The Ashes 2013-14

Anderson eager for pace and bounce

George Dobell

October 21, 2013

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

James Anderson removed David Warner early in the day, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day, August 21, 2013
James Anderson: 'The last time we went there, in 2010-11, the wickets had a bit in them for bowlers and I enjoyed it a lot' © AFP
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James Anderson has welcomed the suggestion that Australia will prepare relatively helpful pitches for seamers in the forthcoming Ashes series.

After England prevailed 3-0 at home on surfaces that were generally low and slow, it has been suggested in some quarters that the pitches in Australia will provide far more encouragement to the home side's seamers. The groundsman at the Gabba, Kevin Mitchell, told the Courier Mail that his pitch would be "pretty different" from those used in England and would "definitely have a tinge of green" in it, while Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, promised pitches that would "speed up" and where "those nicks will carry and you'll be able to bowl them out quicker."

But while Australia's seamers may well prefer their home conditions, they will also be to the liking of England's. And, bearing in mind that England's opening seamers currently sit at No. 1 (Stuart Broad with 45 wickets) and No. 2 (Anderson with 41) in the Test wickets tally for 2013, Anderson is confident that England have the bowlers to exploit any assistance. Graeme Swann, England's offspinner, is at No. 4 in the table.

Memories of bowling to Sachin

  • "He is one of the few people who, even while you're in the field watching him bat, you're in awe of him. He was daunting to bowl against. He had every shot around the ground. It was the way he manoeuvred the ball and the time he had. He always had a special innings in him. I recall a match-winning innings he played against us in Chennai. Not many players in the world could have produced that innings. He was always the wicket you wanted most.
  • "There was never a specific plan when bowling to him. With other players, you spot a flaw and you aim to exploit it. But he didn't have any flaws. We just tried to hit the top of off, build some pressure and hope he would make a mistake. To have got him out more than anyone else in Test cricket is amazing. I'll look back on that stat with great fondness when I retire."

"We'll love it if the pitches are more helpful," Anderson told ESPNcricinfo at a Slazenger event. "Over the last few years, wickets around the world have become flatter and flatter. And in England they've gone especially flat.

"So to go somewhere where they produce something in them for bowlers, we'll be delighted. It's 100% a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully with the bowling unit we've picked, we'll be able to make the most of it."

While Anderson accepted that conditions in Australia were slightly different, he felt that the experience of England's attack rendered them well prepared.

"Yes, they use a different ball in Australia, but it's not a huge deal," he said. "We use the Kookaburra ball loads of places and, although it's slightly different, the white ball we use in England is a Kookaburra and feels the same in the hand.

"The last time we went there, in 2010-11, the wickets had a bit in them for bowlers and I enjoyed it a lot. It doesn't swing for a huge amount of time, so having other weapons, such as reverse and consistency, is very important. Quite a few of us have played out there before, so I wouldn't anticipate too many surprises."

Anderson was particularly effusive in his praise for his new ball partner Broad, suggesting that, aged 27, he has time to improve further in the months ahead, and in Swann who, he felt, was likely to play a key role in the series, even if the pitches are designed to negate his bowling.

"People forget how young Broad is," Anderson said. "So he has time on his side. But it's great to have someone who can run through a side the way he does at times.


James Anderson, October 21, 2013
James Anderson is confident England have the bowlers to exploit any conditions © Slazenger
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"Yes, he can blow a bit hold and cold, but what you see at the moment is that spells he showed against New Zealand at Lord's and Australia at Durham will become more frequent and the spells in between will be more steady. He's aiming for more consistency and he's getting there.

"The guys in the team know how important Graeme Swann is to us. Even if the pitch doesn't turn, he bowls that attacking line outside off stump and there aren't many orthodox offspinners that are brave enough to do that. He does an incredible job with the bat and at second slip."

And Anderson had encouraging words for Graham Onions, who missed out on selection despite being the most impressive seamer in county cricket for the second season in succession.

"He's unfortunate to miss out," Anderson said. "I've experienced that, too, and it's tough to take. It's really tough on him.

"But if I was him, I'd try and find a positive angle. He's going to South Africa to play domestic cricket so I'd recommend he focuses on that. Then, if there are any injuries among our bowling unit, he could be in a better position than some of the people who were picked originally. He would be match fit and he could fly straight in to the side."

James Anderson will be using the Slazenger V100 ULTIMATE TAS bat during this winter's Ashes series, part of the new 2014 Slazenger cricket range available to pre-order in November. For more information on the Slazenger range for 2014 visit Store.slazenger.com

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ScottStevo on (October 26, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

@Steve Back, you can have the greatest attitude in the world, but in test cricket, if you don't have the skill to back it up, it's meaningless. He looks a brilliant limited overs player, but I just don't see him being a threat to top order batsmen in tests. When you look at him, he's a medium pacer with no height, so he's not going to get bounce or scare them with pace, so unless he can get it swinging, I can't see him being a dangerous test bowler. He has his slower balls and cutters which will serve him well in ltd overs, but will be far less effective in tests. He's a good cricketer, but I just can't see him being a test match bowler of high quality...

