2nd Ashes Test Preview: If Anderson, Broad & the pink ball can't flip things, nothing will
England desperately need to win the Adelaide day-night pink-ball Test match to remain competitive in the series.
Onus back on Broad, Anderson once again
First and foremost, England have a lot of selection issues to tackle ahead of the Adelaide Test. They decided to leave out both Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad out in the first Test. While Anderson had a slight calf niggle, Stuart Broad was fit and raring to go.
However, both bowlers had not bowled a lot of overs over the last few months. In Broad's case coming out of injury, and with the amount of rain in Queensland leading up to the first Test that washed out a majority of the practice sessions, it made sense to actually rest Stuart Broad and James Anderson at the Gabba.
Both pacers are set to return for the Adelaide Test match where they will hope to get a lot of assistance from the pink ball, specially during dusk and even when the floodlights take complete control.
England's spin/over rate conundrum
The conundrum is that Adelaide is known to help spinners over the years and the way Australia tore into Jack Leach at the Gabba has left England in a real quandary.
It doesn't help that they were fined 100% of their match fees in the first Test match and docked five points. The 100% really won't matter that much to the England players but it is the five points that will hurt. For context, in the current World Test Championship cycle, a win yields 12 points while a draw yields four points.
England were short of the over rate by 5 overs with a spinner. If they decide to drop Jack Leach, they will have to mind the over rate. They won't be tempted to pick their second choice spinner Dom Bess due to his inconsistency, despite a fine performance in the match against Australia A.
One out of Woakes, Robinson to play
There would be some sore bodies in the England camp after the back-breaking work at the Gabba. Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood will all have a few aches and bruises.
Taking that into consideration, England might decide to rest Wood, but the point of difference that he provides with his pace, Wood is too tempting an option to sideline. One of Chris Woakes and Ollie Robinson - depending upon who is more sore - will probably make way for the veteran pacers.
Warner looks fit, Jhye Richardson to replace Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the Adelaide Test due to a side strain. Despite Michael Neser snaffling up a 5-wicket haul in the first-class match against England A, Richardson is all set to show what he is capable of with the pink ball.
David Warner was also hurt in the ribs but is likely to be available. Usman Khawaja is waiting in the wings in case an opportunity arises.
Positives for England
The way things unfolded at the Gabba, it looked like the same old story of England struggling to come to terms with the conditions and the ultra-aggression of Australia at home.
The newly-appointed captain Pat Cummins though had a lot of things going in his favour from getting to bowl on a green top when the conditions were perfect for the ball to seam and swing, batting under sunshine and getting the rub of the green on several occasions.
England, however, did have some positives to take out. The partnership between Joe Root and Dawid Malan was the highlight as both players looked fluent and were just one good session away from putting Australia under pressure.
Ollie Robinson was the pick of the England bowlers by far and had the ball on a string. Mark Wood was a bit unlucky to not get more than three wickets in the first Australian innings. Regardless, there is one thing you get from him each and every time -- 100% commitment.
Predicted playing XIs
Australia - David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jhye Richardson
England - Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes/Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
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