In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Oh, and an England batting collapse. After a promising start at the Gabba, with Ashes debutants Stoneman and Vince going some way towards silencing their critics, Trevor Bayliss’ side ultimately fell to a 10-wicket defeat in Brisbane.
The batting frailties will need to be addressed, and quickly. A glorious batting track awaits Joe Root and co in Adelaide, where the average first innings score since 2000 has been a massive 438. England, though, have their work cut out for them if they are to have any chance of levelling the series. Here we bring you all your Ashes odds ahead of the second Test.
When Australia needed their captain in the first innings at the Gabba, Steve Smith stepped up. His 141 not out steadied the ship after arriving at the crease with the team wobbling at 76/4. Smith was one of just two batsmen for the home side to pass 50 in that first innings.
The 28-year-old has a formidable record at Adelaide, too, averaging 81.8 in Test cricket at the ground. Back him to be Australia’s top run scorer at 2/1.
Whilst Usman Khawaja failed to make an impact in the first Test, England should expect a bounce back performance from the left-handed bat, given that his batting average in Adelaide is nearly double his overall average in Test matches.
Australia’s fast bowling trio of Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood showed glimpses of their best form at the Gabba. Despite limited turn in the pitch, spinner Nathan Lyon bowled very tidily indeed and will head to an Adelaide pitch which should offer more turn for him.
Sydney, Australia’s traditional home of spin, will likely be where Lyon is most effective. That said, Adelaide is a ground he has found success at in the past, claiming 31 wickets in just six Test matches. He looks like a good bet to be top wicket taker for the second Test at 7/2.
Adelaide will play host to a day / night Test match, in what is an Ashes first. It was thought that Darren Lehman might rest some of his fast bowlers for the pink ball Test, but he looks set to stick with his trio from the first Test. Lehman believes that the pitch quickens up at night time, claiming that it is actually the fastest wicket around Australia at night.
The Australian coach will be hoping that the extra pace in the pitch will be the key to exposing England’s middle order, and has made no secret of his blueprint for victory. Jimmy Anderson, meanwhile, is expected to thrive under the lights using the pink ball. Let’s hope for England’s sake that proves to be the case.
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