Posted by   on (October 24, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

@ScottStevo: Faulkner's doing all right at the moment. I don't particularly like him but it's a bit early to say that he's definitely not Test quality. I've commented on his lippy nature before but I'll admit that his attitude has served him fairly well so far in his career. Maybe "attitude" is something that, say, Jackson Bird or Hazlewood maybe lack?

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (October 24, 2013, 14:59 GMT)

The conjecture over 'doctored' pitches is valid but IMO the main reason driver isn't down to giving home players the best advantage. The general global trend has seen lower, slower, flatter tracks by curators in order to maximise on TV revenues. In England we have a situation where too many grounds are putting in enormous bids for too few international tests and are therefore doing all they can to push tests into days 4 & 5 ergo more gate receipts & advertising revenue.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

I wonder whether the Australian curators aren't ill-advised to produce wickets that are "pretty different" from those used in England and will "definitely have a tinge of green". Consider the possible respective pace attacks - Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Starc/Faulkner against Anderson, Broad, Finn and Rankin/Tremlett. Even if it does not swing, the pace and especially bounce the three 6' 5" + England bowlers will get from a good to full length will be far more awkward for the Australian batsmen than any advantage their bowlers obtain from such wickets. It could turn out that the Aussie batsmen will be faced with a modern-day equivalent of batting against Garner, Walsh and Ambrose even if the tall England bowlers aren't as talented.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (October 24, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

There seems to be a divded opinion on whether Mitchell Johnson should be used for the Brisbane test.

If Glenn McGrath publicly states that he should definitely picked then I'm happy to go with that.

The difference in this series for MJ is that he can be used as an impact bowler instead of the spearhead. Leave it to Siddle and Ryno to build pressure and then bring MJ on to make an impact. It's a no brainer since Mitchell Starc is unavailable.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 23, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

@ SirViv1973 on (October 22, 2013, 18:40 GMT) Fair points , but I'd prefer our strongest back up bowlers out there. Obviously it's good that he's getting quality games under his belt but if the idea is to call him up for Jimmy (if Jimmy gets injured) that works well if he gets injured several days between tests but if it's a day or 2 before a test they're not going to be able to draft him in from SA

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 23, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

Oh and @landl47, I've always loved your Bird assessments, he's had two Shield seasons in a row of averaging under 20, bowled extremely well against SL on flat decks, and was still suffering from his stress fracture that he developed in India, but because he didn't take a wicket in one day of a tour match, because he's bowling 5km/h slower than he normally would because of his back injury and because he got hit from your lower order in the fourth test he must be rubbish. You'll find that once he recovers he'll develop into one of our most important bowlers and will be among the first selected. His record in England (including the A tour) he averages above 30 whilst in Aus he averages below 20... So you can't use the cliched 'he's more suited to Eng decks'

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

@landl47, I know you like assessing out bowling, but the more you do it the more wrong you are. No bowler in the world would have done well on that deck against Kohli and co, but no MJ deserves to be targeted. And sorry, what makes Faulkner a short form bowler, he averages around 22 in FC cricket? That on top of the fact that in his only test - on a flat deck - he took 6 wickets for only 98 and that at a strike rate of 27. No bowler could have asked for a better debut. Oh and I remember plenty of your comms regarding Harris and how he shouldn't have been selected, well look how that worked out... You kept on bringing up the irrelevant innings at boxing day where he got 0/90 - is he not allowed one bad day in his whole test career? Anderson has had plenty of bad days and a fey 0/100s this Ashes, but no comment from you on that. Harris had a phenomenal series and despite your constant, 'factual' assertions he didn't break down.

Posted by landl47 on (October 22, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

@ScottStevo: the problem with MJ was not that he got hammered by India on one of the flattest pitches I've ever seen. It's that he started bowling leg-side wides and half-volleys outside off-stump. As I said in my comment, on his day he's one of the best bowlers in the world (his bowling in the first innings at Perth in 2010/11 was brilliant), but he can also be erratic; 9 wickets in that Perth test, but 6 at an average of 78 the rest of the way.

I've seen Bird a few times and haven't been impressed. He bowls 82-84mph, no effort ball, no slower ball; doesn't swing it and doesn't use the seam well (his seam position is awful). He's accurate and tall, but I don't think he'll bother top-class batsmen much. I might be wrong.

Broad is the top test wicket-taker this year, with 45 in 10 tests. He's taken 130 test wickets @ 25 over the last 3 years, even with a couple of injury breaks. He's still only 27. I think he'll be England's top wicket-taker in the series, if he stays fit.

Posted by whatawicket on (October 22, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

the pitches in the ashes will be no different to whats been prepared over the last 20 odd years. Brisbane always looks a bowler pitch for the 1st 2/3 hours. then is a belter. the Aussies to make green pitches why ( when we can win the toss an bowl ) they fear our bowlers just as England would fear theirs, doing similar after the toss.

