12112017

Moeen may not bowl but conditions ‘like being at home’ for England

Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali may not be able to bowl as England attempt to level the series with victory in the second Ashes Test at Adelaide

England have concern over the fitness of all-rounder Moeen Ali before the second Ashes Test against Australia.

Moeen suffered a cut finger in the 10-wicket first Test defeat in Brisbane, but bowled in the nets on Friday.

If he is not fit to bowl on Saturday he will still play as a batsman, leaving England to choose between Jake Ball and Craig Overton for the final pace spot.

The day-night match at the Adelaide Oval, played with a pink ball, begins at 03:30 GMT in Adelaide.

On the same evening, England meet Australia in the rugby league World Cup final in Brisbane.

If Moeen is unable to bowl, England’s only slow bowling option will be captain Joe Root’s part-time off-breaks.

There is also the possibility that Worcestershire’s Moeen may not be able to bowl early in the game, but would be fit later on.

The tourists have named a 12-man squad, adding Overton to the 11 who played in Brisbane.

Australia will be unchanged from the side that won the first Test.

Can England bounce back with the pink ball?

England, the Ashes holders, arrive at the Adelaide Oval having competed strongly in Brisbane, only to slide towards defeat on the fourth afternoon.

Only twice before have they won the Ashes in Australia after going 1-0 down.

The day-nighter, the first in men’s Ashes cricket, provides Root’s men with an excellent opportunity to get back into the series.

The weather has changed from stifling heat to cool, damp and overcast. That, coupled with the pink ball and evening conditions, could give England’s seam and swing bowlers greater assistance.

“It’s pretty much like being at home, so hopefully that can play into our hands,” Root told BBC Sport.

“With a bit of moisture around, that might be something that excites our bowlers. It’s important we don’t get too carried away about that, we just have to make sure our skill levels are right up there.

“We have to perform like we did in the first three days in Brisbane. If we do that, we’ll give ourselves the best chance of winning.”

A bit of Ashes history

Day-night Test cricket was first played in 2015 in the hope of boosting attendances and television audiences.

Australia held the inaugural match against New Zealand in Adelaide and have since met South Africa at the same venue and Pakistan in Brisbane, winning all three matches.

England’s only day-night Test was against West Indies at Edgbaston in August, where they won by an innings and 209 runs.

Now, after the Test in the women’s Ashes was played under lights in Sydney in November, the pink ball – changed from traditional red in order to be seen at night – comes to the men’s series.

“The issue is visibility,” said BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew. “Spectators found it difficult in the twilight period to see the ball in Birmingham and the same has happened here.

“It also seems to do more for the bowlers. In helpful conditions, it does move around a bit.

“It sort of feels the same in your hand, but I think I’d be able to tell the difference if I closed my eyes and held a red ball in one hand and a pink in the other. The red ball feels warmer, the seam more like what I am used to.”

Smith tries to clear the air

Media playback is not supported on this device

What really happened between Bancroft & Bairstow?

On Thursday, Root said England would use the laughter of Australia captain Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft in their news conference after the first Test as extra motivation for the second.

Bancroft was explaining being ‘headbutted’ by Jonny Bairstow in a Perth bar at the start of England’s tour.

On Friday, Smith denied he was mocking England.

“I was laughing at Cameron and the way he delivered his version of what happened,” he said.

“I’m happy to clarify that with Joe. There’s no problem there.”

The Bairstow incident came to light after comments towards the England wicketkeeper were heard on a stump microphone.

It raised questions over what is acceptable for players to say to each other, with Root claiming that “their idea of the line and our line are slightly different things”.

Smith, though, said the game at the Gabba was “played in a good spirit”.

“There’s a line there that we’re not to cross,” he added. “It’s about playing good, hard, aggressive cricket and we did that well at the Gabba.”

The captain also dismissed claims made by England fast bowler James Anderson in his Daily Telegraph column.

“A bully waits until they are in the ascendancy to pounce on people. That is what Australian teams do,” said Anderson.

Smith responded: “I read the article. It’s interesting coming from Jimmy, because he is one the biggest sledgers in the game.

“Back in 2010-11 when I first started and wasn’t any good, he got stuck into me then.”

Who should be in England’s team for the second Ashes Test? Choose your XI and share it with friends.

Can’t see this selector? Visit this page.

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.