    Irrespective of who wins, this match is going to be Monty+Swan match.

  • on December 4, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Can you change our Australian flag on your home page of the phone app it looks ridiculous.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 4, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    @Al!!! Fancy seeing yoy around these parts mate? - BC

  • popcorn on December 4, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Why do you call it an UNFAMILIAR LEAD? We beat England in IDENTICAL fashion at the Gabba in November 2006, that time by 277 runs, this time by 381 runs. That time, Kevin Pitersen was out caught in the IDENTICAL FIELDING POSITION by Damien Martyn off Brett Lee. This time by George Bailey off Ryan Harris.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    @JG2704 on (December 4, 2013, 13:31 GMT), my implication was not that England have not had success with two spinners or even necessarily that they shouldn't play two spinners in this game. It's a fact that, in the past, England have taken quite some convincing that playing two spinners was a good idea. Even in conditions where everyone knew that the pitches would turn it often took them two Tests to realise it was the way to go. Adelaide is unlikely to turn more then UAE or India and they didn't play two spinners there straight away so I see why they would here. I guess the main difference here is that they may have less faith in their fast bowlers than they did before, although I think that their faith in a fit Bresnan is still fairly high.

  • scottnye on December 4, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    lol@ rickvoncanterbury. really made me chuckle.

  • adbuddy on December 4, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    I'm an aussie living in UK and can only see one result here.Flat wicket I know but feel Harris & Siddle will pin them down with Johnson pitching it short and getting 7 wickets at least in the test but I'm sure he will leak the runs. Eng simply do not have the bottle. Cook will score 40+ the rest not alot. England all out 270. Oz to score 400+ (Clarke & Warner another ton) and then the rest the same as Brisbane. Off to Perth next. The fastest wicket in the world. Johnson will be on fire. 3-0 by the end of that test. Beefy you said 5-0 think you might be right :)

  • Mary_786 on December 4, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    We can win, we just need to win the toss and keep up the verbal pressure on England, can't wait, boof has really changed things around

  • on December 4, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    I love how the media have built up this series, let's face facts here....both sides are below par in the batting department based on current form. They are relying on the hard work of the bowlers. There is a long way to go yet, and with question marks over Harris being able to complete all 5 tests and Johnson's ability to go from hero to zero in a matter of balls. This series is wide open.

  • AlSmug on December 4, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    aww, its a sad sad day, oh englishfan

  • CodandChips on December 4, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    Bairstow wk. Ballance 6. Finn 3rd seamer.

    This will be my last ever cricinfo post. Not a great loss, I know. Fed up of many people's pointless nationalism and refusal to except when their country is not the best. I am not a troll and not Indian. I admit I have been over complementary towards India but I suppose that's more to do with fear of being called a "hater", but in Indian fan's eyes anybody who isn't Indian is a "hater".

    I post honest opinions. I genuinely think we're on the decline. I honestly think we need a big change and should give these teams a go after the ashes.

    Test 1.Cook (C) 2.Root 3.Moeen 4.Taylor 5.Ballance 6.Woakes 7.Davies 8.Broad 9.Swann 10.Jordan 11.Finn

    ODI: 1.Carberry 2.Root 3.Taylor 4.Ballance 5.Morgan (C) 6.Buttler 7.Stokes 8.Broad 9.Swann 10.Jordan 11.Finn

    T20I: 1.Hales 2.Carberry 3.Root 4.Ballance 5.Morgan (C) 6.Buttler 7.Stokes 8.Willey 9.Broad 10.Swann 11.Finn

    A bit radical, I know. Don't bother replying asI won't respond. Goodbye cricinfo.

  • AlSmug on December 4, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Australia will go into the 3rd test with a lead in the series, you mark my words

  • Shaggy076 on December 4, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Reading these comments I think a lot of people have been bluffed by England status in test cricket. Don't get me wrong they are an honest side, but certainly not great. They have won series on the back of one exceptional individual performance by a different player. Not one batsman averages over 50 and all batting averages have been on decline for sometime. They are also going into this test with half there batsman unproven at this level. There 3 main bowlers all average over 30. They are not man for man a better team than Australia and I don't believe an Australian victory would be a massive surprise. However, the Australian side isn't a great side either but they were very unfortunate not to beat a great side in South Africa here last summer. England's form over a long period suggests that they are going to find it hard to win here.

  • job_eapen on December 4, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    Well , the 2nd test is en route and something is telling me Aussies are going into the 2nd one as the favourites..well not really....they are the 'hot favourites' after their superb allround performances in the 1st test..... Bailey, Watson and Rogers are yet to join the partyy..... Johnson the brute force and the big difference between the two teams...if England doesn't find a way to play him...well, then they are going to have to work really hard to save the 2nd test.... Harris and Siddle well they have been much much better than their counterparts in the 1st test...Broad has been impressive in the 1st test...but didn't get enough support from other quicks... and throughout the 1st test Lyon has been top performer than Swann... Wel , without Trotty the england batsman need to put into even more effort...well on the bright side they have the chance to play Bell at no: 3 position.... Well all in all we are going to have an interestinh 2nd Test in our hands....looking forward to it.....

  • on December 4, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    You don't disturb a winning combo.. seems to be the sentimental logic. Otherwise I wd prefer Faulkner to replace Bailey just to share the workload and hope they can see Johnson still at WACA without any physical or reputation damage.

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    @JG2704:-Never had a paper round mate so I'm going to have to go with the Keith Richards excuse (used to be a working muso). Can't remember all that much of it but I'm told a good time was had by all.@cric_J:-Wasn't all that aware of how Monty performed in the warm ups. Had he shown a whiff of form I'd have had him in, since as the article notes 54% of wickets this season at the venue have fallen to spin, but if he's not throwing the ball up forget it, he's unlikely to have had a significant impact.

  • on December 4, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    The question: Can Australia hold their unfamiliar lead? The answer should be no. With a couple of unknowns Englard are, player for player a better unit. That doesn't distract from other factors - venue, psychology, toss and luck. Anything can happen and that's the beauty of sport and of this particular competition. I can't wait unti 3:00 a.m East African time to start to watch it all play out. What joy. Nairobi 19:50

  • Raki99 on December 4, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Now the downhill for england has started..... Their batsman are in horrible form , one left the tour and now they have two new batsman in the top 6. Wicketkeeper prior can't buy a run right now and swann din't get any turn or bounce on brisbance wicket and was outbowled by Lyon. I predict 3-1 victory for the Aussi in the Ashes. And I am also not sure where that one victory going to come from may in melboune when aussies are tired.( Indian Fan Here)

  • DJAbacus on December 4, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Always makes me smile when Clarke talks about playing their 'brand of tough cricket' as though Australia invented it. All Test cricket is tough cricket and all countries play tough.

  • cric_J on December 4, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    @Biggus @NICK @jmc : Couldn't agree more with @JG2704 re England playing 2 spinners. IMO playing Monty at Adelaide could be a grave decision to make because :

    1. The Aussie bats targeted Swann and hardly looked in any trouble against him, Warner and Pup in particular. Agreed that Adelaide will spin more and Swann should certainly bowl better here anyways but Pup is widely regarded as one of the best players of spin in the world and he loves batting at Adelaide (5 tons in 8 matches here). Given Monty isn't even as good as Swanny (mental toughness as well as skill wise) , let alone better, I can't see him not getting thrashed.

    2. If Eng are put in to bowl first, the wicket will hardly help the spinners for the first 2 days at least. Also acc to some posters, some Sheffield wkts didn't break or spin enough on days 3/4 as well.

    3. The showers expected for day 1 might just give something to the quicks to strike a wicket or two.

    4. Monty not our best with the bat and in the field.

  • stormy16 on December 4, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Ok its not crunch time but Eng need to ensure they get over the Gabba deamons and what better place to do it than Adeliade. It's hard to beleive the author suggesting both teams are suseptible to batting collapses - Aus yes but Eng are a formidable batting unit and has been for a while. Yes Trott departure is a problem but the last man they tested, Root, came out pretty well.

    Aus still needs to address holes in the batting line take up by Rogers and Baily and Watto needs to come to the party and Smith is still floating and Haddin has had is one knock in blue moon! Ironic Warner wasnt in the starting team a few months ago but with Clark are the key wickets.

    Unfortunately looks like rain will be the winner and we will go to the WACCA asking the same questions.

  • viru-319-219 on December 4, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    Bring in Monty ..... thanks to AUS Jadeja has made it to Indian test squad and Monty can turn English fortunes with Aussie weakness in playing leftarm spin. England have Bresnan,Broad and Swann all capable of contributing with bat at 7,8 and 9, Let 10 and 11 be Anderson and Panesar. England lineup should be Cook,Carberry,Root,KP,Bell,Prior,Bresnan,Broad,Swann,anderson and Monty. For England to win, one of their top 5 need to put up a show and if some one does that they really don't need extra batsman and more importantly extra responsibility of batting at 6 may bring best out of prior. I really feel Mont can be a match winner and momentum changer in Adelaide as he did in Mumbai.

  • JG2704 on December 4, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    @Biggus on (December 4, 2013, 14:14 GMT) Having a hard paper round - is like a term for someone who looks significantly older than they are. Having said that , I looked in the mirror the other day and must admit I don't remember my paper round being particularly long distance/big hills or anything. Having said that the Sunday papers in particular were heavy in those days

  • jb633 on December 4, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    As an England fan I have not been this nervous for a single test match since 2005 Ashes. I was not that surprised about our loss at the Gabba for a few reasons. Firstly we always start of tours shabbily and particularly our batting never seems to start well. Secondly, the Aussie attack is very good and were always going to be a handful at the Gabba. Thirdly, and most importantly, we have been a declining unit for 2 years now and we have had this coming for a while. The team selection was baffling, picking Tremlett based on no form at all. My fear at Adelaide has nothing to do with the pitch but our mental state. If we are still nursing the wounds of the Gabba we could get rolled for under 250 regardless of the wicket. We must win the toss and bat big here. If we fail to get over 400 at Adelaide someone must pay with their place as it is an absolute road and we can't put up with this sub standard batting for much longer. We need to win the toss here.

  • cric_J on December 4, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Re the 3rd seamer for England, if rumours are to be believed Bres will certainly play tomorrow. And I'm certain England wouldn't have made that decision had he not been fit enough to last 5 days. Though I might have fingers between my teeth if our bowlers are kept in the field for long. Last thing Chef would want is for Bres to break down which puts even greater pressure on the already-in-a-pressure-cooker Jimmy and Broady.

    3 reasons why I prefer Bres over Tremlett/Finn/Rankin are :

    1. He's the best bat out of the 4. Can hang in there as well as play some shots to get crucial lower order runs.

    2. More importantly, Adelaide being flat and baked wouldn't offer much natural swing and there won't be much pace or bounce as the game goes on. So the only life line for seamers to take wickets will be reverse swing. Again Bres would pip the 3 lankies in this aspect.

    3. He did a good job holding up one end this summer to put the bats under pressure which helped Jimmy/Broady/Swanny get wkts.