Posted by ScottStevo on (October 22, 2013, 19:54 GMT)

@landl47, I agree with your assessment of our fringe bowlers though. Faulkner isn't test quality, Hazelwood is still a little green but a decent prospect and NCN shouldn't even be in contention. As for Watson he does a great job for us, either keeping an end tight and picking up occasional big wickets and gives our side the right balance. Siddle is a good bowler but I feel he wasn't used well when Harris was around. Clarke had him bowling 3rd change at times. I'm still not sure if he and Harris in the same side works as they're very similar. As for Bird, I think you'll find that he's a lot better than you rate him. Recall how poor Anderson was on his first outing to Aus - he was absolute garbage...and look now. Bird bowled very well against SL and he will be a real handful in years to come.

Posted by ScottStevo on (October 22, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

@landl47, I don't think there's a bowler currently playing who wouldn't have succumbed to that onslaught from the Indian batsmen in the 2nd ODI; and it's hyper-critical to state that Johnson was hammered when most went for well over 8, he at least managed to stay below that, and was threatening too. There's major concerns whether he can keep it together mentally...that's his biggest issue. But, he's bowling well and roughing up some of the worlds best batsmen in their own backyard - and just rattled England's top order too. That's good enough for me. As for Broad, he's still a guy who goes missing and produces one good spell to save face. He's decent enough, but like Anderson, when the wickets aren't coming, they're super fast to throw the dummy as we saw in the last Ashes with Jimmy kicking the ball all over the place and stamping the landing area when it was tough going. A little perseverance early doors and we could well post numerous 400+ scores.

Posted by jb633 on (October 22, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

The pitches we played on this summer were simply not good for cricket and I can't wait to watch some on green tops. I agree with Jimmy here that our pitches are becoming far too flat and making for not particularly interesting cricket. I think we are a far better side when we play on greener wickets as our bowlers love bowling on them and it suits the way most of our batsmen play. I expect a really tough series down under and would take any win, no matter what the margin. I have a feeling Shane Watson will score a pile of runs and show everyone he is a class act. I think for England the series will depend on how well Cook and Trott can adapt. They were poor in the last series but you can't expect both of them to fail again. I hope Bairstow is axed for good and we look to blood in a different number 6. Technically with his low hands and his sluggish footwork I don't expect him to be successful on the bouncier decks.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (October 22, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

For those saying Onions should be in the squad I have to disagree. He spent the whole of last winter firstly in Ind & then in NZL carrying drinks. The one game he played in at Queenstown he was dreadful because he hadn't had any cricket. If he was selected for this tour he would be doing the same unless there was an injury to Anderson. Given that he didn't get a game in the Durham test it maybe that the selectors just don't think he has an intentional future or perhaps this might turn out to be a masterstroke by the selectors given that Onions will be playing in SAF & if there was a problem with Anderson he could be pitched in with overs in the bank & against some good quality states players.Re Tremlett I think he's been taken as a bit of a wildcard. I think they will look at him early on the tour & see how he goes but they probably feel they have enough firepower available if the initial signs are not good.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (October 22, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

I think Anderson's being modest... Great bowlers like him who can bowl well on any pitch (i.e. play cricket to the pitch given, and not the other way about) don't need to worry what the pitches are like in Australia.

The last Ashes simply proved what we already know: short-spell specialists that are pace obsessed get you absolutely nowhere in test cricket. Give me a McGrath any day over the wayward, injury prone bowlers being hyped up below by the usual suspects.

Posted by cric_J on (October 22, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

@landl47 @JG2704 : Totally agree that taking Tremlett over Onions is one tall, pacer too many. Besides, we aren't even 100% sure if he is the same bowler as in 2010/11 (or even a shadow that). Also agree that Broady has shown loads of improvement over the last 30 months and that Mitch and Patto can be pretty unpredictable and rather temperamental. Though as much as I hate saying this, I have a strong feeling Mitch's gonna wreck a bit of havoc for us.

@HatsforBats (Oct 22, 11:44 GMT): A nice, informative and sensible comment.

@Electric_loco_WAP4 @gsingh7 : Please try and stop sounding so frustrated with the English team ALL the time. Just get real and get a life, the two of you. You seriously need to. For heaven's sake, this is a mature, logical and sensible Cricket forum, not some Trash Talk Unlimited thread !

Posted by cric_J on (October 22, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

Re the flat,dry nature of the English wickets this summer, I'm not sure if the wickets were prepared that way on purpose or it was due to the weather, but considering that the wicket at Old Trafford, which is considered the fastest and bounciest one in England (even after the recent wicket reorientation), lacked sufficient pace and bounce for majority of the CC season, I'd be inclined to believe that it was the latter reason. Even the Trent bridge wicket lacked the spice that is usually associated with it for swing bowlers throughout the CC season.

Re Broad, I couldn't agree more with Jimmy when he says "People forget how young Broad is. " And considering the general trend for fast bowlers and his personal evolution into a more reliable,consistent and complete bowler than before, I'd like to believe that he could only get better from here on and the next 2-3 years may well be the best ones of his career.

P.S. I have a hunch that Broad is going to be the man for us down Under !

