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