  • cric_J on December 4, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    After a lot of off field issues for both teams over the past week and half, but we're back to the real deal now -the cricket. England must bounce back here, Australia mustn't back off.

    The last 2 tests at Adelaide and the Sheffield season suggests the wicket should be a run galore for the batsmen, a graveyard for the quick bowlers. So tomorrow's toss will probably be the most crucial one of the series.

    If England want to win this one, first up they HAVE to bat better. Joe should all but certainly move to 3 with Belly staying at 5. IMO Jonny having played international level test cricket must come in at 6 as one fifty for Ballance vs an average attack doesn't inspire much confidence in me. We need a long inngs from KP & Chef.

    IMO we bowled decently at Brisbane and I'll be surprised if Swann doesn't improve here. Bres looks fit enough to come in for Tremlett. I'd like to believe he'll find some key reverse swing here and boost our batting too.

    Come On England, steel up lads !

  • BounceTrack_BULLY on December 4, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    The Ashes series are getting better and better with both teams trying to dominate each other. But they should also concentrate and prepare well for test series away from their home. Aim for No 1 position in ranking, not sledging.

  • on December 4, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Dropping Hughes has made Australia look much less weaker as opposed to the team that toured England. Now if they replace that bits and pieces player Steve Smith with a genuine batsman they might actually become a competitive team. One test win at home is too less to say that Australia are back on their way up. It was largely due to Johnson, who finds his radar once in two years. England is a gritty team and are man to man stronger than Aussies, except for Clarke, and earned respect the world over after beating India at home, and if they play to their potential they will win this Ashes too. For them to lose, Australia should play out of their skins each game and England should play to less than 50% of their potential like they did at the Gabba.

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    @JG2704:-Now this is another reason why I love the Ashes. We Aussies and Brits can have a little fun with each other, some gentle ribbing and all that, have a good chat about the relative merits of our sides, and give credit where it's due, some lightweight posters on both sides notwithstanding. We've just seen the first test end in a rather tense manner and we're still largely friendly and cordial to each other. I value that a great deal, especially given the trend towards one eyed flag waving ultra nationalist 'fans' today. Win or lose the Ashes is like a favourite pair of old slippers, and we're really rather fortunate to have them. Paper round? I just assumed he used to rent his head out as a wrecking ball.

  • JG2704 on December 4, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I don't have any strong opinions on the side Eng should play although the side listed in the article looks heavier on the batting and almost more defensive which seems strange considering we need the result. To me it maybe indicative of their mindset - they'd rather stay 1-0 down than go for the win to level the series? I'd still bring Jonny in for Prior - maybe harsh but Prior looks so out of nick... Also is Broad now considered a better batsman than Bresnan - judging by the line up. I'd say Broad,Bres and Swann can all contribute on their day so would have no issue in which order they batted. Tremlett will be unlucky to miss out but was probably lucky to tour in the 1st place. As usual a bowler pays the price for a poor batting display. I wonder if Rankin may be a better bet - not as leaky with runs as Finn but more hostile than Tremlett. Maybe sticking with Tremlett is the best option on this pitch?

  • JG2704 on December 4, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    @redneck on (December 4, 2013, 4:24 GMT) Aus have to start favourites and rightly so but if you're bringing history into it , at the end of 2012 Eng played in India and India have a pretty amazing record at home and I believe Eng hadn't beaten them in India for nearly 30 years and they lost against India (inns defeat) in the 1st test there so while it may be improbable I wouldn't say impossible

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (December 4, 2013, 11:22 GMT) Think also the way Aus batsmen played Swann had something to do with it. Our batsmen played Lyon like he was Ajmal

  • JG2704 on December 4, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    @jmcilhinney /Biggus - In India and UAE they only played the 1st tests with Swann as the lone spinner and in India they turned around a 1-0 deficit to win the series with 2 spinners and in UAE they were significantly better with the 2 spin attack in the 2 games they played than they were in the 1st test. However I don't think Eng will/should play Monty unless it's a guaranteed turner. We've seen how the Aus batsmen have looked to impose themselves on Swann and I'm not sure Monty is strong enough mentally to deal with it if they get on top of him

    PS Biggus (7.37GMT) Nice one PPS I don't think Bres is that old - just had a very hard paper round

  • davidlister on December 4, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    @Cloudmess : You are so utterly correct; @lara-better-than-bradman : what

  • cloudmess on December 4, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    England have to play 5 bowlers, with Bresnan at 7. It's not too long a tail, they've still got Broad and Swann to come. If the top 6 don't score enough runs at Adelaide, they don't deserve to win. Adelaide takes spin after day 3, so the 5th bowler has to be Monty, rather than one of the containing back-up seamers.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 4, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    @Biggus (post on December 4, 2013, 12:09 GMT): Personally I would have gone for Finn in the first game, and part of me wonders if his subsequent poor showing in the warm-ups was down to lack of confidence and support from management. The selection policy for this tour was astounding, and one that I would very much like to see the rationale behind in a report. I had Stokes pencilled in as nothing more than passenger/drinks carrier for this entire tour, but now that what's happened has happened - who knows, he might get his chance and fair play to him if he makes the most of it. We've been through the whole Onions/Woakes/Compton saga enough already so I'm not going to go down that path again; I for one just can't shake off the feeling that it was the wrong decision, and the pasting last game has nothing to do with those doubts - well, supports them I suppose, but didn't/doesn't manifest new them.

