Spin will play a crucial role in the forthcoming Ashes series. This prominence of the slow men seemed unthinkable when Shane Warne retired to leave a massive hole in Australia’s bowling stocks and it is some time since an English tweaker made an impact downunder.
However, the rapid development of Nathan Hauritz and Graeme Swann over the last 18 months means it is no exaggeration to say they are the key bowlers on each side. Hauritz’s recent travails in India have prompted many to install England as favourites in the basis of this private duel.
Hauritz took six wickets at 65 in the two-Test series on the subcontinent, but Cricket Betting pundits are first to admit that this hardly represents a bad patch. The masterful batting of Sachin Tendulkar and co has blunted many a visiting spin attack and Hauritz was making his comeback after a long injury lay-off.
His form before the foot injury struck was impressive. Hauritz took 29 wickets in his six home Tests last winter and was the match-winning bowler in the three-match series against Pakistan. He knows how to get the best out of Australian wickets and was successful in last year’s Ashes before being harshly dropped.
However, Swann’s development has been even more impressive. He is by far the highest wicket-taker in Tests this year and as the world’s best spin bowler deserves to be the focal point of his team’s attack. He can contain and attack and is now
experienced enough to deal with the expected Aussie plan to attack him.
Only once has an English spinner taken five wickets in an innings downunder in the last three tours and some see it as a sign of the pace bowlers’ weakness that spin is England’s main weapon. Swann is indeed the visitors’ biggest threat, and with good reason. More five wicket hauls should follow and if he out bowls Hauritz, then the Cricket Odds could well back the urn to stay in English hands.