Preview: England look to level Ashes

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England captain Alastair Cook has refused to reveal his team for the second Ashes Test of the series which gets underway at the Adelaide Oval at midnight, as the tourist’s look to fight back from a nightmare start to the series.

The holders of the famous urn are 1-0 down in the five game series and are without experienced batsman Jonathan Trott who flew home the day after the first Test due to a stress-related illness.

That leaves question marks around the set-up of the England side with either Joe Root or Ian Bell likely to be promoted to number three which would leave the number six position vacant.

Yorkshire left-hander Gary Ballance appears to be favourite to make his Test Match debut while Jonathan Barisrtow is also in the mix with all-rounder Ben Stokes who is also untested at this level.

Meanwhile, there is positive news for another Yorkshireman in Tim Bresnan with the bowling all-rounder likely to replace Chris Tremlett in Andy Flower’s XI. Bresnan has not featured for his country since the fourth Ashes Test of the summer but has worked tirelessly to recover from a stress fracture to his lower back to be fit for this winter.

Tremlett did take four wickets in the two innings at the Gabba but was down on pace from his last trip to Australia in 2010/11 and England would benefit hugely from Bresnan’s batting ability. The 28-year-old is likely to bat behind Matt Prior in the line-up with his impressive average of 30 adding much needed stability after a fragile batting display in Brisbane.

Australia are going into the Test in sharp contrast to their opponents having won the opener by 381 runs and have already named an unchanged side for the clash in South Australia.

Mitchell Johnson will be looking to pick up where he left off in the first Test, having taken nine wickets in a man of the match performance while David Warner and captain Michael Clarke hit centuries as the hosts dominated.

A bullish Clarke revealed at his pre-match press conference that his team will be unchanged while he has continued to pick the England team in a Jose Mourinho style statement. He believes Root will jump to number three in the batting line-up while Ballance will debut at six and Bresnan to replace Tremlett.

England skipper Cook was much more reserved and he told the press he is confident leading into the second Test.

“We're clear in our own mind,” he admitted when asked on team selection.

"When you lose a player of Trotty's experience, it's impossible to fill straight away with a new guy starting his career or a guy with a lot fewer Test matches.

"The senior guys have always got to stand up and deliver. Most of the time, you look at a lot of the Test victories or good wins, it's the senior players who lead it.

"These 10 days we've had off, we've been making sure we've been putting things in place, had some good meetings about it.

"But there's no point talking about a good game. We have to make sure we deliver a good game."

In terms of the availability of Bresnan, Cook is positive after he came through a tough work out for the England Lions.

"He's fully fit. He's come back amazingly well from his injury in his back.

"He played that last game for the EPP, and came through that totally unscathed. He's ready and available for selection.

"One of his great skills is he does bowl a lot of overs in Test matches. He's done that in the past.”

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The Ashes
England cricket
Australia cricket

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