Australia conceded a pretty substantial 233-run deficit from the first innings after they were skittled out for a meagre 128, and the difficulty of their task now is hard to overstate.
'But what if Michael Clarke produces an inspired century?'; 'What if England bowl terribly?'; 'But the pitch remains pretty good'. It all sounds a bit like clutching at straws for the tourists.
The reason that Clarke's side are very unlikely to recover and win the second Test at the home of cricket, not because England are immune from contriving to let their opponents back into a match, but because history is not on Australia's side.
The fact is that Australia have only ever won four Ashes Tests in England after conceding a first-innings deficit.
That does not make a dramatic response seem at all likely.
The largest first-innings deficit that Australia have conceded in an Ashes Test which they won was 177 runs back in 1961 at Old Trafford.
Furthermore, the last time that Australia fought back to win an Ashes Test on English soil after falling behind from the first innings was back in that famous series in 1981.
The four previous occasions Australia have won an Ashes Test in England after conceding a first-innings deficit:
- 1882, The Oval (deficit 38)
- 1948, Headingley (deficit 38)
- 1961, Old Trafford (deficit 177)
- 1981, Trent Bridge (deficit 6)
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