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Ashes 2013/14: England cannot afford a first-innings deficit in Adelaide

Tourists must bat a lot better than in the last 12 months and get at least level with Aussies...

Australia can crank up the pressure on England's batsmen by posting an imposing total on day two of the second Test in Adelaide, says Alec Stewart.

The hosts, who won the first Test by 381 runs, closed day one on 273-5 with skipper Michael Clarke still at the crease on 48 after choosing to bat first.

Former England wicketkeeper Stewart says England can't afford to let their opposition score cheap runs when play resumes and then must produce a dramatically-improved first innings batting display to dent Australia's hopes of regaining the urn.

"First of all England have got to get the next five wickets and Australia have got a pretty long tail, to be honest," Stewart told The Ashes Breakfast. "Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris can bat and we saw Mitchell Johnson play well at the Gabba.

"The target should be 350 but England can't go hunting for those wickets because you'll give too many runs away. They'll have to settle for 400 but when England get in, they've got to stay in.

"From an Australian point of view, their scorecard is a bad one - three people have passed fifty but not one of them has gone on to get a hundred, although Michael Clarke (48no) is not out. From that point of view, Australia have let themselves down.

"Is the pitch going to turn more? It will be interesting to see because certain drop-in pitches will spin on day one but don't seem to spin any more. This one may be different, but we'll find out.


Stewart, who played in seven Ashes series between 1990 and 2003, added: "It looked like a day two or day three pitch by the end of day one; it's very dry - drier than normal. It's the first Test that has been played on this drop-in surface, so we're unsure how it is going to play on days two to five.

"But it was a good toss to win and Michael Clarke would have been very, very happy when Cook called wrong and now Australia have got to make sure that they rack as many runs up in the first innings as they can to put pressure back on England.

"England haven't posted 400 now for 17 innings. They've got to get at least level with Australia, whatever they get.

"England have got to bat a lot better than we've seen from them in the last 12 months. If they do that in the first innings, it then becomes a one-innings game, in innings three and four.


England made two changes to the side beaten in Brisbane, handing Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes his Test debut and opting for a second spinner in Monty Panesar instead of Tim Bresnan, who was fit to play.

Stewart agreed with the team selection, saying: "If it had been a flat, flat pitch then I think we would have seen Bresnan play because he can reverse-swing the ball and Gary Ballance would have come in at six on debut.

"But once you play Panesar because the pitch is going to spin - and we've seen it spin - you then have to match it up to get that fifth bowler in.

"That's where Ben Stokes, who has done very well for Durham, has earned a right to play. It's a big moment when you get your first Test cap and he got it from Andrew Strauss. Now he has got to back it up with both bat and ball."


England missed several chances to improve their position - Monty Panesar dropping George Bailey early in his innings and Joe Root failing to hold a tough opportunity offered by Michael Clarke. Worse followed as Michael Carberry shelled a simple chance offered by Brad Haddin just before stumps.

Stewart was far from impressed, saying: "The three chances that went down should have been caught. Monty Panesar is not renowned for his fielding and his catching; that was a regulation spinner's caught and bowled.

"Root's chance was the hardest of the ones that went down; yes, it was hit with good pace by Michael Clarke but this is international cricket and Root would want to catch that seven times out of 10.

"Michael Carberry is a fine athlete but that [drop] was a shocker. It was the second-to-last over of the day. Was it [poor] concentration? Was the ball spinning that little bit more because of the angle that the ball came to him at? We've all dropped catches like that but he'll want to forget that pretty quickly."

Watch highlights On Demand from 6.30pm, then catch The Ashes Verdict from 9pm and The Ashes Extra from 11pm on the same channel ahead of live coverage of day two from 11.30pm.