Ashes 2017 2nd Test | A pink ball? Fiery remains cricket around evening time, under lights? What might Ivo Bligh and Billy Murdoch think? The inaugural Ashes chiefs would most likely be similarly as confused by this advancement as the possibility of batsmen wearing head protectors, or players inspecting umpiring choices, or limit ropes, or secured pitches. Or, then again, might we venture to say it, stump receivers. The diversion moves with the circumstances. In any case, this Adelaide Test represents a point of reference: it will be the 330th Ashes Test and the principal played as a day-night issue. The primary, you think, of numerous.
Australia enter this match with a 1-0 arrangement lead after their 10-wicket win in Brisbane, and the groups have conveyed to Adelaide a level of asperity that emerged from that Gabba Test. The England camp specifically appears to have held some severity from the Jonny Bairstow head-butt adventure. James Anderson has compared the Australians to spooks for the route in which they sledged Bairstow about the occurrence, and commander Joe Root was miserable with the way in which his partner Steven Smith snickered all through a question and answer session about the issue. Smith, in answer, said his giggling was at his partner Cameron Bancroft, not to England’s detriment, and proposed that Anderson himself was “one of the greatest sledgers in the diversion”. But this is all diversion from the job that needs to be done.
It is technically possible for England to lose in Adelaide and still retain the Ashes, but it would take a monumental turnaround to achieve that from 0-2 down. In terms of pink-ball experience, England have a disadvantage, having played their first day-night Test in August this year against West Indies – albeit for an innings victory. This will be Australia’s third consecutive day-night Test at Adelaide Oval, and they have played one in Brisbane as well. Australia have won them all. Ashes 2017 2nd Test
The swinging pink ball will be a challenge for both sides, but perhaps England’s biggest task is to find a way to negate the impact of Smith with the bat. His dogged century at the Gabba was the defining contribution of the match, and he showed remarkable patience to not become frustrated by the defensive fields set for him from early in his innings. “Take Steve Smith’s innings out of it and they were 160 all out in the first innings,” Root observed. Of course, remove any team’s highest scorer and their total will look significantly inferior, but Root’s point – that few other Australian batsmen contributed anything of substance – is a valid one. If England get Smith cheaply, they will go a long way towards turning their fortunes around.Ashes 2017 2nd Test
In the spotlight
Last year’s Adelaide Test was a watershed moment for Australia, after their Hobart thrashing at the hands of South Africa led to a major selection overhaul. Three debutants were included for the Adelaide Test, plus two recalled players. Of those five, Peter Handscomb is the only one still holding on to his place in the Test side a year later. Handscomb has outlasted Nic Maddinson, Matt Renshaw, Matthew Wade and Jackson Bird, and still finds himself averaging more than 50 in Test cricket. He also holds the distinction of having played more first-class games with a pink ball under lights than anyone in the world, averaging 54.64 from his 10 games. Handscomb will be keen to celebrate a year in the Test side with a contribution in Adelaide, after he was trapped lbw for 14 playing deep in his crease at the Gabba.
Ashes 2017 2nd Test
Who else but Jonny Bairstow? After the Brisbane Test, which ended with Bairstow addressing the media about his was-it-a-headbutt-or-wasn’t-it, there can be no escaping the fact that Bairstow will be under the microscope in Adelaide. The Australians felt that their sledging of him worked at the Gabba, where he fell to an ill-judged shot at a key time, but at his best Bairstow has the potential to be a dominant force in the series. Worldwide, only Joe Root scored more Test runs than Bairstow in 2016, and England will be hoping their wicketkeeper can overcome the mental hurdle created by this saga.
Australia have confirmed an unchanged XI, with Chadd Sayers missing out on a home Test debut.
Australia: 1 Cameron Bancroft, 2 David Warner, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Peter Handscomb, 6 Shaun Marsh, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Nathan Lyon.
England have hedged their bets slightly with a 12-man squad, with Craig Overton entering the equation to challenge Jake Ball for a seam-bowling berth. There’s no room for the legspinner Mason Crane, despite concerns over Moeen Ali’s spinning finger. Moeen will play, even if his bowling load is reduced, with Root also able to contribute some of his part-time offspin.
England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Mark Stoneman, 3 James Vince, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Dawid Malan, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Jake Ball, 10 Stuart Broad 11 James Anderson