More of the same faces England
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 firstname.lastname@example.org