Cricket Expert & Columnist
Strength in spades
England must show plenty of character and heart to take 20 wickets in Adelaide, says Nasser Hussain.
Last Updated: 30/11/10 6:14pm
England out-bowled Australia in the first Test; the question now is can either side take 20 wickets in Adelaide?
I've always said that it is far more preferable to go to Australia as a batsman than a bowler and without doubt there are some seriously tough times ahead for both attacks.
It helps to have a certain type of seam bowler in your armoury at Adelaide, as Matthew Hoggard showed four years ago when he plugged away to take 7-109 in Australia's first innings.
You need someone who can bowl stump-to-stump, who has a low arm action and skids it underneath the bat; it tends to be a sub-continent style of pitch so short, bouncy bowling isn't generally as effective as the ability to get it to reverse.
Strength of character - which Hoggard had in spades - and a big heart are equally important; you need to be able to bowl for a long time and be prepared for a lack of carry.
England's bowlers will have learnt a lot from the practice match here against Southern Australia, while five of the top six batsmen will remember all too clearly playing here in 06/07.
At the moment conditions aren't too bad for bowling; it's relatively cool by Australian standards and the forecast suggests we could have a couple of days of showers before it starts to get hot again.
England have been quite lucky so far; they haven't had to endure the heat levels you'd normally expect to find in Australia, and the bowlers will hope it stays that way.
So far England have adapted to conditions well but, had the boot been on the other foot, Australia might well have amassed 400-3 on those final two days in Brisbane so it's important to keep things in perspective.
James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn all bowled exceptionally well with the new ball, particularly on the second morning; they didn't have any luck but they kept going throughout the day which shows their fitness is exceptional.
Graeme Swann is still the key bowler for me even though, as we anticipated, he found the going hard in Brisbane.
Australia are good players of spin so this was never going to be a 40-wicket series for him but he is still more than capable of taking a five-wicket haul - and that might just be the difference between the sides.
If England can win the toss here and put a massive first-innings score then get into a position where Swann is bowling at the Aussies on a worn, last-day pitch he's got it in him to induce a collapse.
Things went so well for England in Brisbane that I can't see them adding to their attack in Adelaide. If they did go 1-0 down and therefore needed to beat Australia then they might consider a fifth bowler but only if that player is able to produce something completely different.
In contrast, Australia are a bit torn about who to select for this second Test.
They want to show faith in Mitchell Johnson and keep him in their side at No 8 for his batting as much as anything else otherwise they are going to have four No 11s after Brad Haddin.
Personally, I would give Johnson one last go if only because I don't like changing sides after just one Test. It shows a bit of panic.
He's had a poor few months and he might be the type of bowler who performs ok here in Adelaide - he might be able to skid it on a bit with that low arm of his.
Equally, Australia's selectors seem to be getting a little fed up with him which is why they've brought Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger - neither of whom is a No 8 - into the squad.
With Marcus North and Michael Clarke out of form it would be a big call to further weaken the batting in order to play a fifth bowler.
Xavier Doherty looked steady but he didn't strike me as a massive turner of the ball and I would back Swann to get more wickets than him every time.
Like England, Australia's bowlers will also be praying that their side bats first because back-to-back Tests means fatigue will be a factor. But nobody said Test cricket is easy.