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 22, 2013, 13:45 GMT)

The good thing about Aus pitches - always the most sporting any where in world - is it always has a balance to it and supports any thing that is high quality -Bat,pacers and at times spinners.In equal measure it also exposes the mediocre and those that are not upto std. in batting,or bowling. Aus with the fearsome pace attack at their disposal -the world's best pace attack including some of the most talented and quick young pacemen in the world - will have the most benefit as the bounce and pace in the pitches will make them well nigh unplayable. Thought of the world's fastest Mitch letting loose -at Perth for eg. - @ 95mph is scary in itself. On other hand the limited Eng seam bowling will be exposed on sporting Aus pitches.Eng bowling looks good when conditions are favouring swing and on spicy pitches and cloudy sky.Their lack of quality gets badly exposed otherwise like in U.A.E ,more recently in NZ and so on.. All Aus to do is see of 1st 5 overs and cash in for 500+ each time.

Posted by cric_J on (October 22, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Australia has traditionally been known to offer fast, bouncy wickets. So, it comes as no big news that they'll be dishing out those sort of pitches once again. By merely looking at the England squad, one can make out that the selectors have already catered for the pace and bounce attributes. Why else would they have gone for 4 tall fast bowlers, the major strength of all of whom is to extract sufficient bounce from the surface at good pace ?

Also, before the ashes 2010 there were a truck load of doubters of Jimmy's abilities with the kookaburra and we all know how well he dealt with it ,as did all other England bowlers. Also barring England and India, it is the kookaburra that is used in all other test playing nations. So, I don't feel any of our bowlers (barring Rankin maybe) should have any problems with it.

Posted by Lets_Bash_Indians on (October 22, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

LOL, arrange 10 tests in a matter of 3-4 months & call it the Prestigious Series Ever. What kind of Sorcery is This

Posted by izzidole on (October 22, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

The MCG and the SCG are now drop in pitches and the newly transformed Adelaide Oval will also be the same for the ashes test this summer to facilitate Australia's most popular sport the AFL to be played there during the off season.. I reckon the nature of drop in pitches cannot be changed very much and it's left to the bowler to make best use of the wicket with his bowling skills. The only cricket pitches that still remain the same are the Gabba and the WACA. Australia will fancy their chances of beating England at these two venues while England will use their experience and skill to win at the MCG, SCG and Adelaide. As such I reckon this ashes test series will be a close one.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (October 22, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

@Flemingmitch i also echo your words mate

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (October 22, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

@Mitty have you been watching the ryobi cup, Khawaja handled Beer very well today in a 88 not out working him all round the ground. He is also using his feet to the spinners as well. Hughes is perhaps the worse player of spin the country as we saw from his performances against Ashwin in the India test series. And Flemingmitch makes the correct point that given our pitches will be pacier guys like Khawaja will be key as he handles pace very well.

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

@ Mitty2: Thanks for mentioning Bird. He bowled all right in England and should learn a lot from that. He didn't do brilliantly but wasn't taken apart either. I think he might be a touch quicker then he looks. He seems to bowl a surprisingly heavy ball and looks especially handy against left handers. Young Jackson shouldn't be forgotten, but we haven't really seen him this season either.

That's why I can't wait for the 4 day stuff to start so we know where we're really at. I'm enjoying the Ryobi Cup but it clouds the thinking a little bit re Test cricket.

Posted by landl47 on (October 22, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

Two years ago the expectation was that Cummins, Patto and Starc would be the strike bowlers. Two of them are out for the Summer and who knows when Patto will be back? Harris was the best bowler on either side in England, but he broke down again in the last test. He's 34 now- the question is, how many tests can he play?

MJ can be lethal on his day, but as we just saw in the 2nd ODI in India, put the pressure on and he falls to pieces. In test cricket he gets tired, his arm drops and suddenly he's back to the old Mitch. I think Aus has no choice but to play him, but it's always going to be a risk.

None of the other bowlers looked like test wicket takers. Sids had one good game but his pace has dropped. Faulkner's a short-format bowler, not fast and doesn't move the ball. Bird did nothing in his one test. NCN and Hazlewood just looked steady in the ODIs. Watson's economical, but doesn't take wickets.

Unless Harris and MJ fire, I don't see them outbowling England

Posted by HatsforBats on (October 22, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Absolutely, the English quicks will get more love from our pitches this summer. Of course, so will we. A lot of comments so far on the merits of each sides bowling attack, but little mention of the batting. Eng (excluding Bell) struggled against good bowling plans on placid pitches, it will be interesting to see how they cope on quicker pitches that accentuate their weaknesses. Aus generally secured first innings leads last Ashes, it will be a matter of reducing the near-inevitable collapses. As for England "doctoring" their pitches...unless groundsmen were under national water restrictions due to drought conditions I'm sure watering the pitches was an still an option? Perhaps it was just a coincidence Swann was the leading wicket taker on dry, slow pitches against a side packed with left-handers? Just to be clear, I'm all for home advantage & I don't consider that "doctoring". Selectively watering specific areas of the pitch in order to negate specific players on the other hand...