  • 122notoutWestByfleet1996 on December 4, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    i am really incredibly excited by this next test and the series. the drama is enormous, with all sorts of goings on, off and on the pitch. i dont think England are down and out like many people are saying, and i also dont think Aus have suddenly become world beaters overnight. i expect this test to be hard fought by England. if they go down the 2 spinners route, then Cook better win the toss! gut feeling is that England will go with 6 batsmen and Bresnan. i think picking Bresnan is a mistake given his lack of match practice. the trouble is who else is putting his hand up saying "pick me" with his performances. Is Stokes going to reduce the effectiveness of the England attack given Tremletts performance? if not, why not replace Tremlett with Stokes and lengthen the batting line up? still doesnt solve the problem of the 5th bowler. is Root good enough a bowler to be the 2nd spinner, alongside KP perhaps?

    who knows? I wait with baited breath!

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK:-Fair enough, Bresnan it is then. I like the guy as a cricketer and I just hope it isn't too soon. Odd selection of the three talls for this tour though. I said at the time that you still have to bowl well no matter how big you are, and to pick the one who by all accounts hadn't done much recently to play in Brisbane is even stranger. I understand Stokes is really along for the ride as a work in progress (unless the you-know-what really hits the fan), but Finn must be feeling a little like the red headed stepchild. Sure he's a tad expensive but he's a wicket taker, but I guess it's just a balance problem given that with Broad you already have a bowler who tends towards the expensive, much as we have to team MJ with tight bowlers. It seems the selection of a poorly balanced attack has left England with little choice but to bring Bresnan back, ready or not.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on December 4, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Adelaide will be interesting, but whatever the result here, this Ashes series will be won and lost in Perth and Melbourne.

    Everyone is talking about how England will handle Mitch in Perth, but he absolutely destroyed Sri Lanka in Melbourne a year ago with 6 wickets, Player of the Match and some broken fingers for SL's batsmen. If the SL batting greats including Kumar Sangakarra could not handle him, how will this lot go?

    @Biggus - good one mate

  • on December 4, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Statements of doctored pitches are ridiculous. Every team when playing at home prepares pitches to suit its team, the WACA is an excellent example for Australia. It's never fair when one team "doctors" pitches to win on home soil and then complains about it when they travel away; well in this case, the fans complaining.

  • on December 4, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    I think Nick Compton should bat at 3.He is a seriously good top order player.Eng should have brought him on tour.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 4, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    @Biggus (post on December 4, 2013, 10:00 GMT): Yes - I said as much during the first game of this series. Swann is bowling too fast and flat, which is understandable because Warner and co. were targeting him and it's a natural human reaction for a spinner to 'panic a bit' and try to overcompensate by pushing the ball through that bit faster. Lyon by contrast, amongst other things, was bowling much slower (rarely topped 45mph) and this lets the ball do more off the pitch and increases the chance of beating a batsman in flight - easily done to certain England players at the moment. In subcontinent conditions where the ball tends to do more off the pitch anyway, bowlers like Panesar 'got away' with bowling that bit quicker. A bowler needs to bowl to the conditions/pitch present. Does Panesar do this? According to Warne - no. From what I've seen - no, but he's getting there. Put it this way - I won't lose too much sleep if England decide not to bother with Panesar this game.

  • IndianEagle on December 4, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    eng won ashes with doctored pitches, their inability against geninue swinging ball are exposing.

  • Four_Bits on December 4, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    After such a resounding victory at the Gabba, largely thanks to the bowlers and the pressure they had ENG batsmen under, im miffed by suggestions here that Johnson and/or Harris should have been rested to prepare for another day. Its been a rarity in recent history for Aus to have the wood over the poms at any stage, so taking the best bowling stocks, bristling with confidence into game 2 is the right decision. Aus need to attack whilst riding high and take this game on with the same aggressive approach and really keep the pressure up. I think they can force a win regardless of the track

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @Dangertroy on (December 4, 2013, 9:50 GMT), "England played two spinners in the last test at the Oval, although Kerrigan only ended up bowling 8 overs, so really they were playing with one spinner". I'd actually forgotten that. I bet Kerrigan wishes he could too. I think that it's fair to say that that was a special set of circumstances though, and Kerrigan was really auditioning for this series in case Monty couldn't get his act together. Even with England up 3-0, had Monty not had his meltdown then I doubt that Kerrigan would have played that game. If the series had been level then I doubt that he would have played either. They didn't play him because they thought that two spinners was their best chance of winning and I doubt that they think it is in Adelaide either.

  • BounceTrack_BULLY on December 4, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    It's going to be an interesting first session or day, which will be the key to both teams to gain momentun..

  • on December 4, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    its all about the huge difference in the two venues bris and ad so nothing can be pedicted but if still mic and ryan rattle eng with their pace and lyon creates an impression then aussies continue their progress on a high its 60/40 aus/eng

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 4, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Faulkner seems to be the most ripped off player in the world at the moment. Test bowling average of 16 at test level and he can't find a way into the side? And that as an all-rounder! I know that you aren't supposed to change a winning side but George Bailey is very lucky to have got the nod ahead of him. With Faulkner missing out, it looks like Australia are going for a draw here. I think that both sides will be looking for a draw and be happy with one, so that is the most likely result. May as well wait until Perth for something interesting.

  • itismenithin on December 4, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    England needs to play 5 bowlers if they are serious about making a come back. They should play Monty Panesar along with Bresnan to take some load off Broad & Anderson. They need both these guys relatively fresh in Perth and Melbourne. I don't think they have a good batsmen to replace Trott and make an impact, best bet would be to play Bresnan as an allrounder.

