All eyes will be on the newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval for the beginning of the Second Ashes test tomorrow. Surprisingly given pre series predictions, it is Australia which will go into the match favourites after a domineering performance in Brisbane. England has been rocked, first by their massive defeat, and then by the loss of stalwart batsmen Jonathan Trott. Who takes his place at number 3 is subject to much conjecture, though it is generally accepted that Ian Bell and Joe Root are the main contenders for the spot. On what is expected to be a flat pitch good for batting, both teams choice of line-ups will be under the microscope.
Australia has announced it will go into the match with an unchanged team, some welcome stability given the constant chopping and changing of the 11 during recent years. England meanwhile will have a gap in the middle order to fill, likely to be taken up by either Jade Bairstow or the Zimbabwean born Gary Balance, coming off the back of a solid performance in the tour match at Alice Springs. Paceman Chris Tremlett is likely to be dropped after a lacklustre performance in Brisbane, either for Tim Bresnan, who has recovered from injury, or potentially a second spinner in the form of Monty Panesar. If the pitch is flat as expected, spin could play a key role, and Nathan Lyon will be expected to bowl plenty of overs for Australia. He’ll be hoping to replicate a successful outing in Brisbane where he claimed a number of crucial English wickets, helping break the back of the English middle order during their disastrous first innings.
There’s sure to be some fire in the contest after the heated scenes at the conclusion of Brisbane test. It remains to be seen whether or not the unfortunate departure of Jonathan Trott will cause the teams to rethink their on-field antics. It seems unlikely given the importance of this test match. Last series in Australia, after a draw in Brisbane, the English blew Australia away in Adelaide. There’s still a long way to go in the series, and this is anyone’s game.
First published at theinfinitive.com.au