England can't bank on the Adelaide twilight zone... Australia's bowlers will love the conditions too!

  • Second Ashes Test between Australia and England starts on Saturday?
  • Adelaide Oval encounter is the first-ever day-night Ashes Test match?
  • The ball will swing and seam more which will benefit both sets of bowlers?
  • Australia lead the five-Test series 1-0 following their 10-wicket win in Brisbane

My English friends have earmarked Adelaide as the Test that gives them the best chance of success. Certainly if England lose there then my prediction of 5-0 looks well on the way to being right.

The thing with Adelaide under lights is the groundsman has had to leave a bit of extra grass on the pitch to ensure the pink ball doesn’t get destroyed — and that means it will do a bit more for the English seamers.

In the twilight it does swing and seam and become really tough for the batsmen. That will bring both teams closer together and it means an average team have a chance of beating a good one.

Jimmy Anderson is expected to benefit from conditions at Adelaide
Stuart Broad gestures during day four of the first Test

Jimmy Anderson (left) and Stuart Broad are expected to benefit from conditions at Adelaide?

Jimmy Anderson, for one, will be in his element, Stuart Broad will get a bit of seam movement and if Chris Woakes will just pitch the ball up a little more — he was a fraction short in Brisbane — then he could be dangerous.

But before you get carried away, the conditions will offer just as much to Australia should they bowl at dusk and with them it will come with extra pace.

At least England can take heart from the fact that the first three days of the first Test were pretty much level-pegging, but there were key moments where Australia just took control. Consequently they ended up with a convincing win.

There were areas where England slipped up. For instance, Joe Root made a big mistake when he gave Anderson only three overs with the second new ball.

I can only assume Anderson had been hurt when he was struck on the shoulder while batting, even though England played that down because he was easily the biggest threat. Why take him out in that first innings so soon?

However, the conditions will offer just as much to Australia should they bowl at dusk

However, the conditions will offer just as much to Australia should they bowl at dusk

Pat Cummins shone in his debut Test as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the Ashes series?

Pat Cummins shone in his debut Test as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the Ashes series?

Anderson is such a class act, particularly with the new ball, that you simply have to use him as much as possible before the Kookaburra goes soft here. When Root took him off the ball was still hard but England didn’t make the most of it.

If Anderson had been kept on and ripped out Pat Cummins, who played a very good supporting role to his captain Steve Smith, then suddenly England could have had a 70-run lead. Instead they had a costly deficit.

It was as if Root had decided how many overs each bowler was going to get and didn’t adapt to the situations. That surprised me. It was like: ‘OK, you’ve had a bowl, now somebody else can have a go.’ He appeared to want all his fast bowlers to have the same number of overs.

Where Australia have a clear advantage is that their bowlers are not just quicker than England’s but they are all different from each other. I was hoping Mitchell Starc would swing the ball back into the right-hander because that’s when he is at his most dangerous, but he still got it through pretty well.

Josh Hazlewood is the most consistent in terms of his line and length but he wasn’t at his best in the first innings. Still, he is coming back from an injury and hit his straps straight away in England’s second innings.

Captain Joe Root (left) has to use Anderson (right) as much as possible with the new ball

Captain Joe Root (left) has to use Anderson (right) as much as possible with the new ball

And Cummins, on his home Test debut, was the pick of the Aussie attack in the first innings and got the batsmen jumping around on a slow deck.

The key to the whole Australian bowling performance was that Nathan Lyon bowled so well. In turn that allowed the fast bowlers to bowl well because the four-man attack was not over-worked. It meant Smith could rotate them.

It was perfect with Adelaide in mind and the way Australia bowled at England’s tail probably set the tone for the series.

They intimidated England and told them: ‘We’re going to make this as hard as possible for you to even survive.’

By contrast, England just stuck to the same plans against the Australian tail, pitched it up and were not intimidating at all. To have Australia seven down for 209 but then allow them to get 328 was another big factor in the outcome.

It turned for Lyon from day one and it was perfect for him that England have so many left-handers. It also helped the off-spinner that no England batsman really went after him.

Spinner Nathan Lyon was the key to the whole Australian bowling performance at The Gabba

Spinner Nathan Lyon was the key to the whole Australian bowling performance at The Gabba

By contrast, Moeen Ali under-performed. That cut on his finger didn’t make it easy but everyone expected a lot more after watching Lyon bowl to England.

It would have been nice to see England apply more pressure and play with a bit more intensity in that second innings to at least make Australia work hard for their win, but instead they just seemed to throw in the towel.

They went through the motions when they should have come out on that last morning with a lot of energy, buzzed around and at least taken two or three wickets.

That could have changed the tone going into Adelaide but after day four they had given up. Game over. It was pretty average from England to be honest.

There are problems off the pitch for England too. The Ben Stokes business means they can’t be seen to be doing anything wrong and even little things, like the Jonny Bairstow incident, become big ones.

England's Moeen Ali was unable to perform to the same level as his Australian counterpart

England's Moeen Ali was unable to perform to the same level as his Australian counterpart

There was almost certainly nothing in that thing with Cameron Bancroft but England should have been a little smarter, particularly on their first night in Australia.

If Australia play well in the second Test and win, it will be a long way back for England.

The Australian mentality is that, if we go behind, we can always fight back. We are never finished and are always confident we can win.

But it can be different for England and it’s something I noticed the first time I went there.

They are either the worst team in the world or the best, and they never seem to be anywhere in the middle.

They can’t start thinking like that now. If they start thinking they can’t compete here they will go downhill very quickly. And then I reckon another 5-0 really will be on the cards.

England's Stuart Broad as the team arrive at Adelaide Airport
James Anderson is seen leaving the airport ahead of the second Test

Broad (left) and Anderson (right) arrive at Adelaide Airport ahead of the second Test

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