What England’s First Warm Up Game Told Us About Their Ashes Hopes
One game, one victory so far for England on their tour Down Under. The Ashes are just around the corner and both the ECB and the bookies are keeping a very close eye on the warm ups.
The Three Lions got the job done in Adelaide against a Cricket Australia XI, winning in the end by 192 runs. But it was a far from convincing display.
The Aussies are currently favourite to win the Ashes with the hosts at 2 / 5 with Skybet and 8/1 for a 5-0 whitewash. And following the first warm up, even the hardiest of England fans might fancy it!
So, what did we learn from the four days in South Australia?
Problems in the Top Order?
Former captain Alastair Cook isn’t in the form of his life at the moment and looked a little rusty in his first two innings of the tour.
The Essex man will be heavily relied upon to get runs this winter but made just 47 in the opener and even Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann has noticed a little rust with the bat.
With Cook’s opening partner still open for debate ahead of the first test it could leave England’s batting vulnerable.
Cook is 13/2 in the Ashes Top Runscorer odds and if his form continues, those odds could start to shift dramatically.
An Injury Crisis
Ever since the incident with Ben Stokes things have just gone from bad to worse for Trevor Bayliss’ men.
First Stokes’ replacement Steven Finn pulled out of the tour with an injury and his replacement, Jake Ball also gave selectors a scare during the warm up.
Ball strained ligaments in his ankle in Adelaide, with England taking no chances and calling up Sussex left-armer George Garton as a potential replacement.
Tests have since shown Ball should be fit for the Ashes First Test on November 23, but it’s a further worry on an already injury depleted squad.
Moeen Ali has also been struggling with injury ahead of the tour but is expected to feature in the final warm up game in a few days time.
Elsewhere Finn is also joined by fellow bowlers Mark Wood and Toby Rowland-Jones who haven’t made the squad due to fitness.
What this essentially means is a very inexperienced and depleted Ashes squad. Can they take the hostility of the Aussie crowds?
Woakes Is Looking Devastating
Lehmann and the Aussie boys will have sat up and taken note of Chris Woakes’ devastating spell in Adelaide and will be wary of what he can do as the series approaches.
Woakes claimed four for 17 in 10 overs and the visitors will be hoping he can fill the void left by Stokes with both bat and ball.
James Anderson has been very complimentary of the Warwickshire man and his 33 with the bat in the first innings won’t have gone unnoticed either.
The 28-year-old is 9/1 with Ladbrokes to be top wicket taker in the series, and will of coursehave more of a supporting role to the talismanic Anderson and Stuart Broad, but he really could have a pivotal role for the tourists.