Australia A Tour of England - Men's
Aussies plotting Ashes take-down of English lefties
Research and recent results point towards a specific path for success against the hosts' left-handers in the Ashes
Sam Ferris in Canterbury
12 July 2019, 12:19 PM AEST
Australia's backroom staff has crunched the numbers and devised a strategy to counter England's left-handed batsmen in the Ashes, according to seamer Jackson Bird.
Bird and his fellow Australia A fast bowlers operated from round the wicket to Sussex's left-handers and had great success in their comprehensive 10-wicket win this week in Arundel.
The right-armer reaped the benefits of the tactic late on day three when he found the outside edge of top-order left-handers Luke Wells and Delray Rawlins in the space of nine balls.
It's a strategy Australia's quicks look set to employ in the Ashes against England's lefties, such as allrounders Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.
"We've got some pretty handy stats the analysts have put together for us," Bird told cricket.com.au.
"A lot of the stats say bowling round the wicket to the left-handers over here is a lot more successful.
"We've haven't made a rule of it but we're pretty certain we'll start round the wicket to most left-handers and (on Tuesday) it worked pretty well.
"We'll look to do that in the next couple of weeks and I'm sure during the Ashes they'll employ a similar tactic."
While the Australians will have specific plans to each England batsman, Bird says the tactics could change depending on whether or not the Dukes ball is swinging.
"I think sometimes when you bowl round the wicket you can get a good angle going back into the left-hander where they think they have to play," he explained.
"And it can be a bit easier to bowl in the channel (outside off stump) and get challenging their defence, get them playing every ball from round the wicket.
"If the ball is swinging you certainly would bowl over the wicket and try and swing the ball back down the line, but when then ball is not swinging it's probably better bowling round the wicket.
"Then if you're taking the element of not trying to swing the ball too much out of it, most bowlers bowl better, so there could be a little bit of that as well."
Whether Bird uses that tactic in the Ashes will firstly depend on selection, but the 32-year-old made a strong start with match figures of 4-63 on Arundel.
Bird is set to retain his place for the Australia XI clash against the England Lions in Canterbury starting Sunday, with fellow pacemen Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson expected to be rested.
Only NSW's Trent Copeland bowled more overs than Bird last summer in the Sheffield Shield and the veteran expects to shoulder a heavy workload against a strong Lions outfit.
"I'm used to bowling a lot of overs at Tassie," he said. "This (the Sussex game) is probably the least amount of overs I've had to bowl in a game ever (so I'm) pretty happy with that.
"Not too sure what the team (to face the Lions) is going to be but you'd assume Josh and Patto will be rested to get ready for the game in Southampton.
"It might be a bigger load for me, 'Nes' (Michael Neser) and 'Duck' (John Holland) but 'Trem' (Chris Tremain) has been on the sidelines this week and been bowling really well in the nets.
"He'll come in and do a really good great job like he has been doing over the last couple of years for Victoria.
"It's something we're probably used to, bowling lots of overs, so next week will be no different."
Australia A tour of the UK
Get live scores and all the latest news from Australia A's tour of the UK on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Matthew Wade, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh (vc), D'Arcy Short, Kurtis Patterson, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Sean Abbott, Andrew Tye
Australia A four-day squad: Tim Paine (c), Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Travis Head (vc), Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Chris Tremain
July 13-16: Australian XI v England Lions, Canterbury
July 23-26: Australia v Australia A, Hampshire