Australian captain Michael Clarke has warned he expects England to come out “bigger and stronger” and to lay down a serious challenge to the hosts when the second Ashes Test begins in Adelaide on Thursday.
In his last public comments before the start of the Test, Clarke adopted an approach of measured confidence, as his Australian team looks to consolidate its stunning 381-run victory at the Gabba.
“I think you’ll see England coming out bigger and stronger and making a real challenge,” he said.
“I’m obviously excited by the way we played in Brisbane, but if you look at our results over the past four months, we have no reason to brag.
“We have a lot of work to do. Our celebration after Brisbane wasn’t quite like I’ve seen from Australian teams in the past.”
Clarke dismissed concerns about his ankle which he rolled at training earlier this week.
He batted in the nets before speaking to reporters, where he declared himself fit to play and announced that Australia will take an unchanged lineup into the Test, including James Faulkner as 12th man.
“The ankle feels fine, I think not training yesterday gave me an extra day to make me feel 100 per cent,” Clarke said.
Adelaide Oval has a reputation for producing batsman-friendly wickets – England made 5 (dec) for 620 in the corresponding Test three years ago.
But Clarke stopped short of predicting a river of runs over the next five days.
“You’ll see two very good bowling attacks, if there’s any two attacks that can find a way, it will be these two,” he said.
“Reverse swing will play a big part in the Test match, and I think spin will play a big part.”
The captain said he was happy with the balance in the Australian team heading into Adelaide, including a pace bowling attack that complemented each other’s strengths.
“I don’t think we’re trying to play like any team. We’re trying to do the best we can. We’re lucky in our squad at the moment, we’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience.”
Clarke initially declined to name a possible England side for Adelaide, but eventually gave his view, nominating Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance as the most likely players to come into the tourists’ XI from the Gabba lineup.
England will have at least one change, with number three Jonathan Trott flying home with a stress-related illness after the first Test.
“I don’t think they will play Monty Panesar, but it wouldn’t surprise me on that pitch out there,” Clarke said.
“Spin will play a big part, we’ve got a lot of right handers through our order. I think they’ll go for safety, they’ll go Bresnan, and I think they’ll go Ballance. Joe Root at three, Ballance at six.”
Following the controversy in Brisbane over the level of on-field aggression and sledging coming from the home side, Clarke was asked how his team could avoid crossing the line in Adelaide.
“The team that I walked into (as a young cricketer) was certainly aggressive,” Clarke said.
“By that I mean trying to move the game forward, not getting into domestics on the field.
“There are going to be times when you lose … but it’s about doing everything you can to win.”