No end to Ashes war as Clarke predicts England team again
Root at three, Ballance into the side and Bresnan to replace Tremlett, says Aussie skipper
PERHAPS buoyed by Australia's triumph in the first Ashes Test, Michael Clarke has repeated his trick of second-guessing the tourists and predicting the team that will face Australia in the second Test at Adelaide starting tonight.
According to Clarke, England will make three changes for the crucial game. He told reporters they would select Joe Root to bat at three in place of the departed Jonathan Trott. Replacing Root further down the order at six will be fellow Yorkshireman Gary Ballance and, according to the Australian, another Tyke, Tim Bresnan, will come into the side in place of Chris Tremlett.
Clarke's second prediction, after his first effort was deemed to have overstepped the mark, could prove controversial, and could set the tone for another bad-tempered match. It came as England captain Alastair Cook admitted that some players went "over the top" during the acrimonious first Test in Brisbane and called for both sides to improve their conduct.
However, the Australian captain could claim that he had been goaded into the his prediction by the local media, says the Daily Telegraph.
"Clarke annoyed England before the first Ashes Test when he confidently named the team they would pick at the Gabba," says the paper. "He knew that comment had perhaps broken an unwritten code between two international captains and was at first reluctant to upset England when initially asked to predict their team in Adelaide."
He soon relaxed and made the predictions concerning Root, Ballance and Bresnan, adds the Telegraph.
Another Australian who enjoys making predictions is former fast bowler Glenn McGrath, and he is back to his old tricks in The Guardian, reminding England that the second Test was make-or-break.
"England have no choice – they have to bounce back," he warns. "If they lose in Adelaide then this series is over. This is a huge Test for them. If they lose this one, potentially they could go on to lose 5-0."
England skipper Cook is aware of the size of the challenge and has spent the last few days galvanising his troops, says The Times. The paper notes that Cook managed to turn things round in India earlier this year after England lost the first Test there. On that occasion he inspired a recovery and led England to their first series win in India since 1985.
Something similar is needed now. "Given the scale of the defeat in the first Test against Australia at the Gabba, the ensuing uncertainties after Jonathan Trott's return home and the level of abuse flying England’s way from the Australian media, turning around the present situation would be a greater achievement," says the paper. ·