Nick Teale - Strauss Should Make Aussies Bat First
24 Nov 2010 - 14:42:18
Finally, The Ashes get underway tonight.
Michael Clarke has passed a fitness test, which will come as a big boost for Australia. On the other hand England know what their XI will be, and have done for a while now. That gives us an advantage over the hosts, who haven't known who to pick because of the mixed form of their players.
The all-important weather forecast is suggesting swing-friendly overcast conditions in Brisbane and if that is the case when the sun rises over the Gabba, Andrew Strauss should opt to bowl if he wins the toss.
Forget what happened to Nasser Hussain eight years ago. Forget what happened to Steve Harmison four years ago. If England win this series, it will be because their bowlers have outclassed Australia. Captain Strauss needs to make a brave call.
It was the bowling that won us Ashes in 2005, and the bowling is where we lost it last time we visited Australia.
Back then James Anderson was suffering from the worse form of his Test career, mainly because the England coaching staff were intent on changing his bowling action. Now the Lancashire man is back to bowling the way he was when he first broke onto the scene, and probably playing the best cricket of his career.
David Saker, England's Australian bowling coach, holds the philosophy of, "If they are playing Test cricket they are pretty good cricketers to start with." He's spot on. You wouldn't try and change the way Tiger Woods strikes a golf ball, or the way Lionel Messi dribbles a football. So why try and change the way a Test cricketer bowls?
Along with Steven Finn, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, England have a bowling attack which frightens Australia.
So, if Strauss wins the toss and conditions suit, he shouldn't be afraid of putting Australia in. Could there be a better way to start the series than by claiming five Aussie wickets in the first session?
Roll on tonight!