South Africa in Australia 2008-09 December 8, 2008

Australia move forward with reverse-swing

Cricinfo staff

Australia were slow to learn the tricks in India, where Troy Cooley worked with Brett Lee and Stuart Clark © Getty Images

The coach Tim Nielsen has said Australia's bowlers were too slow to adapt to the conditions during the series loss to India, but believes they are now more aware of the right time to switch tactics. Australia tried for conventional swing for too long instead of working on reverse during their trip to India, but they should have a chance to show their new skills at the WACA during the first Test against South Africa, which starts next week.

"We will change our plans quickly if we need to," Nielsen said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "We were too slow to adapt in India. We took too long trying to get the ball to swing conventionally, rather than just accepting what was happening and working on the reverse."

Nielsen said the tactic, which also upset Australia in England in 2005, had become a "normal mode of attack". "Teams have had to change their thought processes a little bit to embrace it," he said. "There's no point bowling it bolt straight for 20 or 30 overs when there's no conventional swing about."

Nielsen said movement through the air would be a factor at the WACA, especially if the Fremantle doctor breeze was around. The selectors are due to announce the squad for the first Test on Monday, with Jason Krejza a concern due to the ankle injury he sustained before the second match against New Zealand last month.

Despite Australia's changing side, Nielsen said the players were capable of standing up to South Africa and he has talked tough in the lead-up to the series. "I don't want people thinking that because we're a young team we can't take it to them," he said. "[South Africa] are a young, aggressive and competitive team, with a good fast bowling line-up and an equally good top six.

"They will be a good challenge for us, but I know we can match it with them. These six Tests will be a real good battle."