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Simon Hughes: Glenn McGrath is wrong about Jimmy Anderson

07 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Simon Hughes: Glenn McGrath is wrong about Jimmy Anderson

The Analyst challenges Aussie legend's recent views on England bowler in his exclusive Ashes First Test preview

The great Glenn McGrath was keen to point out the other day that Jimmy Anderson, despite becoming England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, had yet to master bowling in ‘non-English’ conditions.

McGrath had not done his homework.

Anderson has taken 138 test wickets away from home and in Adelaide, Kolkata, Barbados and the UAE, to name four, has demonstrated his prowess in alien environments.

11/2 – Jimmy Anderson to be top match bowler (first test)

What McGrath might like to examine closely is Australia’s own bowlers records in English conditions. His own were peerless, of course (87 wickets at 19.34 apiece) but those of the likely attack in the first test at Cardiff are not impressive.

Mitchell Starc has 11 wickets in England @ 32.45, Mitchell Johnson 23 wickets @ 37.79 and off-spinner Nathan Lyon 9 wickets @ 33.66. Hardly match-winning stats those (though Starc is in the form of his life.) Josh Hazlewood hasn’t played in England before.

All, apart from Lyon, rely on banging the ball hard into the pitch and, principally, using old-ball (reverse) swing rather than the conventional variety. England rewards mainly full-length bowling with a hint of swing. Which Anderson, of course, excels at (256 test wickets in England @ 26.77.)

That said, it is a moot point whether the tests will be played in typical ‘English’ conditions.

There is very little moisture in the grounds after the recent heatwave, and groundsmen have been keeping the covers on the pitches to stop them cracking up.

Cardiff’s test pitch is usually dry and white and pleasant to bat on. It has good ‘carry.’

This could play into Australia’s hands.

Their bowlers will utilize barren-type surfaces better than England’s. Especially now that the waspish Ryan Harris has retired (24 wickets in England @ 19.58 bowling a fuller length than most Australians) England will be hoping that the damp, changeable weather forecast for this week in Cardiff, persists throughout the series.

Where Australia’s bowlers will have an advantage is against the lower order. Starc is likely to produce the quickest ball of the match – in the region of 93mph – and this extra hostility could be vital in polishing off innings. England’s inability to do the same has cost them a number of winning positions.

7/2 – Mitchell Starc to be top match bowler (first test)

On a ground where England’s last pair – Anderson and Panesar – famously held up Australia for 11 overs to secure a series-defining draw in 2009, it could be the respective outputs of each team’s last four wickets that is decisive in this test.

Australia have the edge, but the weather may hold the key.

The Ashes First Test betting:

3/1 – England

10/11 – Australia

13/5 – The Draw

Read more on the Ashes:

Simon Hughes: England might need a batting re-think if they are to combat Australia’s pace threat > >

Dean Wilson: Time to be poor hosts > >