Australia's pink-ball monsters and the seven deadly stats ahead of the Adelaide Test

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Mitchell Starc is the highest wicket-taker with the pink ball in first-class cricket.

As the Ashes party moves on to Adelaide for the second Test, Joe Root’s men have their work cut out after their 10-wicket demolition in Brisbane.

As Adelaide prepares for the first ever day-night Ashes Test, we look at the seven deadly stats.

ENGLAND’S CHANCES WHEN TRAILING 1-0 DOWN UNDER

Only twice in their history have England overturned a 1-0 deficit in Australia to claim the Ashes. As such, Root’s men will be playing against history when re-start their quest to retain the urn.

BATSMEN’S PARADISE

Since 2000, the average first-innings score at the Adelaide Oval is a whopping 430 runs. Dangerously for England, Australia’s top order loves to bat at the venue. Captain Steve Smith might average an insane 61.23 runs over the course of his career but is a far greater beast at Adelaide with a whopping average of 81.80 in four Tests. Similarly, deputy skipper David Warner averages almost 60 at the Oval compared to his overall average of 48.48.

The likes of Warner and Smith have a much higher average at Adelaide.

The likes of Warner and Smith have a much higher average at Adelaide.

AUSTRALIA’S DAY-NIGHT DOMINATION

Since the inception of day-night Tests by the ICC in 2015, Australia have played the most: three – winning each of those contests. Interestingly, two of those coming at the Adelaide Oval.

England have a 100 percent win-record with the pink ball themselves, though, despite only playing one Test against West Indies.

AUSTRALIA’S PINK BALL MONSTERS

Two of the leading wicket-takers with the pink ball in first-class cricket will be on show at the Adelaide Oval under lights. That they both belong to Australia will not comfort the English.

Mitchell Starc is the highest wicket-taker in day-night first-class games with 42 wickets at an average of just 17.90. The second-highest wicket taker is his new ball partner Josh Hazelwood with 33 wickets at an average of 18.30.

ALASTAIR COOK’S PINK-BALL DOMINANCE

While England might have played only one day-night Test before they arrived at Adelaide, Cook hit a mammoth 243-run knock against the West Indies in his sole international pink-ball innings.

He has faced the pink-ball under lights on one other occasion where he hit a 193 for Essex in a first-class game. While he has been struggling of late, the day-night Test at Adelaide might just provide him the perfect chance to get back in the groove.

Cook scored 243 in his only pink-ball innings in international cricket.

Cook scored 243 in his only pink-ball innings in international cricket.

ENGLAND’S NOT SO BAD RECORD AT ADELAIDE

Of the 31 Tests England have played at the Adelaide Oval, they have managed to come out as the winning side in no less than nine matches. Their latest victory at the venue came in the 2010-11 Ashes where they recorded a famous win by an innings and 71 runs.

While the Gabba was a complete fortress, there are chinks in the Adelaide armour which England could look to exploit.

STEVE SMITH’S BATTING LANDMARKS

After his dogged century at Brisbane, the Australian skipper has seen his average rise to a massive 61.23. In the latest ICC rankings for Test batsmen, Smith maintained top spot while reaching a career-high rating of 961 points. Only four other batsmen – Sir Don Bradman, Jack Hobbs, Ricky Ponting and Len Hutton – have had a higher rating in the history of the game.

Smith continues to create new batting landmarks.

Smith continues to create new batting landmarks.

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Craig Overton in line for England debut and other talking points ahead of maiden day-night Ashes Test

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Overton has been added to England's squad for Adelaide.

After being handed a 10-wicket defeat in the opening Test at Brisbane, England will hope for a better outcome as the Ashes comes to the Adelaide Oval for the second Test starting on Saturday.

Brimming with confidence from their victory at the Gabba, Australia have named an unchanged XI for Adelaide while England are yet to confirm their line-up.

With hostility between the two sides increasing with each passing day, we look at the key talking points ahead of the Adelaide Test.

FIRST DAY-NIGHT ASHES AFFAIR

The Adelaide game will be the 330th Ashes Test to be held since its origins all the way back in 1882. It will also be the first in the history of the series to be a day-night affair played with a pink ball.

Steve Smith’s men will be feeling even more confident given that they have already played three day-night Test matches since its introduction and managed to win all three. That two of those victories have come at Adelaide will be another psychological boost for the hosts.

England on the other hand have played only one solitary day-night Test so far against the West Indies earlier this August.

Australia have won both the day-night Tests it has played at Adelaide.