Posted by landl47 on (October 22, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

I've said for a while now that it really doesn't matter what type of pitches Aus prepares. The England attack is not reliant on one type of pitch. In the 3 tests England won in the recent Ashes, Anderson took 10 in the first, Swann 9 in the second and Broad 11 in the other. Three different types of bowler, three wins. Whether the individuals are the best in the world isn't the issue, it's that England can adapt to the conditions as a side.

I do think the selectors missed a trick by selecting Tremlett instead of Onions. If the wickets are green and seamy, Onions is the best exploiter of that in England, and with Broad, Finn and Rankin in the squad, England didn't need another skyscraper. I think Anderson is right- if the wickets do suit Onions and he's match fit from playing in SA, don't be surprised if he gets a call.

I agree 100% with Jimmy that Broad is just getting to his peak. If he's fit throughout the tour, I believe he'll be a key weapon for England.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 22, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

@ Mitty2 - TBH I've not seen Tremlett myself (apart from the odd SF spell and we can't tell anything from that) , but reports from Surrey fans and others who have seen him this season are that he is lacking very much in pace and without his pace what has he got? If he was a little eratic but still generated the pace etc then it would be different. I find Mitch and Patto a little eratic at times. Mitch has obviously got experience on his side but if Patto was down on pace he'd not be half the threat

@green_track_boasters - I've not seen Jimmy himself call himself the King Of Swing or any name other than James or Jimmy. Steyn is a better/more consistent all round bowler and has done it at the top for his whole career but is not playing in the Ashes as far as I'm aware.Maybe Cricinfo should do a go compare on Jimmy,Steyn and other pacers as it seems impossible for Jimmy to do an interview about anything on here without people wanting to compare him with Steyn or other bowlers

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

@Flemming_Mitch, it's funny because in your compliment-Khawaja-crusade you implicitly bagged Khawaja there because he's worse than Hughes against spin!

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

I've got no problem whatsoever with Jimmy Anderson. He's a fine, fine bowler. Beautiful to watch at times. He seems to have impeccable control of his out swinger and can bowl incisive reverse. In between those he keeps a tidy line and length and is, lets face it, a bowler to be admired.

Having said that, he ain't God and he can be bested. It just takes a bit, that's all.

Posted by Amith_S on (October 22, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

Well said Fleming mitch, bring on the faster pitches which are not doctored for Swann. I think this will be career defining series for Warner and Khawaja both of whom i tip will do very well in our home conditions, we just need to show faith in these younger batsman and give them the full series, boof may just do that.

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

@ Mitty; I've got a bit of a bias towards Hazlewood, but to be honest that's purely because I played against his father (Trevor) for 3 or 4 seasons. I remember Trevor as a gentle giant who could bowl realllyy quick if you were silly enough to get up his nose. .

Getting back to Mitch. I hear ya, and believe me when I say that I would LOVE to see him come good against the poms, it's just that I'm not confident he can .. anyway, let's see whose still standing on Test eve and go from there.

Posted by KhanMitch on (October 22, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

Swann did the most damage against us and we traditionally play pace better so i welcome us preparing faster pitches. Guys such as Rogers, Khawaja and Watson will be key as these 3 play pace very well and could be key batsman for us in the ashes.

Posted by Yevghenny on (October 22, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

I think Australia rushed Cummins into the side as at the time their bowling wasn't as strong as it is now and he was such a top prospect. Fast bowlers get a lot of injuries up to the age of about 24 when things start to settle down. Hopefully they have not pushed cummins too far too soon - cricket is pretty unfair in how it is so physically demanding on bowlers, and this demand can't be shared amongst the team

Posted by heathrf1974 on (October 22, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

I am not a fan of the doctoring of wickets. It may increase your chances of winning at home but decreases them away.

Posted by sonicattack on (October 22, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

@green_track_boasters....may I just point out that this article and discussion has nothing to do with Dale Steyn, he plays for South Africa, in case you don't know, this is about the Ashes between England and Australia! Furthermore, I'm sure that I have read somewhere re Australian pitches that the Sydney pitch does not take spin as much as it once did and with the Adelaide pitch now a 'drop-in' surely it is not possible to claim that Australian pitches have not changed?

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

@JG2074, the fact that he dominated us, height and more tests in his belt? But yes I get your point. I don't understand why Eng ignore Onions. Every County season, he'll take the most wickets and usually at an average below 20, but he'll be overlooked. From memory, when your Ashes squad was announced, Bresnan was averaging above 30 for Yorkshire and Onions was dominating as usual - but Bresnan plays and Onions doesn't. It seems the case with Bird for us. He has had two straight seasons of averaging 18 for Tassie, took too long to select him and he's behind Starc in selection just because of pace. Starc averages above 30, Bird under 20. But Starc is preferred...

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

@dunger.bob, in the first post I was stating out of fact, from all reports MJ will be playing the first test. And of course, his bowling at the Gabba when England scored 1/500 and his Adelaide and Boxing Day tests still give me nightmares. We literally spoon fed the English batsmen with utter tripe and a worse bowling display is hard to remember from us. It's his mentality, but with his technique settled, his form and confidence up, you can do worse. But then again, even when he was getting pummelled with the red ball he was at the same time prospering with the white ball...

