Ashes 2015: ‘Underdog’ England hope Ali is fit for second Test
England, 7/4 chances with Coral to repeat their Ashes opening victory in the second Test against Australia at Lord’s, hope all-rounder Moeen Ali will be fit despite concerns over a side injury.
Worcestershire’s Ali took five wickets as the hosts beat the Aussies by 169 runs in Cardiff with a day to spare to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Yorkshire leg spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid will replace Ali if he cannot shrug the problem off.
The Lord’s wicket was favourable to his fellow off-spinner Graeme Swann in the previous Ashes series in England. Captain Alastair Cook continues to downplay his team’s chances, however.
“It’s nice being the underdog,” said Cook. “Australia are still favourites as they’ve only got to retain it, but [cricket is] not played on paper or potential.
“I feel we’ve made a right strides forward. The feel-good factor is back. Everyone is feeling positive and talking about it for right reasons. It’s rubbed off on the players.
“We’re looking to this week. Cardiff has gone now and we need to get on the front foot. One win from one is pretty good but can we do it again? We haven’t in last three series so we need to now.”
Of Ali, Cook added: “He’s pretty good, but we’ll make final call tomorrow (the morning the second Test starts). When you play back-to-back Tests you have to be careful. Unless there’s a reaction, he’ll be fine.”
Australia, 11/8 favourites to level the Ashes series at one win apiece, are without wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for personal reasons and Shane Watson is set to be dropped, so Peter Nevill and Mitchell Marsh should come in. They may be joined by Peter Siddle if Mitchell Starc’s ankle problem worsens.
Michael Clarke, who skippers the tourists, said: “We need to turn it around right now. Peter Nevill’s been an important part of the group for a while. He’s played against or with everyone in the squad. Obviously losing Brad is hard as he’s a senior player but that’s the way it goes.”