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Australia to field unchanged team in second Ashes Test

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Adelaide, Dec 1: Australia skipper Steve Smith on Friday confirmed that the hosts would field an unchanged XI for the historic day-night second Ashes Test against England at the Adelaide Oval from Saturday.

England, on the other hand, added seamer Craig Overton to the eleven that played in the first Test in Brisbane, which they lost by 10 wickets.

Going into the pink ball fixture, England will be aiming to make full use of the moisture and seaming conditions from their pace bowling spearheads James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

In terms of pink-ball experience, England have played their first day-night Test in August this year against the West Indies, which they won by an innings and 209 runs.

This will be Australia’s third consecutive day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval, besides the one played in Brisbane. Australia have won them all.

The England camp in particular seems to have retained some bitterness from the Jonny Bairstow head-butt saga and are expected to return the favour here.

Coming to team selection, the tourists’ have added an extra pace option in Overton, who is likely to challenge Jake Ball for a berth. However, there was no room for leg-spinner Mason Crane, despite concerns over off-spinner Moeen Ali’s finger.

In the batting department, England will expect veteran Alaistar Cook to repeat his career-best 243, which he stroked against the West Indies in the day-night affair in Birmingham.

While Cook failed to deliver in the opening Test, his partner Mark Stoneman looked good and so did the other Ashes debutant James Vince. Skipper Joe Root will look to extend his rich vein of form and guide the middle order comprising Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali and stumper Jonny Bairstow.

On the other hand, the hosts look a formidable unit with most of their top-order batsmen getting among the runs in the opening game. The opening duo of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft chased down England’s target of 173 without any fuss while skipper Steve Smith set the tone in the first innings with an unbeaten 141.

It will, however, be interesting to see how No.3 Usman Khawaja deals with his weakness against spin bowling in the second game.

In the run-up to the second Test, the only concern for the Australians was the fitness of their three stellar fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, but after successfully completing Thursday’s practice session without a worry the trio will line up together again. IANS

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