  • Shaggy076 on December 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    GVJPR; Sorry we need flat pitches, we saw India struggle to go into the fourth day. If the pitches werent flat when India tours we may only have two day test matches. That is a massive revenue loss. As for this test I cant see England picking Bresnan, only just back from injuries back to back tests which he surely wont be able to back up considered his recent work load. I think Ballance in for Trott and Tremlett will stay in.

  • on December 4, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    both the teams are in advantage and disadvantage as no one knows how the new wicket is gonna behave for next 5 days.... looking at the past history of matches in adelaide then one thing is for sure both teams would like to bat first and bat long for atleast 5 sessions to make a huge first inning score.

    eagerly waiting for the match to start

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK:-Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't much of Panesar's success in India come from him pushing the ball through fairly fast and flat? (didn't see the series but just judging from comments at the time and such) In my opinion Swann's already bowling too flat on this tour. Down here if you can't beat the batsman in flight you're playing with one hand tied behind your back. Someone really needs to tell them to throw it up a bit, our grounds are large and there's plenty of scope for outfield catches from mishit lofted strokes.

  • Dangertroy on December 4, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - England played two spinners in the last test at the Oval, although Kerrigan only ended up bowling 8 overs, so really they were playing with one spinner.

    I think both captains will be have one eye on the three day turn around when it comes to the toss. You want your portion of the bowling to be over as soon as possible, so that the bowlers have longer to recuperate. You would have to seriously consider bowling first while the wicket has a bit of pace in it, then try to bat long and win it by an innings.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that both of the ashes tests we've won in the last few series have been followed by an unchanged team being defeated. The real question mark for me on this team is whether Watson can bowl enough overs. If he can't, then he shouldn't be playing.

  • Front-Foot-Clunge on December 4, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    I'd really think Bresnan should come into this game. Given the likelihood of long days in the field, each team should have just one extra bowler who can keep chugging in for long spells of little reward. Plus, Bresnan isn't Tremlett, who bowled some dreadful balls at the Gabba. Seriously, is he one of the best England can get?

  • CosmoCrawley on December 4, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    I think Australia have made a big mistake in picking Bailey ahead of Faulkner. Bailey's performance in Brisbane only confirmed my view that he simply isn't a Test class batsman. In picking Faulkner they would have lost nothing in the batting department but would have gained plenty in the bowling department where it might really matter. I still think England are still favourites to win the series.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 4, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Interesting that showers are forecast for a few days; I wonder will this be a significant factor in the game? Great bowlers in both teams that can make use of deadly swing if it's available. Unless England are prepared to let Root and KP bowl much, much more than they've done in a long time, I think they seriously need to consider 5 bowling options. Onus could be dumped on Bresnan to contribute with the bat and he could come in at 6, allowing another seamer or Magic Monty to come in; alternatively, Stokes in at 6. Either way or whatever England decide to do, several key players need to step up and perform with the bat, otherwise the bowlers will have nothing to defend anyway.

  • cricketsubh on December 4, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    easy win 2nd test for aus aND GO 2-0 UP IN THE ES

  • on December 4, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    Bresnan brings more balance in the team. Trott is going through a rough patch & his return to home is better for both (him & Eng) at the moment. I seriously doubt upon Carberry's caliber but still he deserves another chance. Adelaide is a good wicket & we will see some quality batting here by KP, Cook , Watson, Clarke. This surface will bring Eng's confidence back & even if they drew this match, they can really upset Aus in Perth & can take lead in melbourne & sydney.

  • on December 4, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Suffice to say that the Gabba 381 run win was a larger margin of victory than any of the English victories of the series of five months ago, all achieved with much the same "worst Australian team ever" versus "the greatest English team of all time". Recent exceptional efforts by individuals like Cook (v India), Prior (v NZ), Broad (v NZ) and Bell (v Aus) simply papered over the widening cracks in the English team. Due to the previously mentioned efforts, it was laughed away that the pattern of England being 3 down for not many, the persistent failure to reach large batting scores or the ongoing search for a third seamer pointed to severe structural problems. Fingers crossed that Good Mitchell shows up in Adelaide on his way to a well-deserved Man of the Series.

  • on December 4, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Australia;with the momentum and sky high confidence in their bowling attack should be favourites to win this test.Oz will bowl enough good balls to dismiss this England team for a sub 350 score or maybe even sub 300 score IMO;especially since the recent disruptions to England's top order.England have to improve in many area's and in all lilkelihood, too many areas from the first test.Their batting will be highly dependant on Ian Bell and KP for the bulk of their runs with the rest of their batsmen yet too establish themselves (Root,Ballance,Carberry),too conservative/tentative (Cook)and/or going through a very long stetch of poor form (Cook and Prior).Australia's fragility in batting will be offset by the great conditions and their agressive intent mean they are a much better bet to post a 400+score. To win against the odds; the following 3 things need to happen for England.1.Anderson must swing the newball 2.Swann must make an impact 3. One of Bell or KP must make a big Hundred.

  • RVC-38 on December 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Well I don't know about anyone else but I am looking forward to watching India score 150 on those flat saffer wickets

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    @GRVJPR:- If you're correct in your suggestion that Australian tracks are flat it makes it all the more curious that you're guys can hardly make a run here.

  • on December 4, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Why do we have such flat tracks in the most reputed #ASHES where People come to watch the match and loved to have a result. Such kind of pitches will reduce the tempo of the game which is not good for test cricket

  • dunger.bob on December 4, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 : A typically downbeat, cautious approach from you, not. Mate, I'd sell the farm to have your level of optimism, not to mention your imagination. They're both rippers!! :)

    @GRVJPR: "A big Yawn to Ashes!" . No IPL on at the moment I take it.

  • Biswajit03 on December 4, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Australia over confident will lay him down, which has happen in there last couple of match against India.

