Australia’s decision to leave Mitchell Johnson out of their Ashes squad may have surprised a few, but given the way left-handed fast bowlers have aided Graeme Swann in England’s second Test with New Zealand, this may prove a smart move.
The footmarks created by the follow-throughs of New Zealand quicks Trent Boult and Neil Wagner have been ruthlessly exploited by Swann and have made him far more of a danger when bowling at right-handed batsmen than was previously deemed the case.
Swann has always been considered a greater threat at left-handed batsmen, taking 102 wickets against them at an average of 26.17 and this boded well for the Ashes as the majority of Australia’s top-order batsmen are left-handed.
Meanwhile, he has taken more wickets of left-handers than any other England bowler liable to make their Ashes squad.
However, if Swann wants to be England’s top wicket-taker in the Ashes, which can be backed at 7/2, dismissing the tail would take on added incentive and most of these are right-handed.
Given that a far greater number of Test cricketers are right-handed, Swann’s current return of 118 wickets at 33.74 is not especially spectacular.
But what the clash with New Zealand at Headingley has shown is that he could pose a greater threat if getting the ball to turn out of footholes created by left-handed fast bowlers.
Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner fulfil this criteria for Australia even despite Johnson’s absence and the former at least looks a likely starter.
Therefore, if England are bowling in the fourth innings of a Test and Starc has got through a decent number of overs in his two contributions with the ball, the conditions should suit Swann in wreaking havoc among the Aussie tail.
After sending most of the left-handed recognised batsmen back to the pavilion first of course.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication