Second Test preview: Australia v England


The Ashes experience moves to Adelaide this week for the second Test, with the main focus being on the England side for a change as the Aussies, for once, have kept their noses clean in the build-up.

The Ashes experience moves to Adelaide this week for the second Test, with the main focus being on the England side for a change as the Aussies, for once, have kept their noses clean in the build-up.

The talk since the first Test ended has been about sledging and the departure of batsman Jonathan Trott, and a combination of the two. Trott's departure due to a stress-related illness, has been the main talking point.

His exit leaves a big cap at number three, and his solid presence will be very much missed. It is assumed Joe Root, dropped from opener to six for the first Test, will move back up the order to first drop.

The other option is that uncapped Gary Ballance, who did well in the warm-up game in Alice Springs, could bat at three, but the prevailing wisdom is that he will debut at six in Root's old spot.

As for the bowling line-up, Tim Bresnan has been drafted into the side after recovering from his lower back stress fracture, and he could kick Chris Tremlett out the side. Bresnan's workhorse attitude and all-round ability could prove crucial on the good batting track.

There has also been chatter about whether England will use a second spinner in Monty Panesar, given the possible turn late in the game, and also to give the pacemen a rest. But this would also see Tremlett removed and Bresnan not recalled.

The Australians have had little to worry about in the past week, aside from constant questions about their sledging in Brisbane. Skipper Michael Clarke, who was fined for his altercation with James Anderson, has said the 'line' will be observed.

Speaking of Clarke, he was the only injury scare ahead of the match for the hosts, missing practice on Tuesday with a hurt ankle, but he has been declared fit as the Aussies look set to go with the same line-up, fast bowlers included.

All eyes will be on Mitchell Johnson again, who was the star in the first Test, taking nine wickets and bowling at astonishing speeds upon his return to the side. He and Ryan Harris will provide the aggression the Aussies used so well at the Gabba.

It is also assumed that all-rounder Shane Watson will play more of a role with the ball this time, having only sent down two overs in Brisbane. His fitness with the ball will be appreciated by the other bowlers, considering the expected long spells.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, <b>David Warner</b> could again be the key man at the top of the order as he looks to follow on from his century in the first Test. He's been quiet off the field, so it's hoped his focus will be on his batting and securing a big score for his side.

England will again look to <b>Ian Bell</b>, the star of the Ashes in England, to make big runs, especially if the top four fail to fire. If he gets a partnership going with Cook, Root or KP, the home bowlers will be in for a toil.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013:First Test: Australia won by 318 runs in Brisbane<br>2013: Fifth Test: Match drawn at The Oval<br>2013: Fourth Test: England won by 74 runs at Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street<br>2013: Third Test: Match drawn at Old Trafford, Manchester<br>2013: Second Test: England won by 347 runs at Lord's, London

<b>Prediction</b><br>Australia's record here is not as good as at the 'Gabba, and they might be freaked out by being in the lead, so we're going to say that England's experience will shine through and they'll win on day five.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Australia (confirmed team):</i> Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steve Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (wk, vice-capt), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.

<i>England:</i> Alastair Cook, Matt Prior, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Michael Carberry, Steve Finn, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan.

<b>Dates:</b> 5 to 9 December<br><b>Morning session:</b> 10:30-12:30 (00:00-02:00 GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 13:10-15:10 (02:40-04:40 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 15:30-17:30 (05:00-07:00 GMT)<br><b>On-field umpires:</b> Marais Erasmus and Kumar Dharmasena<br><b>Third umpire:</b> Tony Hill<br><b>Match referee:</b> Jeff Crowe