England need pink-ball win to stay in the Ashes

01 December 2017 - 07:59 By Reuters
Ben Stokes of England.
Ben Stokes of England.

England must sweep aside the distraction of the Ben Stokes saga and get the ball swinging if they are to move back on level terms with Australia when day-night cricket makes its Ashes debut in Adelaide this weekend.

Speculation over the reasons behind Stokes' trip to New Zealand have reached fever pitch but would no doubt be less intense had the tourists not crumbled to a 10-wicket defeat in the series opener in Brisbane on Monday.

Whether or not it was a ruse to get Stokes ready to play a part in the series while a decision is awaited over a potential assault charge, it is certain that England will not be able to call on him at Adelaide Oval.

They will have James Anderson and Stuart Broad on board, however, and it is the prospect of the experienced pace duo getting the ball moving that has had the second of the five Tests long marked out as the most likely for an England win.

Two statistics would suggest that a victory in Adelaide is all but essential if the tourists are to retain the Ashes they won with a 3-2 series triumph on home soil in 2015.