If we seriously want to ignore MJ, (remember that at times our bowling lacked penetration in the winter) then we probably have to look at the next fastest. That would probably be between Hazelwood, Coulter-Nile and Cutting, and we all prefer Cutting there (although high hopes for hazelwood this season). We could go Sayers but we don't all quicks bowling under 140km/h do we? Sids is bowling 130 these days

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

@ Mitty2 : It annoys me that it looks as though we might have to go back to MJ. I have the greatest respect for Mitch when he's got a white ball in his hand, but I start to worry when the ball is red. People still mention Cummins, but I wonder if we'll ever see him again. Washed up at 20. Injured out of the game. Now that's some good management for you. Or maybe the dude is just fragile and it was never meant to be. Whatever, with Patto, Starc and a few others out of the picture I reckon we should be looking very closely at the few Shield games we get before the main event. .. it's a case of once bitten, twice shy I suppose. The memories of a clueless Mitch getting massacred by the poms still gives me the shudders. .. I love him in one day cricket, not so much in Tests. I would like to see some young fella come through first. If that fails, back to Mitch then I guess.

We have so many quicks on the sick list it's beyond mere coincidence.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (October 22, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha on (October 22, 2013, 3:46 GMT), can you please point me to the part where George is critical of the Australian pitch preparation? Maybe I can't see it because it's obscured by all that bad luck Australia suffered in England.

Posted by Lets_Bash_Indians on (October 22, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Steyn Is Better Then Anderson Even With A tennis Ball. Anderson is Like Messi. Until & Unless He Gets some Assistance From Pitch, his Miracle Talent of taking Wickets & rebels To show Up. Whereas Steyn Is One MAN ARMY,even though his record is bit sloppy in subcontinent, BUT still better Then , SELf Proclaimed KING of SWING Jimmy Anderson.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 22, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

I genuinely think this series could go either way and could go 3-0 either way and like the Ashes in England , the scoreline may not reflect how the teams are matched. I still feel that England should have picked Onions over Tremlett. He's a more adept replacement for Jimmy (should he get injured) and from all reports Tremlett is lacking in pace anyway so regardless of anything else if Tremlett is lacking in pace then what advantage does he hold over Onions?

Posted by JG2704 on (October 22, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

@ gsingh7 on (October 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT) I know you don't deal too well with facts but if you look at the Eng/Pak series it was the Eng batting/Pak bowling (depending on how you look at it) which was the reason why Eng lost 3-0. Also you're saying that Jimmy can't bowl on sedate pitches and can only bowl with assistance. Now if the Aus tracks are spiced then Jimmy should do well - no?

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

But, taking into account the last three years of Australia's pitches, where the only green pitches has been the WACA, I wouldn't be focusing too much on this. We managed to minimise the influence of the SA seamers last summer with these extreme roads but I feel we have to have green and bouncy pitches these Ashes. Like Eng did in the winter, we have to play to our strengths and to the opponent's weaknesses. Eng fans won't care about anything said about MJ because he's been terrible and has choked every time he plays them, but i'm really excited to see him this summer. More balanced, faster, higher arm - he's bowling very well atm. However, all that could mean nothing on the big stage.

Hopefully the rematch of MJ vs Trott and Cook has a different winner this time!

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (October 22, 2013, 9:17 GMT)

I can see why England went through a period that they did in 1990's, they cover up the cracks. The fact is, this is probably as good a side England has ever put up in their entire cricketing history and the team Australia put out was one of their worst of all time.

If Australia were still able to compete with England then, what about when they come out of transition?

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

Anderson took a lot of his wickets against tail enders last Ashes and was much like Siddle in how he did very well in the first test and then dropped off (but then got gifted some wickets in the last test when we tried to up the rate), and after seeing him struggle against NZ with the Kookaburra, I'm more so fearing Broad, Rankin and Tremlett (not including Finn because he'll go at 6 an over as usual and then get dropped). Their common factor of height is obvious, and as these pitches will help out these bowlers much more we should be wary. But England don't want to go all out height, as you still need variety. From the outside, Eng's best pace trio in Aus would be Anderson, Broad and Tremlett (Rankin when Tremlett's injured). Looking forward to seeing how Broad goes, I feel he's going to be much more consistent.

Australia's pace trio will end up being Siddle, Harris and Johnson, with Hazlewood, Sayers, Cutting and maybe Coulter-Nile/Sandhu the backups.

Looking forward to it!!

Posted by gsingh7 on (October 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

anderson has proved to be green top bully but on flatter lifeless tracks where sub continent bowlers prosper,he is found wanting. imran,wasim, zaheer ,srinath all possessed skills to bowl on slower wickets but anderson has been a sitting duck when faced against marvelous subcontinental batsmen on sub continental wickets . even in uae ,jimmy was part of england team which was whitewashed 3-0 by lowly pakistan side who were 5th in test rankings.on Australian tracks which will be spiced on instructions of clarke and boof, anderson will be taken for plenty and broad will be given hard time by partisan aussie crowd. hope best team wins.

