John Harms Adelaide Analysis

With a little cash in the pocket from the last race of the Spring Carnival (go the No.9) we go to the home of Cabernet (and shiraz), South Australia, for the Second Test between the Australians and South Africa. It promises a lot, including the drinking of good beer and wine and evenings in the wonderful dining establishments of North Adelaide.

The weather forecast is fantastic: five fine days with the temperature rising over the course of the match and reaching baking numbers by Sunday. That all says runs, runs, runs – just like Brisbane.

The Gabba was a get-in wicket. Batsmen were vulnerable early but once they were settled they were very hard to dismiss. Hence the big individual totals, and the draw. The conditions at the Adelaide Oval will be quite similar. I can see Hashim Amla very settled at the crease and playing an array of shots. The Australian quicks will need to bowl with sustained aggression (not just lippy aggression) if they are to trouble the South Africans, and will rely on early breakthroughs to create any pressure. Good luck.

Equally I can see the Australian middle order on the attack on the shiny-white Adelaide Oval strip.

I reckon the TattsBet bookies have the market pretty right in installing Amla and Michael Clarke respective favourites for most runs in their team’s innings. This is Clarke’s wicket.

As for the result of the match, the draw is definitely favourite.

The new factor in Adelaide, when compared with Brisbane, will be the wear. I don’t think Nathan Lyon will bowl a huge number of first innings overs on his homeground; he knows only too well the track will be too flat for him. However he will be thrown the ball (as G. Swann was a couple of years ago) for long spells late in the game.

Leg spinner Imran Tahir must play for South Africa. Especially given that Jacques Kallis is there if need be, although there are some creaks in his 37 year old body. Tahir will have an impact with his bounce and energy. He’ll trouble the tail.

If there are good runs scored in the first innings both spinners will have moments where they can bowl aggressively and without concern. This suits Lyon who didn’t mind the South Africans going after him in Brisbane – although his skipper did. I thought he deserved a few more early overs after he was lifted into the hoardings.

What the First Test lacked was periods of intensity; periods where bowlers worked hard to gain the slightest advantage. There were good reasons for that, a significant one being that moments of success were instantly deflated by the retrospective call of no-ball. Who knows how the momentum of the Test would have careered had the bowlers planted their Size 13s behind the line.

The draw, here, is a very good starting bet, with a saver on South Africa at the same time. Leave the Australians alone. Wait for them to be long odds and walk in for a quiet nibble at the Welly up the hill in North Adelaide. The Australians will not win this Test match, and they will be a good price to win it somewhere along the way. That’s when you pounce and even if your strategy doesn’t put you on a yacht off Goolwa you will at least be able to say you’ve beaten the damn bookies.

Value: M. Clarke to score most runs for Australia in the first dig.