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The Ashes: Second Test preview

AUSTRALIA will enter the second Test of the 2021-22 Ashes series on the back of a commanding nine-wicket victory over England at the Gabba, but the Adelaide Oval, a day-night Test, and injury concerns present their own questions and issues for the home side to answer before they can think about romping to another victory. 

Australia were dominant in Brisbane – of that there is little doubt. From dismissing England for 150 in the first innings, to claiming a monster lead, to then knocking England over again, it never looked like Australia were going to lose the match from ball one. 

Nathan Lyon and Travis Head refinding some form was pivotal, with Head’s century the best innings of his Test match career to date – although he doesn’t get the wraps he deserves averaging almost 40 with the bat in the toughest form of the game to exist, while Lyon went past 400 Test wickets. 

But Australia will go into the second Test without Josh Hazlewood, who could potentially have been Australia’s best bowler under lights given his ability to be consistent and move the ball on a likely flat Adelaide track. Jhye Richardson shapes as his likely replacement, although Michael Neser could also be in line for a run. 

There is also an injury concern over David Warner, who suffered bruised ribs during the first Test and failed to bat in the short-lived second innings for Australia as they completed a nine-wicket victory. 

Should Warner play though, it’s still a weight of runs which will have Australia as the front-runners for the Test. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne both average around the 60 mark in Test cricket, while Warner himself averages just shy of 50, giving Australia a formidable top order which is now backed up by an in-form Head. 

In saying that, the challenge is likely to go up a gear in Adelaide as England welcome back 1100 wickets of Test match experience in veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The selection decisions were baffling for Brisbane to say the least, but now there is another challenge on the hands of Joe Root and the selectors, who have to decide whether Jack Leach gets another go after going at eight runs per over and bowling just 11 overs in Brisbane. 

His form is critical to England having even the slimmest chance of succeeding in this series, and yet, the tourists could well elect to run with a full pace-bowling attack – something which may end up only playing further into the hands of Australia’s damaging top order. 

England also need more runs. Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed both failed in Brisbane, while Joe Root got runs in the second innings, but not nearly enough when it truly mattered in the first. 

That leaves him and the batting line up under pressure to turn things around as the teams shift their attention to the South Australian capital. 

There simply seems too much to do for England in attempting to turn this series around though, and while Anderson and Broad’s inclusion might make things tighter, they certainly won’t flip the result. 

Australia to take a 2-0 lead. 

Our best bet: Australia win $1.73 at PlayUp


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