Australia won the second Test by 120 runs. Next up is Perth, where England have won only once and the venue that least suits their bowling attack and most suits Australia’s. For the 6th time in their last 8 Ashes trips to Australia, England are 2-0 down after 2 Tests.
England have had opportunities in both tests but have fallen short in two main areas. Their bowling attack is “samey” and lacks the express pace to trouble Australia. Having chosen to bowl on winning the toss in Adelaide the bowlers missed their opportunity and it wasn’t until the latter half of the first day and then particularly in the second innings that they began to have an impact by which time it proved too late.
Secondly England’s batsmen have not capitalized on their starts, which has been crucial for a line up with weaknesses. England have had 16 individual innings over 25 in first two tests. Their average for those inningsover-25 is just 46.4. That is currently their lowest average for innings-over-25 in any Test series since 1888.
Looking further back England’s batsmen this year have 33 innings of 50 or more, but only 5 centuries. Counting the 80 years in which England have made at least 15 half-centuries, their 15.1% conversion rate in 2017 is currently the worst they have ever had.
Joe Root has now passed fifty 47 times in Test cricket but he has only converted 13 of them into hundreds – the worst conversion rate of any batsman in the top 10 of the ICC Test Batting Rankings
Compare this to Steve Smith’s 140 in Brisbane and Shaun Marsh’s 125 in Adelaide, both starts converted into big innings which allied with the threat offered by Starc/Hazelwood and Cummins with the ball at various stages has accounted for the difference between the two teams.
England need a solution to their Moeen Ali problem too they can’t afford any passengers at the WACA and he is probably batting a spot too high at 6 (the crucial absence of Ben Stokes accounts for that) and his injury makes him a less than effective stock bowler
On the hard bouncy Perth pitch at the WACA for the last test match there until the matches move to the new Perth Stadium England are up against it. I do think the teams are closely matched in ability but England are not making the most of situations presented to them. It would be a big surprise if they withstood the Australian fast bowling attack at Perth, this is one of the games that observer would have inked in for Australia even before watching the first two tests.
Odds are Australia 8/15, England 7/2 and the draw 9/2. Even at that cramped price, Australia should bring home the victory and win the Ashes. England are likely to win a consolation test at Melbourne or Sydney but the damage has been done,