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

@ YorkshirePudding: Sorry to butt in, but the story I heard was that they ran out of the original Mary River soil and had to use another type. Since then they have located and started using a soil with very similar properties to the original. The hope is that over the next few years we will see the old Perth come back to life. .. I've got to say that I loved the old Perth. People generally associate it with fast bowlers blowing holes through the sight screen but the truth is that it was also a great place to bat. Ordinary fast bowlers got pasted at Perth. .. It was a place for the elite to shine, be they batsman or bowler. The rest got slaughtered.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 22, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

@Karl Jenaway - I presume you mean avid rather than vivid. To be fair Aus were not much worse than England in England. The 1st test was very close although the closeness probably flattered Aus due to the lower tail wagging vigorously in both inns. And in the 3rd win Aus looked on course to win in the 2nd inns and in the 2 drawn matches Aus looked nailed on to win the 1st match and would have if there were no weather issues and IMO were probably the better side in the final test. So while I'm not going to buy the junk (from some) that Aus were much the better side apart from one test the series was very competitive

@Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (October 22, 2013, 7:30 GMT) If England deliberately prepared dry pitches for their "spin advantage" then why did they play one spinner in all bar one test? And why did Australia play just the one spinner in every test?

Posted by Charlie101 on (October 22, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Looking forward already to late nghts with the cricket . I feel the outcome will be decided by Trott and Cook scoring runs as I have no doubt that we can bowl the Aussies out cheaply. They did not really perform the way they can in the last series and the pundits all say they like the ball coming onto to the bat so hopefully even the mighty Ryan Harris will struggle for wickets.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (October 22, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

@Number_5, Interesting points about the pitches, though hasnt Perth slowed a little bit over the last 10-15 years, I doubt we'll see the type of pitches and overheads we did in 2010/11, which played in to englands hands.

It should be agood series and unlike some comentators I think it will be a tight series.

In regards to a number of other comments, about england preparing low slow pitches, sometimes that cannot be helped, especially with the heat wave we had in June-July, which would have removed a lot of the moisture from the pitches. However when you look at the stats spinners didnt have that big an impact on the games except a Lords where Swann took 11 of the 20 wickets.

Posted by Optic on (October 22, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

@Behind_the_bowlers_arm I'm sorry you don't know what you're talking about and are just making baseless comments. If you actually knew anything about the English game at County level and the pitches they were playing on all season, you'd know Anderson was correct. England had the driest summer in decades, only raining a handful of times at the back end of the Ashes and turned a lot of the traditionally quicker pitches like the Oval, Old Trafford and Headingley into flat decks that helped the spinners as the game went on. Surrey especially played with 2 specialist spinners all season it was that bad for seamers and Yorkshire pitch has turned over the years into a pancake most of the time. Lords the last few years has been very flat though. You'd also know in England we've never had many fast pitches like SA and Aus, it's always been swing that takes wickets. You should also know that no amount of pitch doctoring will stop the ball swinging, that's purely down to the atmosphere.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (October 22, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

Woohoo!!! Another Jimmy Anderson article. Let the Jimmy Anderson bashing commence! :P

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

If there is actually a general flattening of the worlds pitches then it may be up to us and the Saffers to thumb our noses at the trend. I don't want to see a world where all the pitches favour dart throwers and spinners. The day that happens is the day I stop watching cricket.

Don't get me wrong, I love watching a good spinner in action, but not inside the first 20 overs of a 450 over Test match. Surely there can room for both the fast bowlers and the tweakers.

Lot's of people blame ODI and T20 cricket for the slowing of the decks and there might be something in that but I don't care what the reason is. The only important thing for me is that each of our Test grounds stays true to it's heritage and produces proper Test standard pitches where all the skills of the game can be show cased. If that means taking a flogging in the process, then so be it. The long term health of the game is more important then short term success and we Aussies seem to understand that. Good on us I say.

Posted by FingorsDad on (October 22, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

The wickets in England last season weren't doctored. We had a dry summer and wickets everywhere were lower and slower than usual. Swann enjoys bouncy wickets as much as the fast boys and harder tracks will merely serve to enhance his advantage over whichever second rate spinner Australia turn to this winter. As for Australia's quicks, they're good (when fit) but not yet as good as England's, so, again, faster, greener wickets will enhance the advantage Anderson and Broad have. Pace and bounce will delight Finn, Broad and Tremlett.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (October 22, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

Interesting that Anderson says that English pitches have 'gone flat'. Made flat is more accurate.They were prepared that way (ie as dry as possible) to favour Englands spin advantage as most subcontinent nations (and the West Indies) do. Australia will be preparing wickets for balanced cricket. True with a bit of bounce and maybe some early life that also bring the spinners in later in the match. I think these wickets will make for more entertaining cricket and as England have a superior team at the moment will probably help them more. Just a shame that England lacked the confidence in themselves to prepare these sort of pitches at home. It smacked of timidity and caution. Dour might be an appropriate word!

