Australia v England
Start time: 00.00GMT (Wednesday night)
TV: live on Sky Sports 2
The Aussies cannot recall a more serene break between Test matches. They have nothing to worry about, nothing to tinker with or change. The 381-run brutalising in Brisbane has given them confidence again to behave like, well, Australians. Brash and ballsy they are at their best on top. Indeed, they have revelled in watching their media do the work for them since the last wicket was taken. It is important to note the siege mentality which could be creeping into the England camp with everyone they came across against them. What was crucial in Brisbane was the little time their bowlers needed to raze England. The best way of keeping Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle is to keep them off the field for as long as possible.
England have been brave. Some may say foolish. Instead of bringing in a a batsman to replace Jonathan Trott, they have opted for Ben Stokes. And in another surprise, Monty Panesar has been recalled in place of Chris Tremlett. Tim Bresnan had looked a certain starter after recovering from a back problem but the management obviously doubt he is 100 per cent. Stokes, who is yet to play a Test, is a huge gamble and Australia will be rubbing their hands with glee. But what to make of the exclusion of not just Tremlett, but Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin? They appear to be passengers and one is beginning to wonder what on earth they are doing there.
Much talk this week about the drop-in pitch at the revamped Adelaide Oval. It is supposed to be slow, low and flat. So despite the new stands, there is no change. Historically Adelaide is a batting paradise. The average score in the last 10 Tests is a massive 473. So going more than 350 in the first dig, whoever bats first, is a confident selection. The lowest total during the study period was Australia's 245 versus England in 2010.
We like England. We are not going to abandon them. But here's a thought. What if Australia bat first and post 400 or more? What sort of pressure will England be under? An intolerable amount. So we have to retain faith England's mental toughness, of which there can be no doubt considering their record from recovering from dreadful performances in the first Test of a series. Back they have come against New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa in the last three years. Only against Pakistan in that period have they not recovered to avoid a series defeat. If historical stats are not for you, then consider that, man for man, England still have the best XI. That counts for a lot, certainly enough to ensure punters do not abandon them after one poor game. Indeed, if one changed one's opinion every time after such a result in this wonderful sport, then none of us would make any money. The loss of Trott could be viewed as a good thing because it means England have one less problem to solve. Trickier is to get the players to believe in their superiority again. That will be tested if they bowl first in Adelaide. At 4.1 England have not been as big for yonks. Australia are 2.6613/8. We expect the draw, at 2.608/5, to shorten quite considerably, but do bear in mind that Adelaide is a result pitch. There have been only three draws in the last ten.
Top Australia runscorer
Michael Clarke hit 230 against South Africa on his last outing in Adelaide. David Warner weighed in with 119. Clarke averages 100 at the venue and goes off at 4.47/2. Warner is 5.85/1. Brad Haddin, who impressed at the Gabba, averages 122 and is 13.5.
Top England runscorer
Kevin Pietersen hit 227 on England's last visit and Alastair Cook 148. They are 5.04/1 and 4.77/2 respectively. Ian Bell, who should go well on such a placid surface, is 5.805/1. Joe Root is 7.4013/2.
350 or more first-innings runs at 1.910/11 or better