Mitchell Starc claims he and his fellow Australia fast bowlers have left England confused as to what pitches to prepare this summer but believes whatever is served up for the third Ashes Test starting on Wednesday, the home batsmen will be jumping around once more.
All eyes have turned to the surface at Edgbaston, which exhibited a tinge of green on Monday, after Alastair Cook’s side were steamrollered for 103 in the space of 37 overs for an emphatic 405-run defeat in the second Test on a supposedly lifeless Lord’s surface.
The Warwickshire groundsman, Gary Barwell, has been using gro-lights confiscated from local cannabis growers by West Midlands police to aid his preparations for the Test and will be mindful that both Cook and England’s head coach, Trevor Bayliss, called for seaming pitches in the aftermath of that series-levelling defeat.
But whether Barwell delivers a track with bounce and seam movement or not Starc believes the extra pace in Australia’s attack puts the tourists in the ascendancy, especially after seeing Mitchell Johnson cause Moeen Ali problems with the short ball in the last Test.
‘They’re not really sure what they want to do now,’ Starc said. ‘Some of their team want batting-friendly wickets and that hasn’t helped them at Lord’s. They want to get their bowlers back in the game but we’ve got the pace as well. It doesn’t matter what they dish up. We’ve got all bases covered.
‘I am sure we will be following suit from what Mitch dished up at the end at Lord’s. It is great to see a few of the guys jumping about and we got a few wickets that way. To take 20 wickets on what was described by a few as pretty slow and dead was a good effort from all the bowlers.
‘We have got extra pace on our side.’
BELL OPTIMISTIC AFTER MOVING TO THREE
Ian Bell is hoping his move up to No 3 in the England batting order will give him the opportunity to score ‘big runs’ in the third Test against Australia at Edgbaston, his home ground.
Bell has had a disappointing Ashes series to date, contributing scores of one, 60, one and 11 in the first two Tests coming in at No4 and he has scored only one Test century in the last year.
That had led to speculation about Bell’s future but England have opted to stick with the 33-year-old Warwickshire man for this week’s third Test and have promoted him after Gary Ballance was dropped. – AP and The Guardian