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Friday, June 26, 2009

Ashes 2009 : Spin battle centre of Ashes build-up

It is perhaps ironic that in the first Ashes series in more than 15 years without Shane Warne, undoubtedly the best spinner of his generation, the spinning ball would be the centre of attention as the war of words gathers pace ahead of the much anticipated 2009 Ashes series.

The arguments began when rumors spread about the likelihood of Cardiff’s pitch, the location of the opening test on July 8th, being kind to spin.

England, with Graeme Swann ably supported by Adil Rashid or Monty Panesar, could go with a twin spin attack against the Aussies, maximizing the advantage. The tourists, however, only have one spinner in their ranks, Nathan Hauritz, who is relatively inexperienced with only four tests under his belt.

He had the chance to respond in Hove this week as the tourists warmed-up for the opener in less than three weeks. However Hauritz struggled, limping to 0-98 off 18 overs. Australia have since gone on a charm offensive with coach Tim Nielsen claiming a twin spin attack from England will pile the pressure on them rather than the tourists. Ricky Ponting also waded in, claiming he has plenty of men in his line-up who can tweak a ball or too.

Also this defensive talk from the Aussies is very encouraging from an English point of view; however we mustn’t be over confident. Away from spin they still have an imposing pace quartet of Siddle, Lee, Clark and Hilfenhaus, and after all didn’t people predict a tight and competitive series in 2006/07?

England can perhaps claim the first moral victory in what is only a preview to the main event next month. But far tougher challenges lie ahead and once that first ball is bowled in anger, all the chat and banter spoken beforehand will be forgotten.

Make sure you keep up-to-date with the Ashes odds so you can make an informed 2009 ashes bet and if you want to get in the betting mood, check out Betfair's fanvfan site.

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