  • Sachit1979 on December 4, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Chris Tremlett took 3 wickets in the second innings and most economic among 3 fast bowlers. Not sure why he is being underrated.

  • rajuramki on December 4, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    It may be true that Adelaide oval may not be as pacy and bouncy as the Gabba . After all , Gabba was not unfriendly to the batsmen and the double failure of England only shows that they are not too confident of facing the Australian quicks . Ausrtalia have certainly dented the confidence of England and hence to maintain the pressure on them , it is not a bad idea to retain Johnson , who must be feeling a couple of inches taller , after his performance with bat and ball at the Gabba . I get a feeling that , despite all odds and the predictions, Australia will go 2 - 0 UP IN THE SERIES .

  • on December 4, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    All that Eng need is a good opening partner for Cook,, and they need KP to play the way test matches are played,, not like T20s,, KP should learn from Bell,,,

  • GRVJPR on December 4, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    Why tracks are so flat in australia, south africa, england, and new zealand? A big Yawn to Ashes!

  • Shaggy076 on December 4, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    strayafan ; Surely being droped will do more damage to his confidence. All he has to do is bowl like in Brisbane and he wont get smashed around. It would be a ridiculous decision to bring Faulkner in for him. If you had been paying attention to the shield season so far you will notice Faulkner has never bowled more than 10 overs in a day. How can this be preparation for a front line bowler, and that he has never scored a first class century also means he cant be picked as a batsman. I like Faulkner but he needs to play for Tassie and bowl a lot of overs to force his way in as a bowler.

  • on December 4, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Batting first at Adelaide is axiomatic. You always bat first there. I am presuming that Watson is going to be fit to bowl otherwise they would have probably brought in Faulkner. To maintain his place in the side, Watson needs to be bowling at least 15-20 overs an innings (in a normal 100-120 over innings) picking up the occasional wicket. He also should not bat higher than five. Smith should also be bowling a few overs in Adelaide as spin is more likely to pick up wickets than sheer pace. Would not want the three quicks to have to bowl more than five over spells and twenty overs in a day. Lyon, of course should expect to bowl 25-30 overs.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 4, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Unfamiliar it maybe but handy 1 though. Now ,with momentum pushing them forward ,expect young Aus team drive in the adv. vs ageing dad's army Eng team by making it 2-0 . Looks likely to be flattest pitch in this Ashes, so Clarke's tactics will be to take 1st batting and pile up 600+ . Batting for the better part of days 1 and 2 where the pitch and conditions will be as batting friendly as they get will also help to wear down the surface a bit as well as the Eng bowlers . Having ground the bowlers for best of 2 days and kept on the field ,the weary Eng bats will be easy to bowl out twice w/o Aus having a 2nd bat as on the wearing pitch this quality pace attack of Aus will be tough to survive against . Just well set fields and stump line bowling aided by the pitch and bit of reverse and with most of them above 140+,we should have a result by late day 4 . Aus, with a well deserved 2-0 lead and well set to pocket the urn in 3rd test.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 4, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Unfamiliar it maybe but handy 1 though. Now ,with momentum pushing them forward ,expect young Aus team drive in the adv. vs ageing dad's army Eng team by making it 2-0 . Looks likely to be flattest pitch in this Ashes, so Clarke's tactics will be to take 1st batting and pile up 600+ . Batting for the better part of days 1 and 2 where the pitch and conditions will be as batting friendly as they get will also help to wear down the surface a bit as well as the Eng bowlers . Having ground the bowlers for best of 2 days and kept on the field ,the weary Eng bats will be easy to bowl out twice w/o Aus having a 2nd bat as on the wearing pitch this quality pace attack of Aus will be tough to survive against . Just well set fields and stump line bowling aided by the pitch and bit of reverse and with most of them above 140+ ,we should have a result by late day 4 . Aus, with a well deserved 2-0 lead and well set to pocket the urn in 3rd test.

  • heathrf1974 on December 4, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    This test could go either way and who ever wins the toss will be greatly assisted later in the match. The inclusion of Bresnan will be a big boost, but on the otherhand having only five specialist batsman maybe a risk as well if they play Monty.

  • Nerk on December 4, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    This is Australia's year!!!! Last year we had the world's best team on the ropes in Brisbane and Adelaide but couldn't finish them off... This year...unless England have found some guts on their way south from the GABBA, we should be able to get this series in the bag. Let's not play for the draw, go for the throat and have the Ashes back by day 3 at the WACA.

  • Rags57 on December 4, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    While everyone predicts a draw I see a result in this match - psychological factors will play a major role. If Australia keep a sense of balance and don't get overboard with their aggressive and verbal tactics, they will be able to put pressure on England even on this surface. Granted Brisbane had more life and bounce but did England fail because of the wicket or due to the pressure and poor shot selection? Australia are favored if they are focused and put in their best effort but if they overdo their Gabba tactics, they may allow England to come back. If England wins this match I would favor them for retaining the Ashes with a 3-2 margin. If Australia win here they will win 3-1 or 4-1.

  • on December 4, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    Its simple. Aussies will dominate anywhere in Australia.

  • sidganesh on December 4, 2013, 5:27 GMT

    I agree with Strayafan. Aus have missed a trick by not playing Faulkner in place of Johnson.

  • sidganesh on December 4, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    England need Panesar to add more dimension to their attack and with Bresnan in the XI, they can do away with an extra batsman in Ballance/Bairstow. If the pitch plays as expected, the utility of a No. 6 batsman is questionable.

