The Investec Ashes 2013

Ashes attacks: Dizzy and the Dazzler weigh in

Jason Gillespie and Darren Gough run the rule over England's and Australia's fast bowling

Nagraj Gollapudi and Andrew McGlashan

July 6, 2013

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

One area where it is generally accepted that England and Australia are evenly matched is in the pace attacks. Ahead of the Investec Ashes which begins on Wednesday, ESPNcricinfo spoke to Jason Gillespie and Darren Gough and asked them to assess the opposition bowlers.


James Anderson celebrates his 300th wicket, England v New Zealand, 1st Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day, May 17, 2013
Gillespie on Anderson: "The way he can have batsmen lbw, bowled and edging behind is a testament to all the hard work and practice he has put into all these skills" © AFP
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Gillespie on England

Jimmy Anderson
His biggest strength is his durability. He works really hard to maintain his strength and fitness. He plays a lot of cricket and gets through a lot of work done, but he looks well after himself. And his skills are as important and genuine. He pitches the ball up, swings it both ways, so he is a very clever bowler. It is not an easy thing, to be able to consistently swing the ball, both outswing and inswing, at pace with the accuracy that he has. The way he can set up batsman in the crease, have them lbw, bowled and edging behind is a testament to all the hard work and practice he has put into all these skills. A very clever bowler, who can use the crease well. He has a good bouncer and change of pace. He has the best wrist of any fast bowler in world cricket. And this is his biggest strength. There is no real glaring weakness. But he can be less effective if the ball is not swinging as much. He will still cause problems, but he could be a little bit easier to play against.

Stuart Broad
He gets pace. He gets bounce. Those are his two best attributes. And he is one of these bowlers who seems to find wickets, and finds wickets in clumps. He puts his aggressive style of fast bowling to good use. He is a tall man and with the bounce he can generate, he can cause a lot of problems. Also, if he gets his length right, he can move it away from the straight, especially to the right-handers. The one area he can get better is, sometimes he tends to bowl a bit short and nullify his opportunities to get wickets. He is inconsistent at times with the length: if he bowls a fuller length and gets driven, he switches to pitching pretty much back of a length and then does not pose that much of a threat. If things aren't going his way, his body language can be a bit poor. He needs to make sure to keep that in check. But one of his strengths is his strong character. He is a wicket-taker. He is a match-winner. England need him firing.

Steven Finn
He can bowl fast and that is his biggest weapon. Like Broad, he gets bounce, which he finds from a good length. Finn searches for wickets but he is a young bowler so he is going to be a little inconsistent. He is still learning his trade and is fixing his run-up. When Broad gets his length right, when he bowls that slightly fuller length, he can get the ball to swing a little bit. Finn relies on the seam movement. He can keep the seam up, he can move the ball in and away from the right handers. That is his strength.

Tim Bresnan
He does the donkey work - bowls long spells, never complains, just keeps going. He can swing the new ball and get reverse swing with the old ball. And he can bowl with a lot of pace. But Tim's biggest attribute is, he just keeps running in hard no matter how well the opposition are playing. He does not give up. The one thing he needs to be wary about is when he runs in straight and jumps out - he needs to sort out his back-foot landing, as that can affect his outswing. That is a minor technical detail.

Gough on Australia


Mitchell Starc finished South Africa's innings with six wickets, Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, December 2, 2012
Gough on Starc: "You have to be impressed with the way he bowled in India - in tough conditions - where he kept running in and led the attack most of the time" © AFP
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James Pattinson
We all know he is going to be a quality bowler; it's whether he can stay fit - that's the biggest issue for him. He's very big, very strong, bowls at good pace, and can move the ball late. That's a terrific combination. He hits the seam back of a length, which is perfect for English conditions, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing him bowl, especially with the Dukes ball, which we all know swings more than the Kookaburra. He can be the real deal.

Mitchell Starc
He was brilliant for Yorkshire last season, and that time in county cricket will have helped him develop his game. I've heard great things about him as an individual. You have to be impressed with the way he bowled in India, in tough conditions, where he kept running in and he led the attack most of the time. He also reverses the ball, which we've seen can be a significant weapon, and although consistency can still be an issue, his ability to create wicket-taking opportunities is priceless

Ryan Harris
He's a strong, skiddy type of bowler and he could be very useful over here. Again, fitness is a major issue with him - and you can't see him playing all the Tests - so they will need to be clever and selective about when he plays. He's a similar style of bowler to myself: he pitches it up full with a hint of swing, and he will be a handful.

