Copeland haul sounds Ashes warning

NSW seamer's success on grassy Adelaide pitch marks encouraging signs for England attack ahead of second Test

England's first Ashes hurdle might be Brisbane's Gabba where Australia have not surrendered a Test match in almost 30 years, but conditions for the second battle in Adelaide are likely to suit their seam bowlers like it's a second home.

That's the informed opinion of former Australia quick Trent Copeland who not only boasts first-hand experience in England's county competition, but revelled in the seamer friendly conditions at Adelaide Oval in yesterday's JLT Sheffield Shield fixture where he claimed his best bowling return in two years.

Watch all 10 South Australia wickets

Copeland dismantled South Australia on the opening day of the Shield game, his 6-24 from more than 13 overs skittling the West End Redbacks for 92 in little more than a session.

The 31-year-old likened the combination of a grassed pitch, lacquered pink ball with its more pronounced seam and the unique atmospherics of cricket under lights as the sort of environment England will immediately recognise and embrace when they arrive for the first day-night Ashes Test in early December.

And Copeland claims that if his style of bowling – full of length, targeting the stumps and with movement in either direction off the seam – was able to upstage Australia's Ashes strike pair Mitchell Starc (2-46) and Pat Cummins (2-22) yesterday, then England's pace attack will likely prove more than problematic.

"They (England) are going to be really hard work here," Copeland said after day one which the Blues finished 5-153 and holding a lead of 61 runs.

"Guys like (James) Anderson and (Stuart) Broad, bowling around the wicket to a lot of our lefties and swinging the ball both ways.

"Even someone like Chris Woakes who pitches the ball up and swings it.

"I think they are pretty well suited all around the country to be honest, but here in particular it's going to be very much like English conditions.

"It's challenging if you can bowl around the off stump, with a little bit (of seam movement) either way it gives you rewards if you're in control of that.

"And no matter what pace you bowl, you can be successful."

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Copeland's assessment will come as a sobering prospect for an Australian line-up that is expected to include at least six left-handers in the starting XI, and which has historically struggled against quality seam bowling in helpful conditions.

Against South Africa in Hobart last summer, Steve Smith's team was knocked over for 85 and 161 triggering a radical revamp of personnel.

And Australian cricket still suffers painful flashbacks from that first morning at Trent Bridge in the 2015 Ashes campaign when they were humiliated by Broad (8-15) and dismissed for 60 before lunch.

While Australia's players boast more experience than England using the pink ball under floodlights, having staged two day-night Tests to their rivals' one, in both of those they have been challenged by bowlers not dissimilar to Copeland in terms of accuracy and execution.

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New Zealand seamer Doug Bracewell (who took 3-18 from 12 overs in the inaugural pink ball Test in 2015) and South Africa's slightly taller and quicker Kyle Abbott (3-49 from 29 overs last year).

Test captain Steve Smith confirmed earlier this week that the preparation of the pitch for the second Ashes Test starting on December 2 will be very similar to that used in the current Shield fixture, upon which 15 wickets fell yesterday.

Which should prove a boon for bowlers who are familiar with and capable of exploiting England-like conditions, Copeland believes.

"It certainly helps me in that scenario, because I don't bowl fast," he said.

"The threat is there either side of the bat, and challenging the front pad – exactly like it is in England.

"I think the pink balls around the country have behaved like that, wickets fall in clumps particularly at night when the ball swings around a bit more.

"But obviously the wicket here (Adelaide) has been more conducive to seam bowling in the last couple of years than it ever has been.

"There's more live grass left on it for the pink ball, so that obviously helps."

Copeland's decisive spells yesterday and the experience and expertise he has added to his repertoire since he played the only three Tests of his career in 2011 might suggest his name could come up for discussion when selectors mull over their Ashes squad.

For the second Test in Adelaide, at the very least.

But the right-armer, who now has 269 first-class wickets at 25.77 in his 72nd appearance, accepts that his opportunities to re-fit the Baggy Green Cap he received and wore on the tour of Sri Lanka six years ago have effectively passed.

"I'm a realist, and I realise that my style of bowling has not been in the forefront of selectors' minds for a while now," Copeland said last night.

"But that doesn't stop me.

"I'm very thankful that I'm in a position to walk on to this ground (Adelaide Oval) with a baggy blue (NSW) cap on my head, any day.

"So if that's as far as I go, I've still got a Test cap in my closet and I'm very thankful for every chance I get.

"And particularly in a team like this (full-strength NSW outfit), to be selected.

"That was a goal of mine when all the Aussies (Test players) were available for the first three Shield games."

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21