  • on December 4, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    @David Priol: +1! Batting: Faulkner + O'Keefe should be about the same as Bailey + Siddle. Bowling: two bowlers is better than one on that pitch, especially since we'd be adding a spinner. Siddle would be unlucky to miss out, but Harris is our best new ball bowler, and Johnson can pull a wicket from nowhere on a flat deck. It's all academic now, I guess, and you can't really fault the selectors for sticking with a winning team.

  • milepost on December 4, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Remember the Gabba was a good batting wicket and England made no runs on it. It might just mean more toil for their bowlers. I agree with some sentiment here that we can't really pre-judge the pitch. You'd have to give Australia form advantage based on the form of both sides.

  • strayafan on December 4, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Personally I think it was a poor choice by the selectors to keep Johnson and Harris in for this test. On a pitch of this quality, Johnson will probably get smashed around which will dent his confidence severely for the rest of the series, while Harris will most likely be able to play both Adelaide and Perth due to the quick turnaround. Adelaide will almost inevitably be a draw, draining the fast bowlers, and we will probably see a similar scenario to last year in which Australia will be forced to field a second-rate pace attack in Perth and get smashed all over the place.

  • on December 4, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    James Faulkner and Steve O'Keefe should have replaced Bailey and Siddle to give the team more opportunities and aggression. And greater energy. If it such a good wicket then Faulkner and O'Keefe would make up for Bailey's run scoring but improve the fielding and the bowling a lot...

  • brisCricFan on December 4, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    @jmcilhinney; I think the trouble about sending any team in at the moment at Adelaide is partly that so far this summer there have been some huge third innings scores posted... shows that the wicket gets better and better to bat on. If England were to try that and Aus made 300 score, you can expect that by the time Aus bat again it will be at least into day three... and batting will still be fairly easy; so batting well into day 4 with a handy lead...

    I think the only way to get a result is bat first, post 500+ and then hope the drain over the couple of days and score board pressure helps get a few cheap early wickets.

    I haven't seen Aus play for a draw over the last 15 years and don't expect it now but have to say that the draw by far seems the most bankable option.

  • redneck on December 4, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @dunger.bob i have another trend for you. when was the last time australia lost a series after winning the gabba test or for that matter when did australia last loose a home series after winning the first test? well over 20 years!!!! never mind englands last few years of coming back into a series after starting badly, australia have racked up this trend over 2 decades!!!

  • LoungeChairCritic on December 4, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    Bresnan will be a good inclusion for England. I think he is a great team player who is not scared to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. I doubt Tremlett will play for England again. With the pitch expected to give slow turn, expect Australia to target Swann again. Although he is world class, he seems to bowl really well to lefties. I reckon our right handed middle order will look to take advantage of the short side boundaries of the Adelaide Oval. If Australia is successful against Swann, the english will be vulnerable with only 4 bowlers on a tough adelaide pitch. I would love to see Broad, Anderson and Bresnan bowl plenty of overs so they are exhausted for the Perth test match.

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney:- It may be that England won't play Panesar, but I'm inclined to think they should. Jimmy Anderson looked tired and out of sorts at the Gabba and if he turns up in the same way at Adelaide he may end up being butchered, leaving the other bowlers with an awful lot of bowling to do. I thought Tremlett bowled OK in Brisbane without looking all that penetrative. I just think with Anderson looking iffy and Broad being more a short spell bowler the two spinners would allow the former two to attack rather than being forced to play the stock bowler role. I wouldn't play the 5 bowlers so Tremlett would have to make way for Panesar. If I were England and won the toss I'd bat first too, but that really goes without saying if you assume the two spinners are picked. Of course if Root and Pietersen could bowl 20 overs each England might go that route, but how might they fare on a flat pitch?

  • ReverseSweepIndia on December 4, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    sometime prototyping work out as pretty bad. Labeling this pitch as flat track when even not a single ball has been bowled is way too much. And if it turns out that pitch favor mild swing, that could turn out to be a difficult factor handling guys like Harris & Anderson considering batters will be playing in the line of the ball. And drop in pitches, though may not break at all, but they still sometimes can break pretty quickly over a session. Anyhow on current form, it looks like Aus is going 3-0 as I predicted before the start of series until unless they do not detonate self destruction button (more familiar with Pak & WI), but Aus sure are not too averse to self inflicting injuries. I remember Patto blasting out our (Ind) openers in first test and didn't get a bowl to SAVE him. Woolen wrapping Mitch or Rhino here can go same way. All the best to both teams and Eng pls show some spine

  • on December 4, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    "Can Australia hold their unfamiliar lead?" YES

  • C.Gull on December 4, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    Anyone else think that last remark by Clarke almost looks like he's daring England to play Panesar?

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 4, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    I hate to say this but I feel England could struggle here. Something is NOT right about England this time around. The whole issue with Trott, even while being downplayed will be affecting the team members. On the other hand, England could come back strongly and IF they do, Australia can kiss their Ashes goodbye. But IF England lose and go down 2-0, Australia can welcome the Ashes back down under.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    It seems to me that England's best chance of a victory in Adelaide would be to bowl first and dismiss Australia much as they did in Brisbane or even more quickly, then put up a big score themselves and either win by an innings or knock off small total in the fourth innings. With Australia's confidence up and the pitch not too helpful though, getting Australia out cheaply in the first innings would be difficult and England certainly won't bowl first if they win the toss. If England do bat first then they need a really good first innings to throw pressure back on Australia. In the unlikely event that it's an option, I very much doubt that England would enforce the follow on for fear of wearing out their bowlers, so they'd have a decision to make there as far as when to declare to ensure that they couldn't lose. Obviously anything is possible but I'd say that England need to bowl Australia out for less than 300 or score more than 400 themselves in the first innings to be able to win.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Yes, Monty Panesar is an option but I just can't believe how many people have been predicting that England will pick him. There are a number of occasions recently where England played only one spinner in UAE and the subcontinent and, despite all the Aussie fans who whinged about the "doctored" pitches in England, they still only played one spinner there the whole series. It would be a HUGE departure from the norm for England to play two spinners in Adelaide, particularly considering noone really knows how the pitch will play.

