More of the same faces Eng­land

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

De­spite the prospect of a slow, flat pitch for the sec­ond Test in Ade­laide, it seems to be all sys­tems go for the Aus­tralians.

Michael Clarke said yes­ter­day there would be no change to the eleven that won so de­ci­sively in Bris­bane.

Why change a win­ning for­mula? And why tell the op­po­si­tion your fi­nal play­ing eleven the day be­fore the match?

To an­swer the sec­ond ques­tion first, Clarke’s team jumped Eng­land in Bris­bane, sur­pris­ing the con­fi­dent tourists with a blast of ag­gres­sive ex­press pace from Mitchell John­son, and sim­i­lar bat­ting from David Warner, Clarke, Brad Haddin and John­son.

Surely, Clarke has not for­got­ten the hu­mil­i­a­tion of be­ing laughed at by that smug crowd at Lord’s when he sug­gested his team could make a go of the re­main­ing three Test matches dur­ing the English sum­mer se­ries.

We saw Clarke’s re­sponse in Bris­bane. He laid his cards on the ta­ble at the Gabba and, by nam­ing his team for Ade­laide ear­lier than nec­es­sary, he was let­ting Eng­land know noth­ing has changed in the Aus­tralian camp.

As to the first ques­tion, Clarke is back­ing his bowlers to do the job again.

John­son’s ex­press short balls might lose a lit­tle pace off the docile Ade­laide pitch but his york­ers won’t. A yorker at that pace can be dev­as­tat­ing. Maybe John­son will put Eng­land’s bats­men on the back foot with some short stuff then use a fuller length to get them out.

Un­like Aus­tralia, Eng­land is in some dis­ar­ray. Jonathan Trott’s un­for­tu­nate de­par­ture leaves it a se­nior bats­man short in the hot seat at No 3. Joe Root is likely to take that spot.

There is talk of Eng­land adding spin­ner Monty Panesar at the ex­pense of the third seamer, most likely Tim Bres­nan. Ade­laide can help the spin­ners but Bres­nan is a tough nut whose bat­ting adds depth.

The English need to aban­don their safety-first game plan and fire back in Ade­laide be­fore it’s too late.

Ev­ery Eng­land player will have one word run­ning around his brain: Perth.

The pitch over there in the wild west is the fastest, boun­ci­est 22 yards on the planet. It is the pitch where John­son and Ryan Har­ris blew Eng­land away three years ago. Mark Ray is a for­mer pro­fes­sional crick­eter and China Daily copy ed­i­tor. He can be con­tacted at markray@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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