Vodafone Men's Ashes
Leach looks to Lyon's lead as England's key spinner
England spinner Jack Leach welcomes the likely attack from Australia's batters and has studied Lyon, Jadeja and Maharaj in Australian conditions for his pre-series planning
1 December 2021, 03:11 PM AEST
Jack Leach has studied how Nathan Lyon and the world's best left-arm spinners attack Australian conditions as he seeks to produce a triumph in the men's Vodafone Ashes even more memorable than that at Headingley in 2019.
Leach finished one not out and faced 17 deliveries in a final-wicket stand of 76 runs with Ben Stokes in Leeds, as England snatched a stunning victory over Australia.
As fate would have it, Leach's prospects of selection in next week's opening Test at the Gabba have been boosted immensely by allrounder Stokes' unexpected return from a finger injury and mental-health break.
Leach, one of several English players on their maiden Test tour of Australia, noted the 2019 series made him hungrier to play more of the sport's showpiece series.
The left-arm tweaker, who spent 2012-13 playing grade cricket in Brisbane, knows he will be hunted by Australia's top order and local fans.
But, as Lyon knows all too well, the prospect of batters trying to hit you out of the attack has an obvious upside.
"If they're playing shots, you know that there'll be chances," Leach said.
"I've got to see that as positive and I'm really looking forward to that challenge.
"For years I've watched Nathan Lyon and he's very impressive.
"Just how strong his stock ball is and on wickets that don't necessarily offer a lot spin-wise he's found ways to extract extra bounce, dip and all the other things.
"They're the kind of things that I've been trying to add in but still sticking to my strengths as well."
Fellow left-arm spinners Keshav Maharaj and Ravindra Jadeja's most recent tours of Australia have also formed part of Leach's Ashes preparation.
"I don't think he (Jadeja) did too much different to what he does in India," Leach said.
"That's another nice thing to see. He's taken what he does, is doing pretty similar things and having success.
"I also take a lot of confidence from bowling in England, against Australia in 2019."
Yet more rain ruined any hope of England starting their intra-squad game on Wednesday, meaning the tour squad has so far been restricted to 29 overs of match simulation.
According to Leach, captain Joe Root has instilled a siege mentality in the group regarding the less-than-ideal preparation.
Leach has also had a relatively tame reminder of what to expect from crowds this summer, albeit while dining with Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson.
"Some guy came up afterwards and started saying, 'I just want to wish you the worst of luck at the Gabba'," he said.
"That was quite funny. Then he said, 'it's going to be a green seamer'.
"I was thinking I'm not sure that's the best sledge to two of the greatest bowlers that England have ever had so I think they were very pleased about that."
Vodafone Men's Ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium