Ian Chappell believes Australia must take five bowlers into the series-deciding fifth Test at The Oval on Thursday. Chappell, who captained the 1972 side which won at the same ground to force a 2-2 draw, said entering the match with only five batsmen and Adam Gilchrist at No. 6 might "concentrate the minds".
"Australia need to gamble to retain the Ashes and, considering the run-scoring feats of Shane Warne and Brett Lee in the series so far, the time is right to dump a batsman," Chappell wrote in his Sunday Telegraph column. "Anyway, the policy of playing five front-line bowlers is designed to decrease the scoring potential of the opposition, so there are less runs to chase."
While admitting the move was risky, Chappell said Simon Katich should be dropped because Damien Martyn was more likely to make a big score. "If Simon Jones doesn't play and Glenn McGrath is fully fit, it makes this gamble even more attractive," he said. In 1972 Australia headed to The Oval in the same situation as the current side, but centuries to Chappell and his brother Greg and ten wickets to Dennis Lillee set up the match, which was secured with a 71-run partnership between Rod Marsh and Paul Sheahan.
However, Steve Waugh, who played at The Oval only when the series was sealed, has suggested an even bigger shock by requesting that Katich, an occasional wrist spinner, is bowled more by Ponting. "The dilemma with four is whether two quicks and two spinners is too much of a gamble, particularly if Glenn McGrath plays with a question mark over his fitness," Waugh wrote in The Sunday Times.
"I would pick McGrath, Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill as the main men and spring a surprise by using Simon Katich as a third spinner. Katich is underrated ... he is a guy who raises his game under pressure and has that mongrel streak about him that inspires his mates."