Peter Siddle
Just a hard worker. Will run in all day for a captain. He is quicker than some people perhaps give him credit for. A 21st-century version of Merv Hughes in many ways, and can be used during periods where play has perhaps gone a bit flat, to try and back something to happen with a sustained spell of bouncers, or a burst around the wicket. All the best Australian attacks have had someone with that type of aggression. He's gutsy, too, when he bats.

Jackson Bird and James Faulkner
I've not seen much of Bird, but have heard the comparisons to Glenn McGrath in terms of the accurate line and length he can maintain. He is not the quickest, but as McGrath showed, that does not have to matter. In England, maintaining a nagging length can bring plenty of rewards. Quite a few of England's batsmen like to score freely.

Faulkner I watched quite a lot during the Big Bash. He could come into the equation if they want a fifth bowler - and Shane Watson can't bowl much - so you could yet see him playing a part in the series.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi and Andrew McGlashan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 8, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@Agha Azeem (post on July 7, 2013, 18:00 GMT): yes but if you add up the number of tests played by all those Australian bowlers you mention, the sum is still smaller than the number of tests played by certain singular England bowlers like Anderson. Lets wait and see once this "best attack in the world" has played the same number of tests as the England boys shall we, before we start the meaningless comparisons.

Posted by Vishnu27 on (July 8, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Big_Maxy_Walker: think you have a bit of a short memory. Siddle, along with Hilfenhaus absolutely destroyed India on their last trip down here. He then did a decent job against SA & SL. Look at his numbers. Statistics don't lie: he's done a job at home & away. A consistent performer, who is constantly undervalued & underrated IMO. Not to mention the extremely high price he puts on his wicket when he bats. Why "DON'T" we need a left armer? I would seriously argue the reverse. Mitchell Starc is not MJ, & already is a far better bowler & will only continue to develop. He is a serious weapon: angle, pace, reverse swing, lift & bounce= nasty proposition

Posted by   on (July 7, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

i will pick Pattinson 1st, and Bird then!!!! both r too good!!! bird averaging under 20's is fantastic!!!! i don not trust starc he is not consistent!! in TESTS!!!! i will pick Siddle as 3rd pacer!!!! AUStralian attack is best in the world at the moment,!!! england have experience but there bowlers averages above 30's which is not too good just moderate!!! while aussies have under 25 mostly!!!! like pattinson 22, bird! 19(F.C) harris and siddle 27

Posted by   on (July 7, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

Siddle`, is first player picked, after the Captain, Clarke, so under-rated, his average, strike-rate, and consistency over the last 4 seasons, have been sensational, very similar too Jimmy Anderson. After he broke-down with back stress fractures, in an ODI, for Australia, 3 years ago he has re-modelled his action and dropped his pace. He was clocked at 158.3, klicks, during that game, how many bowlers have come back from 3 shoulder reconstructions, and 2 bouts of back stress fractures. He can still, bowl mid too high 150 klicks, but now as he has matured he operates in the high 130`s, too high 140`, with the odd really fast 150 klick ball thrown in. He leads Australia`s bowling unit, and coaches, and looks after the Aussie young Fast-Bowlers, should be Vice-Captain, his work with all the young bowlers coming into the Aussie squad, is sensational. He is all about the team, not interested in the kudos, just about getting back the winning culture.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (July 7, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

Anderson apart i don't think other English fast bowlers are much of a threat , If only these Aussies can keep their bowlers from breaking down ! because i think they easily have the worlds best fast bowling talent in the world , even better than the so called 'worlds best attack' of SA or England , India is playing yet another boring series with WI and SL so eagerly waiting for ashes to start , hope Australia springs a few surprises and win it

Posted by   on (July 7, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

McGrath's knack of getting wickets is much more than simply line and length. If it is that simple there will be several bowlers like him. Please stop comparing anybody who has good control over line and length to McGrath.

Posted by   on (July 7, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

Australia is shooting themselves in the foot by not having Copeland in the team. You watch.

Posted by slow.mo on (July 7, 2013, 0:58 GMT)

Dizzy being in England for so many years gave him the opportunity to know the English bowlers really well. Australia could have hired him as a bowling consultant for Ashes like England hired Buchanan last time.

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