England look to spin to level Ashes series in Adelaide
by CricketArchive staff reporter

Ground:Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Player:AF Giles, MS Panesar, SJ Harmison, GD McGrath
Event:England in Australia 2006/07

DateLine: 30th November 2006


England is looking to spin to wrest the momentum from Australia and prevent it from going 2-0 down in the Ashes series in Friday's second Adelaide Test. The Ashes holders hope to bounce back quickly from the 277-run hiding in last Monday's first Gabba Test, and team coach Duncan Fletcher wants to play both left-arm spinners Ashley Giles and Monty Panesar on the spin-friendly Adelaide Oval. Australia, keen to preserve a balanced team, has shied away from bringing in Stuart MacGill in a tandem leg-spin attack with Shane Warne following the continuing unavailability of injured all-rounder Shane Watson. Warne generally does well in Adelaide, his third most-productive ground with 51 wickets in 12 Tests at a 29.20 average. Curator Les Burdett says his Adelaide pitch offers batsmen a chance to play their shots but it will crack through the game. That has encouraged Fletcher to look to his spinners to level the best-of-five Test series and he said if that is the case then one of his three seamers will drop out. Misfiring pace spearhead Steve Harmison has been working in the nets to recapture his bowling rhythm, which spectacularly deserted him in Brisbane. But given a satisfactory few lead-up days he is expected to hold his position with paceman James Anderson likely to miss out for the call-up of Panesar. "We just have to look at the side and see if there's a chance that we can play with two spinners," Fletcher said. "It was definitely in our minds when we arrived in Australia that there are some wickets, this could be one of them, where we could go in with two spinners. We just have to look at the best balance we think the side will be to beat Australia in the second Test." The Adelaide Oval is a high-scoring ground with the Australians amassing 500-plus in three of their last four Tests here with four batsmen scoring double-centuries - West Indies' Brian Lara (226) last year, Justin Langer (215) against New Zealand in 2004 and Ricky Ponting (242) and Indian Rahul Dravid (233) in the 2003 Test loss to India. England last won here three tours ago in 1995 when Australia was bowled out for 156 in the fourth innings for Mike Atherton's team to win by 106 runs. Australia has some concerns that ageing fast bowler Glenn McGrath will not get through the game after a heel problem developed in Brisbane and have opted for bowling cover with speedsters Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson named in a 13-man squad. The 36-year-old McGrath, who claimed 6-50 in the first innings, left the field several times during Sunday's fourth day of the Gabba Test to have his left heel treated. McGrath was to have a strenuous test at training later Wednesday in extreme heat. England has drawn on the similarities between the start of this series and the last one. McGrath led Australia to a 239-run victory at Lord's in 2005, but after he pulled out on the morning of the second Test at Edgbaston with an ankle injury, the visitors lost the Test and eventually the series. Whatever the outcome it will be a hard slog for the bowlers, and captain Ricky Ponting will plan to share the workload around his four bowlers and supplement the attack with the left-arm spin of Michael Clarke and the medium pace of Mike Hussey. England has won eight of 28 Tests in Adelaide with five drawn, and the toss will be important with first use of the pitch expected to offer the most runs. England's traveling Barmy Army supporters are expected to be far more louder and visible on the grassy slope of Adelaide's scoreboard end after they were neutered by over-zealous policing in Brisbane and unable to congregate inside the all-seater Gabba stadium.


The teams Australia (from) - Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait and Shane Warne. England (from) - Andrew Flintoff (captain), Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, Geraint Jones, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, James Anderson and Monty Panesar.


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