Aussie cricket coach Andrew McDonald hints how they’ll target England’s biggest weaknesses with ‘totally different’ tactics to what they’ll use against India in World Test Championship
- The Ashes begin in England on June 16
- Coach is confident of stopping ‘Bazball’
- Aussie bowlers prepared to go for runs
Australia are preparing to fight fire with fire in the Ashes, vowing not to be trapped into solely trying to slow England down and instead hoping the hosts’ aggression will cost them wickets.
The tourists have turned their focus to Wednesday’s World Test Championship final against India at The Oval, where a shot at a maiden long-format crown awaits Pat Cummins’ men.
But in the background, coaching staff have one eye on June 16 and attempting to find an answer to the Bazball revolution.
England sent a final reminder of their dynamic style in last week’s 10-wicket win over Ireland, as they rattled along at 6.36 per over with the bat.
With Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum as coach, four frontline English batsmen have scored at a strike-rate of more than 80 in the past 12 months.
England star Joe Root plays a reverse sweep in a Test against Ireland on June 2. The side will continue their attacking approach with the bat against Australia in the Ashes
England coach Brendon McCullum (left, pictured with skipper Ben Stokes during England’s Test win over Ireland last week) has got his side playing a type of Test cricket never seen before
Aussie coach Andrew McDonald played coy with reporters, but he is confident his side has an answer for ‘Bazball’
Australia’s coach Andrew McDonald would not detail the exact plan for England, but said his side would approach that Test series with ‘totally different’ tactics to those they’d employ against India.
But one thing they won’t be lured into doing is going on the defensive and adopting a Twenty20 cricket approach of trying to solely dry up England’s runs.
‘There’ll be a lot more dismissal options than a T20 game, where sometimes towards the back end it’s executing yorkers when the ball is travelling straight,’ McDonald said.
‘The red ball and in particular a Dukes ball will offer something, so we’ll be able to be creative enough with with the way that we use our fields.
‘Their modes of dismissal haven’t changed a lot. There hasn’t been a real big shift in the way that they get out.
‘So their vulnerabilities are still there. And we’ll look to expose those.’
Options could include having men on the boundary square of the wicket, or using unconventional field placements as genuine wicket-taking options.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins (pictured training ahead of the side’s World Test Championship final) and his fellow bowlers are prepared to concede more runs that usual if they are to conquer ‘Bazball’
Left-arm quick Mitch Starc may leak some runs, but he is one of the best wicket-taking options in Test cricket and will be vital for Australia
Australia have been the world’s most economical bowling team in recent years, regularly operating at between 2.7 and 3.0 runs per over as they strangle oppositions.
But in England, they are prepared for that rate to increase.
‘We pride ourselves on being relentless with the ball and controlling the tempo is one of our big themes,’ McDonald said.
‘The tempo may go up purely on the ground sizes, the speed of the outfield and the wickets flattening out.
‘So it may look slightly different to potentially the 2.8 that we usually operate at. It might go up. We’re prepared for that.
‘But it’s all going to be within the context of that game.
‘No doubt the scoring rate will be a little bit higher with the way that they play, but we’re hoping the balls-per-dismissal come down and then that way that evens out.’