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Rupert Wyman 30th Nov 2010 - 18:28

The Ashes - 2nd Test preview

The Ashes moves to Adelaide for the 2nd Test of the series this Thursday evening and following the draw in Brisbane all eyes will be on the wicket at to see if another tough match for the bowlers is on the cards.

The Adelaide Oval is usually a good pitch for batsman and that reflects in the Draw price, it's currently Even money that there will be another stalemate. There is little to choose between the two teams win prices - Australia 9/4, England 5/2.

Groundsman Damien Hough expects a 'tradional Adelaide pitch' but with heavy showers forecast for today and tomorrow in the weather could yet intervene and produce a more bowler friendly track which would make a positive result more likely.

"A traditional Adelaide Oval pitch would suggest as the game wears on and we are getting into day four and five, that there will be something in it for the spinners definitely," Hough said on Tuesday.

"And we are getting some hotter weather towards the end of the game, so you would expect there to be some unpredictable bounce, that is for sure."

Whilst there are likely to be big scores in the first innings I wouldn't be too keen to pile into the draw, there have been eight positive results in the last ten years at the ground.

With the possibility of a spinner friendly wicket in the later stages that would be good news for England. Graeme Swann didn't find much turn in Brisbane but if England can build a big score to put pressure on the Australians he could come into his own in the later stages.

Personally, I would back Swann to be man of the match in each of the four remaining test matches. He's a match winner and if he gets it right I expect him to be awarded the prize at least once in the series which would provide a profitable return on your stake. He is 8/1 in this match.

If you want to back England but you're worried about the draw why not try the 'Draw no bet' market at 10/11. This means if England win you get paid as a winner, if it's a draw you get your stake back, with only one result, an Australian winner being against you. On the same market you can back Australia at 4/5.

England will be the happier of the two teams going to the Oval having fought back from a 220 run first innings deficit in Brisbane. They will however need to improve their first innings batting performance if they're to put Australia under pressure and start winning, rather than saving the game in the 2nd knock.  England are Evens to gain a first innings lead, Australia 4/5.

Ian Bell only batted once in the game but he looked at the top of his game and I would back him to be top scorer in England's first innings at 11/2. For the Aussies Ricky Ponting looked at his best when scoring a quick fire 50 towards the end of the first test and I would back him to follow that up in the first innings in Adelaide, he's 10/3 to top score.

We have various match bets between different batsman and I think Ian Bell to outscore Paul Collingwood at 4/6 looks great value. Collingwood looked unconvincing in Brisbane and Bell gets better with every match.

Kevin Pietersen looked in good touch, reaching his half-century before getting out, he will want to capitalise with a big score this time around, he's 4/1 to hit a century.

England will be unchanged but the Australians have called in bowling reinforcements in the shape of Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger.  Bollinger is 3/1 to be the top first innings wicket taker with Harris 7/2.

Mitchell Johnson was worse than ordinary at Brisbane with both bat and ball and he could be the one to make way. If he remains in the team he will have to improve greatly if he's to inspire Australia to a win, he's 16/1 to win the man of the match award.

Overall I find it hard to imagine England losing against this Australian team at the moment and the momentum is with the visitors. There is uncertainty over the wicket though and I would recommend a bet on England (draw no bet) at 10/11. Ian Bell to top score (11/2) and Graeme Swann for the man of the match award at 8/1.

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