2nd Ashes Test
Adelaide Oval, December 5-9
Australia were very strong in Brisbane, coming home with a 381-run victory on a bouncy surface. The slower Adelaide Oval pitch should help the English, whose confidence will have taken a blow after their first crushing defeat in quite a while. Australia, on the other hand, will come in with a lot of confidence, especially in the case of Mitchell Johnson (man-of-the-match in the first test after becoming the first Australian to take 8 wickets and score 100 runs in a test match since Alan Davidson in the 1960s).
Mitchell Johnson (Australia)
Johnson is a player who feeds on confidence, and after scoring 64 in the first innings with the bat he proceeded to rip through the heart of England with the ball (4-61 and 5-42). He was bowling at a tremendous pace in Brisbane and he will attempt to replicate this in Adelaide, although whether he can do this remains to be seen.
Graeme Swann (England)
Swann had a very poor test in Brisbane, where he was hit around, and he will attempt to redeem himself on a more favourable wicket in Adelaide. His main issues came in the second innings when Clarke, Warner, Haddin and Johnson attacked his bowling with vigour and got on the front foot. He will need to try and stop this in Adelaide.
Nathan Lyon (Australia)
Lyon played very well on a pace bowlers wicket in Brisbane, playing the perfect foil to the fast bowlers during Australia’s dominant burst on the second day. In the second innings he claimed the critical wicket of Cook for 65. This pitch will also be more conducive to spin, which should make him harder to play.
Kevin Pietersen (England)
Pietersen is a batsman who can take the game away from you in an instant. His 227 in 2010 at this venue set up a crushing Ashes victory for England. In both innings he made starts (18 in the first and 26 in the second) and got out. England will hope this doesn’t happen again.
Brad Haddin (Australia)
Haddin is one of the most skilful gloveman in world cricket, but where he stood out in the first test was with the bat. His 94 in the first innings was all class and dragged Australia from 5-100 to 295. His second innings 53 was all Australia needed from him and showed the stroke-making side of his game.
Stuart Broad (England)
Broad was the pick of the English bowlers in Brisbane taking 6-81 and 2-55. He also has something to prove in Australia, where he is public enemy no. 1 after not leaving the crease when he edged one to first slip in England and was given not out. He claimed the scalps of two of Australia’s best batsmen (Rogers and Clarke) for 1 in the first innings.
The Adelaide Oval wicket is going to be a lot slower than the wicket at the Gabba, and this will disadvantage Johnson and Broad, both of whom get a lot of bounce. The wicket has also traditionally been good for batting, and as the match proceeds Lyon and Swann will get a bit of turn.
I think that it will be a very close test, and I couldn’t pick a definitive winner. I believe the toss will also have a fair impact upon the game, with the side batting first having a slight advantage, as the turn the wicket should generate around day 4 or day 5 will make it hard chasing. I also think that a draw is a distinct possibility.