Australia have won both the day-night Tests it has played at Adelaide.

CRAIG OVERTON IN LINE FOR ENGLAND DEBUT?

England have announced the addition of Craig Overton to their playing XI from Brisbane as the 12-man squad for the Adelaide Test. With pacer Jack Ball failing to impress in the opener at the Gabba, Joe Root could very well opt for 23-year-old medium pacer Overton come Saturday.

The right-armed bowler has excelled for Somerset in the County Championship, with 192 wickets in 62 first-class games so far being testament to his development.

His twin brother Jamie, who also plays for Somerset, will sure be hoping that his brother can get his maiden England cap in Adelaide.

Overton has excelled for Somerset this season.

Overton has excelled for Somerset this season.

THE ASHES GETTING FEISTY

An Ashes without some drama is a mythical proposition. Australia’s Nathan Lyon had stoked the fire early into the series with his comments about wanting to ‘end careers’. If that was not enough to get the banter started, Cameron Bancroft’s revelation of the Jonny Bairstow ‘head-butt’ incident before the start of the series has sure got the tongues rolling.

England’s pace spearhead compared the Aussies to bullies for their sledging of Bairstow at Brisbane while skipper Joe Root took umbrage to opposing counterpart Steve Smith’s laughter at Bancroft’s description of the incident.

Smith has retorted with claims about Anderson being a sledge-master himself while brushing away Root’s criticism as unwarranted. With just one Test down and four more to go, this Ashes could well get a little too hot to handle in the coming days.

Anderson likened Australia's behaviour to that of 'bullies'.

Anderson likened Australia’s behaviour to that of ‘bullies’.

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India's opening combination headaches and other talking points ahead of the final Test against Sri Lanka

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India have three in-form openers avaialable for the Delhi Test.

With a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, hosts India will be looking to clinch the trophy in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at New Delhi starting on Saturday.

The visitors on the other hand will be aiming to cap off a dismal calendar year with a positive performance before the attentions are turned towards the limited-overs matches.

As the two sides get ready to battle it out at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, we look at the key talking points ahead of the match.

RANGANA HERATH’S LOSS A BIG BLOW FOR ISLANDERS

The news of Sri Lanka’s veteran spinner Rangana Herath being passed unfit for the Delhi Test due to a back injury will be a big blow to Dinesh Chandimal’s men.

With a relatively inexperienced squad compared to that of the hosts, the absence of the 87-Test veteran will be greatly felt by the visitors. The 39-year-old had also played a handy knock of 67 in the Kolkata Test to hand Sri Lanka a first-innings lead.

The alternatives for the islanders are two wrist spinners in Lakshan Sandakan and Jeffrey Vandersay. While the latter is uncapped at the Test level, the former has only played seven matches in his career to date.

Herath's absence will be greatly felt by the visitors.

Herath’s absence will be greatly felt by the visitors.

INDIA’S FINAL TEST HURRAH BEFORE THE TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA

With a hotly anticipated tour of South Africa coming up for the Indians at the end of the year, skipper Virat Kohli has talked about using the Sri Lanka series as a platform to prepare for the visit.

An Eden Gardens pitch laden with a green-top was laid out in the first Test to simulate conditions in South Africa. A similar surface was prepared in Nagpur for the second Test though the pitch deteriorated quickly to become a spinner’s paradise.

While Delhi has traditionally been a slower surface aiding the spinners, Kohli’s demand for green tops could mean a different kind of pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla than we have become accustomed to.

The Indian selectors have deferred the selection for the tour of South Africa until the culmination of the Delhi Test and as such, loads of players will be looking to make an impact.

Delhi will be India's final chance to get it right before the South Africa tour.

Delhi will be India’s final chance to get it right before the South Africa tour.

INDIA’S OPENING COMBINATION

With three openers in prime form, Virat Kohli and the Indian team management will have a tough decision to make when the team sheet is announced on Saturday. With Murali Vijay marking his return from an injury lay-off with a masterful century in Nagpur, it is expected that the Tamil Nadu batsman will keep his place in the playing XI.

This leaves one spot between the returning Shikhar Dhawan and in-form KL Rahul. While in the past, injuries to one opener or the other meant squad selection wasn’t a headache, a trio of fit and firing openers has opened up a debate as to who deserves the slot in the playing XI.

It will be difficult to drop KL Rahul to make space for the returning Dhawan.

It will be difficult to drop KL Rahul to make space for the returning Dhawan.

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