  • gibbs.175 on December 4, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Yes ....England is under a huge mentally pressure, they can not handle AUS cricket team well . This test might be close one or drawn but England already lost the game of cricket . or series ? let 's hope ato see good cricket ...

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Rhetorical question really. There are those that will claim to know but it's a big unknown:-The pitch, England's reserves of doggedness, MJ's performance on a surface less conducive to his pace and many, many more variables make predicting the result a lottery, an early Christmas present that has yet to be unwrapped. Whatever happens to be inside the box I'm sure it will be worth the wait. May the best team win, I just hope it's Australia, but I won't be betting on it.

  • dunger.bob on December 4, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    I'd go so far as to say this is one of the most important test matches we've played in quite a while. According to recent history England have nothing to worry about. They just about always start a series slowly and generally recover to surge ahead by the end. Australia have a tendency to follow up a decent match with a shocker. If that pans out again England will win not just the Adelaide test but they'll go on to get their 4th Ashes on the trot.

    So can we buck the trend? .. Have we really gotten on top of them. I suspect yes but I'm not certain by any means. Must be a case of once bitten, twice shy.

  • OneEyedAussie on December 4, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    If England settle on Panesar and Swann that will be a huge gamble on a) winning the toss and b) the pitch breaking up. If they select Bresnan his lack of match fitness could hurt them. Tough decision.

  • wellrounded87 on December 4, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    As crazy as this may sound i think Johnson shouldn't be playing this test. Yes he bowled very well at the gabba but this adelaide pitch is a different beast one that isn't as helpful to a bowler like Johnson as the gabba was and the WACA will be. I worry that Johnsons head will slump and his mind start to crumble after a big spell of no wickets and a chunk of runs scored against him.

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  • wellrounded87 on December 4, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    As crazy as this may sound i think Johnson shouldn't be playing this test. Yes he bowled very well at the gabba but this adelaide pitch is a different beast one that isn't as helpful to a bowler like Johnson as the gabba was and the WACA will be. I worry that Johnsons head will slump and his mind start to crumble after a big spell of no wickets and a chunk of runs scored against him.

  • OneEyedAussie on December 4, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    If England settle on Panesar and Swann that will be a huge gamble on a) winning the toss and b) the pitch breaking up. If they select Bresnan his lack of match fitness could hurt them. Tough decision.

  • dunger.bob on December 4, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    I'd go so far as to say this is one of the most important test matches we've played in quite a while. According to recent history England have nothing to worry about. They just about always start a series slowly and generally recover to surge ahead by the end. Australia have a tendency to follow up a decent match with a shocker. If that pans out again England will win not just the Adelaide test but they'll go on to get their 4th Ashes on the trot.

    So can we buck the trend? .. Have we really gotten on top of them. I suspect yes but I'm not certain by any means. Must be a case of once bitten, twice shy.

  • Biggus on December 4, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Rhetorical question really. There are those that will claim to know but it's a big unknown:-The pitch, England's reserves of doggedness, MJ's performance on a surface less conducive to his pace and many, many more variables make predicting the result a lottery, an early Christmas present that has yet to be unwrapped. Whatever happens to be inside the box I'm sure it will be worth the wait. May the best team win, I just hope it's Australia, but I won't be betting on it.

  • gibbs.175 on December 4, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Yes ....England is under a huge mentally pressure, they can not handle AUS cricket team well . This test might be close one or drawn but England already lost the game of cricket . or series ? let 's hope ato see good cricket ...

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Yes, Monty Panesar is an option but I just can't believe how many people have been predicting that England will pick him. There are a number of occasions recently where England played only one spinner in UAE and the subcontinent and, despite all the Aussie fans who whinged about the "doctored" pitches in England, they still only played one spinner there the whole series. It would be a HUGE departure from the norm for England to play two spinners in Adelaide, particularly considering noone really knows how the pitch will play.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    It seems to me that England's best chance of a victory in Adelaide would be to bowl first and dismiss Australia much as they did in Brisbane or even more quickly, then put up a big score themselves and either win by an innings or knock off small total in the fourth innings. With Australia's confidence up and the pitch not too helpful though, getting Australia out cheaply in the first innings would be difficult and England certainly won't bowl first if they win the toss. If England do bat first then they need a really good first innings to throw pressure back on Australia. In the unlikely event that it's an option, I very much doubt that England would enforce the follow on for fear of wearing out their bowlers, so they'd have a decision to make there as far as when to declare to ensure that they couldn't lose. Obviously anything is possible but I'd say that England need to bowl Australia out for less than 300 or score more than 400 themselves in the first innings to be able to win.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 4, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    I hate to say this but I feel England could struggle here. Something is NOT right about England this time around. The whole issue with Trott, even while being downplayed will be affecting the team members. On the other hand, England could come back strongly and IF they do, Australia can kiss their Ashes goodbye. But IF England lose and go down 2-0, Australia can welcome the Ashes back down under.

  • C.Gull on December 4, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    Anyone else think that last remark by Clarke almost looks like he's daring England to play Panesar?

  • on December 4, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    "Can Australia hold their unfamiliar lead?" YES