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Adelaide build-up

Everything you need to know ahead of the second Ashes Test

Kevin Pietersen: Has fond memories of Adelaide - and England need him to perform

So much for easing into a series. Australia and England got involved in a real battle in Brisbane, and at one stage it seemed things were set to spill over.

Victory for Michael Clarke's side - achieved with a day to spare despite the odd interruption for rain - has set the series up superbly, and now both sides will be desperate for success in Adelaide.

One thing is for sure, the pace of the game won't be quite the same as it was at the Gabba. Even though it is now a drop-in pitch, the venue for the second Test is likely to lead to a game of patience as batsmen look to fill their boots.

England seemingly need all the help they can get right now, too. They have not surpassed 400 in a first innings since the tour of New Zealand back in March and their once rock-solid line-up has been hit by the loss of Jonathan Trott.

The Warwickshire right-hander's departure means either Ian Bell or Joe Root will move up to No 3, with a new name coming in at six.

Jonny Bairstow is the most experienced candidate, while selecting all-rounder Ben Stokes would boost England's bowling options. However, Gary Ballance has emerged as a strong contender, particularly after the Zimbabwe-born left-hander scored runs in the drawn two-day tour fixture at Alice Springs.

The tourists could also opt to recall the fit-again Tim Bresnan, an option that would lengthen their batting.

Australia, meanwhile, look certain to be unchanged - after all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Captain Michael Clarke twisted his ankle and sat out practice on Tuesday, but the hosts quickly allayed any fears about his fitness.

While the beautiful setting in Adelaide may not quite give us the fireworks of the first Test, underestimate this slow burner at your peril...

Fighting fit

Clarke doesn't expect to see Panesar

Injury issues had threatened to lessen England's selection dilemma, but captain Alastair Cook confirmed on the eve of the contest that both Bell and Bresnan will be available for selection. Bresnan has recovered from a long lay-off due to a stress fracture of the back, while Bell has no lasting damage from being hit on the shoulder taking throw-downs in the Adelaide Oval nets. "He's fine. It's just one of those places on the shoulder - it just goes dead for a few hours," Cook said of the Bell scare. Australia skipper Clarke may no longer be a selector for his own team, but he has cheekily predicted England's line-up, believing that Root will play at No 3, with Ballance making his Test debut in the middle order and Bresnan coming into the bowling attack.

Bresnan's back

Adelaide pitch report

Bresnan is ready to be thrown straight back into the Ashes cauldron in Adelaide. The 28-year-old missed the final match of the series in England during the summer due to a stress fracture of his lower back, but proved his fitness in action for the England Performance Programme in Brisbane last week. The Yorkshire seamer took four wickets against Queensland 2nd XI, while also showing his skills with the bat with a half-century. His all-round talents, plus his ability to get reverse swing, could see him selected in place of Chris Tremlett, who was the third seamer for the opening match in Brisbane. Whoever is picked to play alongside James Anderson and Stuart Broad, they can expect to find it tough going on a flat surface.

Decisions, decisions

Root - It doesn't matter where I play

Who to pick in the bowling attack is not the only selection issue for England heading into the second Test. Trott's return home due to a stress-related illness has left a sizeable void at No 3 in the order. The question is this - does Bell or Root move up? Both men have put their hands up to do the job, and batting coach Graham Gooch believes both can step up to plate, saying: "I'm not a believer (that) you've got to be very careful about looking after people in what number they bat". Root is certainly up for the challenge, though it's hard to ever remember a time when he wasn't smiling. Even Ryan Harris gave his thoughts on the position, declaring Australia want Bell to bat three so they can have a go at him early.

Sledging before Christmas

Lehmann - Trott off limits

It's fair to say the finish to the first Test didn't make great viewing. Clarke's comments to Anderson that were caught on the stump microphone ("get ready for a broken arm") grabbed plenty of media attention; the pair don't seem likely to be sending each other Christmas cards offering an apology. Anderson himself has since said he has no plans to tone down the verbal sparring and that he had "absolutely no problem" with anything that was said to him out in the middle at the Gabba. Australia coach Darren Lehmann, meanwhile, has warned his players to avoid the subject of Trott's departure but to continue to play a brand of cricket that is "quite hard". The key, it seems, is just to make sure what you say isn't broadcast on air!

The expert view

Wolf Blass Flipside 3: Aggressive Cricket

Nasser Hussain expects the batsmen to prosper - "for the first three days it's one of the flattest pitches in world cricket." The former England captain was in charge back in 2002 when Michael Vaughan made a superb 177 (he himself contributed 47) in a total of 342, but it wasn't enough in comparison to Australia's monumental 552 that included a Ricky Ponting ton. This time around, Nasser again expects bat to dominate ball and feels the toss could be crucial, particularly as England have found runs hard to come by of late. As for the line-up, Hussain expects Root to be pushed up the order, even if Bell is perhaps a natural No 3. He acknowledges Adelaide Tests can be a "long, hard slog", just like a day out with Bumble!

Venue guide

The Adelaide pitch

If Brisbane is a fortress for Australia, then perhaps Adelaide feels a little friendlier for the tourists. England have won nine Tests they have played at the redeveloped venue, which is the home of South Australia, including last time out in 2010. Australia drew with South Africa last year, while the previous season they thrashed India. The Sir Donald Bradman Stand and the Chappell Stands means Adelaide will look a little different to England fans this time around, though you can still just about see St Peter's Cathedral. The work is still not completely done, and eventually it will be a 50,000 capacity stadium used for more than just cricket, but it is still one of the most picturesque settings in the world game.

Last time

Ashes Moments 2010: Swann at Adelaide

England caught the hosts out in the first innings in 2010, dismissing them for 245. Ricky Ponting was certainly shocked to be run out by a direct hit from Trott, with Australia at one stage finding themselves 2-3 after just 13 deliveries. Cook continued on from the Gabba with a first-innings century, but it was Kevin Pietersen's double hundred that stole the show. His 227, made from just 308 balls, helped carry England to 620-5 before the declaration came. In the end they won by an innings just before the rain arrived on the final morning, erasing the memory of four years earlier when they had snatched defeat from the jaws of a draw after being caught like startled rabbits in the glow of Shane Warne's leg-spin.

Stay up or catch up

Role reversal for England

You can follow the action from Australia this winter in more ways than ever. Every ball will be screened live on Sky Sports 2 but you can also watch wherever you are on your mobile, laptop and selected tablet devices via Sky Go. The Sky Sports Ashes Events Centre - which is available on both PC and iPad - allows you to get a totally different take on each day's play, offering live scorecards, match stats and player profiles - plus you can build your own analysis just like the commentators with Hawkeye, wagon wheels and more! If you can't stay up all night then there are plenty of ways to catch up. Simply press the red button on your TV to see highlights throughout the day or you can log on for highlights on and on the Sky Sports iPad app. Wake up to The Ashes Breakfast every morning for extensive reaction to the night's action and our Verdict at Night show will provide in-depth analysis and discussion before The Ashes Extra - Live brings you all the build-up to the start of play.