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

@ Karl Jenaway : Some people find it odd that straight after we were wiped out by spin in India we went to lovely green England to find more dust bowls. I guess the implication is that England took that path to make use of Swann AND blunten whatever strike power we had in our quick men.

Personally I think that's a load of rubbish. The pitches were what they were because of the weather in the preceding months. England are not known for doctoring pitches and I'm sure that when they play us they don't even feel as though it would be necessary anyway.

The difference between the two teams might seem astronomical to some, but I reckon it's a matter of one or two players. Last time it was Bell and Swann that were the game breakers. Could be different players next time but the point is England have a few more than we have. That's the real difference.

Posted by whofriggincares on (October 22, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

@Karl Jenaway , what a dumb comment. No one suggested the pitches were prepared to assist Jimmy and Broad, quite the opposite actually! Before the series the common belief was the only edge Australia had was in their perceived stronger fast bowling attack (whether that is true or not is debatable but that was the general thinking) and our struggles in India certainly led everybody to believe we struggle on low and slow surfaces . The other obvious difference in the bowling attack is Swanns clear superiority over Australias spin stocks. Make no mistake the pitches were prepared to disadvantage the aussies simple. Nobody with half an Idea about cricket would dispute that. One very astute English poster on this forum acknowledged this fact and even went as far as to say that Australia was the last place that pitches are just prepared in the same old manner regardless of who is touring. As for the outcome of this ashes series we will see. Australia has turned the corner make no mistake.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (October 22, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

James Anderson: The famous all-pitch speciliast. He was absolutely lethal in Australia last time, picking up 26 wickets on flat, dead pitches. If Lehmann wants green tops then Jimmy is going to add yet more bag fulls of wickets to his international haul. A bowler that has bested the Ausseis for years, this could be his last away tour so make it a good one Jimmy!

Posted by SirViv1973 on (October 22, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

If we see traditional Aus type surfaces then I would think that Engs attack is just as if no more so suited to bowling on such surfaces. I can't help but feel that Aus best chance of an upset would be to prepare flat tracks. If we think back to against SAF at the Oval last year and again in NZL earlier this year Eng really struggled trying to bowl the opposition out on those types of decks and in Harris Aus might just have a bowler who as to do a tad better.

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (October 22, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

The groundsman at the Gabba, Kevin Mitchell, told the Courier Mail that his pitch would be "pretty different" from those used in England and would "definitely have a tinge of green" in it, while Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, promised pitches that would "speed up" and where "those nicks will carry and you'll be able to bowl them out quicker."

Comment from Shane Warne please to back up his point that Australian curators are not influenced to produce tracks that suit the home team!

I don't think it matters much, there is not much to choose between the pace attacks and Lyon is an improving spinner and so the gap between him and Swann is less. Australia's hopes probably lie on keeping Harris fit for 5 tests and seeing if Johnson can keep his line and length in the longer form of the game (and Clarke is able to keep him out of the earshot of English supporters!).

Posted by   on (October 22, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

as an vivid English fan I must confess that seeing Australia way down in icc rankings and talent in the team, I had a satisfactory ashes series. claiming england prepared dry low wickets so that jimmy and broad can run riot while aussie pacers cud not bowl well is akin to saying pak prepared green tops in uae so ajmal and rehmann cud win matches easily.something dont add up as well.the reality is English bowling and batting is way better and even if ashes is played in sahara or Antarctica, there will be only one winner.

Posted by dunger.bob on (October 22, 2013, 4:00 GMT)

I don't think Lehmann is talking about super green tops or anything that juicy. I think hat England will face will simply be our traditional Australian pitches. By definition that means some of them will have a bit in them for the seamers. Good as far as I'm concerned. It'll be nice to see the ball above the knee roll.

I've no doubt Jimmy will bowl well on these pitches. They suite him to a tee actually. Still, that's no reason to back down and try to doctor up some gentler strips. We can't run away, so we may as well face it head on.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (October 22, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

The pitches described are perfectly standard. They require no special "preparation", as Dobell implies. Everyone saw how different the pitches were for the recent Ashes series. To then criticise Australia for the perfectly normal tracks they haven't even laid down yet is laughable. Sadly, Australia is one of the last places that does not alter its pitches to try to pre-determine the outcomes of games. I put England in that same category - till the last series, where tracks were dry and frazzled - even as heavy rain was washing games out.

Posted by Number_5 on (October 22, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

Aus will not prepare anything different to the pitches that are always prepared. Its certainly common place around the globe and in some countries in particular to "specifically prepare" pitches to play a certain way.

Brisbane. Will be green, seam, bounce and swing gets easier to bat as test goes on. Wont take much spin. Adelaide. Most batsman friendly. Will wear during test and take turn from late in day 4. Note. New drop in pitch which may provide some up and down bounce. Perth. Has always been full of bounce and pace which doesnt always help the bowlers but generally a quicks paradies. Melb. Drop in pitch, tends to be green and offer a bit to the bowlers early before starting to wear and offer more to the tweakers. Will be best for batting days 1-3 Sydney. Most spinner friendly deck and will offfer a bit to the quicks / seamers early if green.

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