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Simon Hughes: England should be unstoppable with Finn and Broad

05 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Simon Hughes: England should be unstoppable with Finn and Broad

Even without Jimmy Anderson, England’s seam attack is superior to Australia’s - they should regain the Ashes, says The Analyst

England should win the fourth Test at Trent Bridge and thus regain the Ashes.

Their recent form – WLWLWLW – suggests they are due a loss, but the signs are that the cycle will be broken this week.

Apart from the one-sidedness of Lord’s, where they lost a vital toss on a flat pitch and the ball paid homage to Australian bats for nearly two days, England have appeared the better side.

And, looking at the Trent Bridge pitch – dry but with a decent covering of grass when I surveyed it on Tuesday afternoon – it will be similar to Edgbaston where Australia were bowled out for 136 and 265.

9/4 – England to beat Australia and regain the Ashes

Jimmy Anderson will be missing for the first time in a Test match for three years, which would have been a worry last year.

But with the resurgent Steven Finn and the fresh Mark Wood to back up the consistent Stuart Broad, England’s seam attack is superior to Australia’s misfiring unit.

Mitchell Johnson blows hot and cold, Mitchell Starc is erratic and Josh Hazlewood looks tired.

Their best bowler in the last match was Mitchell Marsh. The spinner Nathan Lyon is decent, too, but now that England have more right-handers than left (6:5) he won’t bowl them out.

Apart from improved rhythm and therefore confidence, Finn has added another dimension to his game: outswing. He never had that before – he was a bouncy bowler who mainly nipped it back into right handers.

After a slight adjustment to his grip and a better wrist position, he is now shaping the ball away from right handers. It was the source of his eight wickets at Edgbaston and it wasn’t a fluke.

He was doing it in practice on Monday and has been for a while. It makes a huge difference to a bowler’s mentality.

Once you have that consistent away movement, there is less pressure on maintaining your length. Even a swinging half-volley can be a dangerous ball and the batsmen are much more wary of playing attacking shots.
With this in his armoury, Finn should soon take the two wickets he needs to get to 100 in Tests (from what will be just 25 matches).

Series Special: Who will be Steven Finn’s 100th victim?

His strike rate of a wicket every 46.2 balls is the fourth best of any world bowler in the last 100 years who has played more than 20 tests.

The only men ahead of him in the list are Dale Steyn (41.5), Waqar Younis (43.4) and Shoaib Akhtar (45.7.) It is exalted company.

It is significantly ahead of Stuart Broad (57.6 balls per wicket), who needs just one victim to become only the fifth English bowler to take 300 Test wickets.

Series Special: Who will be Stuart Broad’s 300th victim?

Apart from in England’s second innings at Lord’s, the Australian bowlers haven’t really got it together.

Their two ace marksmen – Johnson and Starc – are taking their wickets in this series at over 30 and Hazlewood doesn’t seem to be able to sustain his consistency.

All the bowlers apart from Marsh are leaking runs at 3.5 an over and Trent Bridge is a fast-scoring ground. The game can quickly get away from you in the field.

If England can take early wickets – Chris Rogers (solid but susceptible to lbw from round the wicket) and Steve Smith are the key – there doesn’t seem too much likely to stop them getting on top again.

The Ashes fourth Test betting

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