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Simon Hughes: England can look forward to more grass and cheap wickets at Trent Bridge

31 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Simon Hughes: England can look forward to more grass and cheap wickets at Trent Bridge

The Australians are not used to inconsistent behaviour of the ball - their batting has been rumbled, says The Analyst

Six millimetres of grass is what it took. Half the height of a fingernail.

That is what the Edgbaston groundsman Gary Barwell left on the surface of the pitch to help the England bowlers. The way they have responded shows how grateful they were.

Six wickets for Jimmy Anderson in the first Australian innings. Five, so far, for Steve Finn in the second. The Australian batting has been seriously rumbled.

England will go 2-1 up in the series some time around lunchtime today.

8/11 – England to win the Ashes

The proud seam on the English-made Dukes balls grips on the furry covering of the pitch, and if the ball lands on the edge of the seam, it can deviate.

The live grass also helps the ball to bounce, and although the pace of the pitch is relatively slow, the ball carries through chest high to the wicketkeeper and the edges arrive at a nice height and pace for the slips.

It is this movement and bounce – and lack of pace – that has so discomforted the Australians. They are used to consistent behaviour of the ball.

On most Australian pitches, a short ball can be pulled or cut, while a fuller ball can be driven. A ball just outside off stump on a good length can be left safely.

Once you are in it is hard to get out. The same applied to the flat Lord’s track, which the Australian batsmen enjoyed immensely.

But on this mottled Edgbaston pitch you are never really in. Balls jag off the seam, bounce a touch more than you expect, or arrive slower when you are already through the shot.

It requires adjustment and selectivity. It is dangerous to go chasing runs.

The best score in the match is David Warner’s 77. There have been several other fifties but no one has been able to go on. That tells you that the pitch is not entirely trustworthy.

None of the Australian batsmen except Chris Rogers in the first innings – a man who has spent 12 summers here playing for different clubs and counties – and Warner have made much of a fist of it.

Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, made 10 and 3 and hasn’t managed a half century in 2015. He looks desperately out of touch.

And, after England win here, expect more grass and more cheap Australian wickets next week at Trent Bridge.

4/1 – England to win the series 3-1

The Ashes betting