Australia and England will renew acquaintances in the early hours of Saturday morning when the second Ashes Test gets underway and after yet more ridiculous talk in the lead up to the match it will be good to have the cricket take centre stage once again.
The first Test was a competitive affair for the first three days before Australia powered to victory. If they can repeat that they will be within touching distance of getting their hands on the urn. England know if they are realistically going to retain the Ashes they need to win here which sets the day-night encounter up nicely.
For all the talk they did leading up to the series beginning Australia were not that convincing in the first match of the series but having won it they can now start to take control of proceedings. They were indebted to one of the best innings you’ll see from their captain Steve Smith else their fantastic record at The Gabba could have come to an end.
While the batting struggled around Smith for much of the match, their bowlers did live up to the hype although there were times in both innings where they looked a little flat, surprisingly you could say. That said in conditions that should suit bowlers here I very much doubt they will be lacking in aggression this time around.
All the fear and worry that England would be uncompetitive in this series was put to bed in Brisbane even if they eventually succumbed to a large margin defeat. In the first three innings of the match they had got themselves into a position where if they kicked on for an hour they would have assumed real control but they were unable to do so.
One area of concern to come out of the Brisbane match was the change bowlers. Anderson and Broad bowled superbly throughout the contest but there was little to back them up which allowed Australia to get away from England. The positive was the form of the three questionable positions in the order as Stoneman, Vince and Malan all looked the part.
Australia have already announced that they are going into this match with an unchanged XI. There were thoughts that Chad Sayers could make a debut but that is not going to happen.
England have announced a 12 man squad with Craig Overton being added to the 11 on duty at Brisbane. I would expect Overton to come in for Jake Ball unless Moeen Ali is unable to bowl in which case England may need to call on Mason Crane despite not naming him in their 12.
One of the best venues in Australia hosts this second Test. There have been 75 previous Test matches on this ground of which Australia have won 39 and lost just 17 with 19 draws. England have nine wins and 17 defeats with five draws on this ground. This is the third day-night match to be held here. Australia have won both the games thus far.
The Adelaide Oval is usually a really good batting wicket for the first three days of the Test match before spin comes into play but we’ve seen it be harder to bat on against the pink ball in the first two day-night games here. That trend is expected to continue.
I’m going to load up with bets for this match so I will split the bets up into separate sections to make the post easier to read as we go along. Hopefully by the end of the week we will have returned a decent profit on them. I’m not going to bet on the match outcome because I think the toss will be significant and I’m pretty much already on England anyway as I don’t think they can win the series if they don’t win here.
After asking around for a price on both sides to bat on the opening day I am happy to get involved in the market. Both day-night matches held at the Adelaide Oval have seen both sides bat on the opening day and with the exception of two players in each side these two teams look very light with the bat still. Throw in the atmospheric conditions assisting the bowlers and I think there is a better than even chance that both sides bat on day one even if it is through a late declaration like South Africa produced last year.
I think we saw in the previous match that there is not a whole lot between the two sides with the bat and had it not been for Steve Smith, England would have claimed a first innings lead. When you think Alastair Cook and Joe Root didn’t offer anything in that first innings and they aren’t going to fail very often England have every reason to believe they can take a lead at half time.
As it is BetVictor have priced up the first innings with a handicap where England get a 75.5 run head start and that just looks too big. If England can get one of Warner or Smith early again we saw there isn’t a lot else below them. The whole of the England attack should be nicely suited to conditions here so I’ll take them with that start.
I’ll go with a couple of player performances on the match too. The first of those is Josh Hazlewood. He has a wonderful record on this ground. He has 15 wickets in just four innings and the two matches he has played here have been the two day-night matches so clearly the atmospheric conditions assist the movement he likes to get. His performance line is 100.5 so five wickets and a run will cover that but recent history suggests he’ll get more than that. I like the over there.
I can’t resist another go on the performance of Chris Woakes either. He didn’t offer as much as expected in Brisbane last week but in the day-night warm up match he was in the wickets on this ground and I fancy he’ll come on for the run so to speak. The humidity and lights can help him get swing and if he can get some movement and have a bit of confidence with the bat he can cover an 85.5pt target.
I’ll end with a couple of batsmen bets. The first is on Dawid Malan to stay within 1.5 runs of Peter Handscomb in the first innings. We saw in the first innings of the first match that it hasn’t taken long for England to work out the weakness in Handscomb. That is the beauty of allowing someone over to play county cricket I guess. Malan looked more solid than most expected and only really Lyon caused him any problems. If Malan has worked out a tactic to play Lyon better I think he’ll outscore Handscomb let alone stay within a run of him.
Steve Smith has 50s in his last three first innings on this ground and the 6/5 on him making another here just looks too big. He looked the class act in the field in the first Test and generally when players are in that sort of form they maximise it for a while. England had no answers to Smith in Brisbane and I fancy they might not have many more here. I’ll take him to pass 50 in the first dig.
Back Both teams to bat on Day 1 for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with William Hill
Back England (+75.5 runs) first innings lead for a 4/10 stake at 1.90 with BetVictor
Back J.Hazlewood’s Performance – Over 100.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Paddy Power
WON – Back C.Woakes’ Performance – Over 85.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Paddy Power
Back S.Smith First Inns 50 for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Paddy Power
Back them here:
Back D.Malan (+1.5 runs) to beat P.Handscomb (first innings) for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Ladbrokes