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Don't write off England against Australia, warns Blewett

Greg Blewett, who played 46 Tests for Australia, talked up England's chances heading into the second Ashes match in Adelaide.

29 Nov 2017, 09:59 IST
England bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad

They are coming off a comprehensive defeat but former Australia batsman Greg Blewett says do not underestimate England, warning the Ashes holders are perfectly suited to the conditions for the day-night Test in Adelaide.

Joe Root's England are in Adelaide for the second Ashes Test, starting Saturday, following their forgettable 10-wicket rout to Australia in Brisbane on Monday.

The Gabba match had promised so much for England, who won the toss and made an impressive start thanks to Mark Stoneman and James Vince but a batting collapse and Steve Smith's gritty century wrestled momentum away from the visitors as Australia eventually eased to victory.

England have also been forced to field questions about Jonny Bairstow over his alleged headbutt on Australia's Cameron Bancroft before the Ashes started, while uncertainty over star all-rounder Ben Stokes' participation in the series continues to dominate headlines.

Attention now turns to Adelaide, where Australia are unbeaten with the pink ball in two previous appearances against New Zealand (2015) and South Africa (2016).

But Blewett – who now works as a high-performance coach for the South Australian Cricket Association following 46 Tests, 2,552 runs and four hundreds for Australia – insists England should not be written off.

"If it is a bit of a nibbler and a bit slower, generally speaking, England batsmen handle those conditions better than Australians," Blewett told Omnisport. "They tend to play the ball a bit later than our guys do. If it is like that, their batsmen won't mind that. Then it will be up to the Australian players to adapt their game a little bit.

"We've seen scores in the last couple of years of 200-250, that's proven to be a par score. Our attack will like bowling in those conditions as well. It's more about how batsmen adapt.

"Momentum going into this game is all with Australia. They finished off dominating England in the first Test. So they will be coming into this Test full of confidence.

"But I wouldn't write off England. If there's a Test match that's going to suit England, I think it's going to be this one under lights."

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has talked up the pace of the Adelaide wicket leading into the Test, warning England to brace themselves for the fastest pitch in the country under lights against his frontline attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

However, Blewett – who works closely with South Australia at Sheffield Shield level – believes the wicket has proven to be unpredictable this year as the likes of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Jake Ball look to level the series against the Aussies.

"If it is quick, that would be good. The last pitch we played was quicker but the first one we played against New South Wales wasn't quick at all," added the 46-year-old.

"It does change a little bit from game to game. If the pitch is quick, it really suits our quick bowlers. If it's not and the pink ball swings around, it will probably play into England's hands.

"It's different sort of tactics being a day-night Test. You might see declarations you wouldn't normally see. I think everyone wants to bowl with a brand new ball once the lights come on.

"The batsmen really have to earn their runs in this Test match. It has been difficult to drive on Adelaide recently. If the bowlers bowl well, the batters have some work to do. It is a grind. Australia have played a couple of Test matches in Adelaide now so that helps."

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