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“I think the challenge will be less for the English this time because they have guys who have been here before and the nucleus of the team have had success here before”
Brisbane groundsman Kevin Mitchell jr has announced that the pitch at the Gabba may suit England more than it does Australia.
Mitchell revealed that the pitch was likely to offer a little more assistance to spin bowlers than normal, which could potentially be good news for England off-spinner Graeme Swann.
However, this could also be good news for Australia as they will now be tempted to include off-spinner Nathan Lyon in their final XI instead of pace bowler James Faulkner.
Brisbane is generally known to be a paradise for pace bowlers, as well as a batsman’s dream once the pitch has settled.
“I think the challenge will be less for the English this time because they have guys who have been here before and the nucleus of the team have had success here before,” Mitchell said. “That should probably help them.”
Mitchell also noted that both teams can expect another high scoring affair if the bowlers fail to take wickets early on.
“It did tend to flatten out a bit (in 2010),” he said. “This will have a bit more pace and bounce.
“But if you don’t take your opportunities with the ball early and drop catches it is going to be a long time in the field.”
Speaking about the conditions in Brisbane, legendary England captain David Gower said: “In home conditions, Australia tend to know a little bit more about it than visiting teams who can come to the Gabba a bit cold if they haven’t had a great warm up.
“It is slightly alien conditions and there’s normally a bit of bounce in the pitch and that’s often enough to get home players up and running. England, last time, weren’t up to speed for the first couple of days but they got away with it by making 1,000s in the second innings but you can’t rely on that all of the time.
“But let’s face it – everyone tends to feel their way into the series a little bit. If it does click into place, as it did in 1986-87, then that’s absolutely great. If it takes a day or two longer, then you just have to work around it.”
With the pitch at the Gabba expected to be more spin-friendly than usual, Australia captain Michael Clarke hinted that he was leaning towards including Lyon in Australia’s squad for the first Test.
“I think it is going to offer pace and bounce for the bowlers, and that includes spin,” Clarke said.
Australia opening batsman David Warner is hoping that the pitch conditions “cloud” England’s “mind and judgement”.
“They think too much about the bounce and the pace, and a little bit of sideways movement,” Warner said. “I don’t think you have anything to fear when you walk out here but if you think about it, it does cloud your mind and judgement.”