The Long Handle – 2nd Ashes Test preview and tips – December 3-7, Adelaide Oval

Well, after that 1st Test in Brisbane, more questions than answers have been raised. They range from the familiar (Will our attack ever be able to take 20 wickets on anything other than a green top? How does Mitchell Johnson keep getting picked?) to the incredulous (How on earth did a batsman with a technique as shaky as Jonathon Trott score a century?). The Ashes series moves to the city of churches with hopes high of obtaining answers to these questions and more.

Australia has picked their 13-man squad for the match, with Bollinger and Harris the pacemen in waiting. Johnson is the most under fire, with Hilfenhaus not far behind him – both could be replaced. Indeed, given Hilfy’s and Bollinger’s ineptitude with the willow, a strong argument can be made that if one goes, both should to ensure that the batting isn’t significantly weakened. I’m not sure I buy that line of thinking given Johnson’s recent Test record with the bat – bringing Harris in may actually strengthen the tail. Seemingly, everyone has an opinion on whether Johnson should play or be sent to think about things in Shield cricket. The only consolation for Australia is that England’s Stuart Broad was equally wayward and down on confidence, throwing petulance into the mix on top. It’s likely the squad will be announced at the last minute, so you may want to wait on the selections before wading into any bowling markets for Australia.

The plusses from Brisbane all came in running some batsmen into form on the road the pitch turned into on day 3. Hussey, Haddin and Ponting all got some quality time in the middle and regained some form. So did Strauss, Cook and the aforementioned Trott. Whilst the odds on offer are not great, no one has scored more runs at the Adelaide Oval than Punter. Whilst Hussey has an outstanding average of 95 there, it’s skewed by his match-winning efforts in Australia’s last heroic Ashes 2nd Test win. Plus, Ponting has a history of performing well with the bat when people are questioning his captaincy.

On the other side of the ball, Jimmy Anderson was the consensus most dangerous bowler in the 1st Test, and should have felt unlucky to come away with only 2 wickets after regularly missing the edge. It’s unlikely England will make changes based on their performances (Broad really the only possibility), but with Swann struggling a bit for form and the possibility of the Adelaide pitch being a little greener than normal, look for Anderson to continue to turn the screws, particularly in the first innings. Finn came away with the wickets on the back of Anderson’s work in Brisbane, but don’t bet on this trend continuing.

It’s hard to get a feel for how the Adelaide wicket may perform in the Test – no Shield cricket there for a month – but with Les Burnett gone as curator will we see any differences? The new curator is a protégée of Burnett, but as Australian coach Tim Neilsen pointed out, the weather has been a fair bit cooler than is typical this year and we may see a little more joy for the bowlers than usual. The long range forecast has fine weather until the possibility of showers on Day 5, so we should get enough time for a result if the pitch co-operates. Can we trust either attack to take 20 wickets though? I think we can if the assistance from the pitch is there – history says that’s a 50/50 proposition. Bookies are heavily favouring the draw so there isn’t a lot of value there, but getting $3.60 for an Australian victory does provide some.

The Long Handle’s plays for the 2nd Test:
Australia to win @ 3.60 (IASBet)
Jimmy Anderson England most wickets 1st innings @ 3.5 (Sportingbet)
Ricky Ponting Australia most runs 1st innings @ 4.25 (multiple sites)

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3 Responses to "The Long Handle – 2nd Ashes Test preview and tips – December 3-7, Adelaide Oval"

  1. Not backing Mitch for leading wicket-taker? He’s as short as $3.75 for 1st innings most wickets. Please.

    BTW I am not betting with confidence until Pakistan returns

  2. This illustrates that you should always consider the possibility of the player not participating when eying up any player odds. It happens all the time in soccer, when people back someone to score, only for them not to make the team sheet.

    According to the SMH, “with figures of 0-170 in the Ashes opener in Brisbane, and having gone wicketless in four of his past six Test innings, Johnson’s case for retention wasn’t strong.” With the benefit of hindsight, laying a bet against Johnson using Betfair would have been a good call.

    It just goes to show that it’s always worthwhile poking around Betfair for lay bets against people you don’t think will even participate. You can see why some punters expend a lot of energy trying to predict team sheets.


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