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How Australia can dismiss every English batsman

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Roar Guru
7th December, 2021
15

The Ashes series is about to commence, and there is no doubt that if England are to be extremely competitive, their batsman will need to score runs against one of the best bowling attacks in the world.

The Australian bowlers are experienced and highly skilful. They would have sat back in the last few days and conjured up plans for each of the England batsman.

Here is a dossier on how the England batsman.

Rory Burns

Technique
A strong bottom-hand grip and a bat face so shut he starts his downswing. The bat path goes from behind his back shoulder, across to third slip and then towards the ball.

Strength
The bat plane and the bottom-hand grip make it easy for Burns to hit balls that pitch even on off stump to be eased into the leg side. He sits back on the crease, so he will feast on anything short outside off stump.

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Weakness
The bat is always coming across the line of the ball at times and he does get squared up easily. He also has the tendency early in this innings to plant his front foot across the crease.

Plan
With the new ball Australia will push the ball across Burns from the line of middle stump from back or short of the length. Burns is prone to getting squared up and edging into the cordon. Once the ball is 20 overs old expect Australia to bang the ball short and on the line of leg stump into his armpit with a short leg and a leg gully. Australia will also try to bowl around the wicket on the line of seventh or eighth stump, forcing Burns to hit into his weak zone, which is cover.

England batsman Rory Burns

Rory Burns (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Haseeb Hameed

Technique
He stands tall and has minimal trigger movement. He does like to go deep in his crease and shift across towards the off-stump. He has supple wrists which combine well with a high back lift to generate power to work the ball into gaps square of the wicket.

Strength
Anything on the line of the stumps and he will milk you through the leg side with ease. He is also a terrific square cutter and a late cutter of the ball. Third man or point is a very productive region.

Weakness
He doesn’t pose a strong pull or hook shot. He can be late coming forward to a fuller length and ends up jabbing at the fuller balls. His hands tend to get low while defending on the front foot, leading to the ball sitting the splice of the bat and going to the cordon.

Plan
Expect the Australian quicks to push him back on the line of fourth stump and then bowl a slighter fuller length, which Hameed is prone to jab at. Since he doesn’t pull or hook, expect plenty of short bowling at the hips, with a short leg and a leg gully in place. Instead of ducking, he likes to ride the short ball, which is always a dangerous option in Australia. Watch for Lyon to Test those low hands as he comes forward to defend. Short leg will be in action.

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Dawid Malan

Technique
He stands upright and has minimal foot movement. As he takes the bat up and brings it down the face remains open at times. He prefers to stay deep in the crease to defend good length balls off the back foot.

Strength
He’s an excellent player of the horizontal bat shots, especially the square cut. He has ample patience and can score on both sides of the pitch equally efficiently.

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Weakness
The open face comedown means that at times he gets squared up, especially to full balls on the line of off stump. The spin of Nathan Lyon can cause him plenty of problems as he shuts the back of the bat.

Plan
Australian pacers will bowl around the wicket to him from the outset. Mitchell Starc could trouble him early with the inswinger or the full ball, as he does close his bat face to hit the ball through square leg.

Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will set him up for the ball that is released wider on the crease from around the wicket, as Malan is often crease bound, and while defending off the back foot he does leave a gap between bat and pad. Lyon will make Malan hit through midwicket to try to get the outside edge. Expect Lyon to bowl straighter to Malan than any other English batsman.

Dawid Malan bats in the Ashes

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Joe Root

Technique
He spent the lockdown period modifying his trigger movement. Instead of going back and slightly across, Root now tends to just hold and look to come forward. This small change has enabled him to stay side-on at impact. He stands tall and has high hands while defending off the front and back foot.

Strength
He has all the shots, and it can be difficult to tie him down. He is extremely good at dropping the ball at his feet and running the quick singles to ensure the strike is rotated.

Weakness
He loves to drive or punch off the back foot, and while that is his strength on the faster and bouncier Australian pitches, it can lead to edges or uppish drives in the gully area. He plays the pull shot, but it’s not his preferred method of scoring.

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Plan
Australia in the last two Ashes series have pushed him back with outswingers and then nipped on back to trap him in front of the stumps. Root’s new trigger movement has ensured he has overcome that issue on the slower English pitches. Expect Australia to try that option first up.

Australia will also be desperate not to give him boundaries early on. Root averages over 50 when he gets a boundary in the first 20 balls and just 30 when he doesn’t hit the early boundary. Lyon will also need to bowl a fraction fuller, as in the past Root has had success against Lyon by playing him back and picking up easily single on both sides of the wicket.

England batsman Joe Root reacts after being dismissed

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ben Stokes

Technique
He has a very simple and fine technique. He stands tall and has a slight trigger movement that is back and across, but at the same time he is always looking to come forward. He has a lovely cocking of the wrist as he starts his downswing that enables him to generate a lot of power, and he’s sweet with his timing.

Strength
Like Joe Root, he has all the shots in his bag. He can hit balls from outside the off stump through the leg side with ease and will punish anything that is short or remotely full. A lot is spoken about Stokes’s attack, but his defence off front and back feet is immaculate. Add to that that he plays spin well but uses his feet, playing back and also executing the sweep.

Weakness
He has the tendency to come hard at the ball while attacking and defending. He can at times look to hit the ball too square on the leg side, resulting in falling over and getting LBW to the full ball angled towards his stumps.

Plan
At the start Australia will bowl a lot from around the wicket and pack a leg side field to stop him from getting off to a flying start. Look for Cummins and Hazlewood to push him back and then Starc to throw a wider sucker ball.

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Australia will also adopt a short-ball tactic with three men deep on the leg side knowing Stokes will try and take it on. Expect Lyon to bowl fuller and keep the ball in Stokes’s eye line from around the wicket. Stokes has scored 70 per cent of his runs against Lyon off the back foot, so the Australian spinner has to bowl fuller.

Ben Stokes hits a six.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ollie Pope

Technique
Small in stature, Pope stands with his feet wide apart and likes to get behind the line of the ball. His hands on the bat are wide apart, which enables him to manoeuvre the ball with ease.

Strength
He likes the ball to come to him and to play with soft hands. This makes him a real busy player, as he can rotate the strike with ease. Since he stays behind the line of the ball he can use the split grip on the bat to flick the ball towards leg side. He can ease through the leg side with that strong bottom hand anything that is full on the line of the stumps.

Weakness
Since he is short and likes to stay behind the lines of the ball, the bounce on the Australian wickets will test his defence. Also, with the wider stance, his front foot stride is often not towards the bowler but more so across the stumps, making him an LBW candidate.

Plan
Cummins and Hazlewood will make him come forward to defend on the front foot on the line of fifth stump. Pope has a tendency to push hard at balls way outside his eye line and even Starc’s angle can lead him to edge balls that are way outside the line of the off stump.

Pope also plays inside the line of the delivery, which makes the straighter ball from Lyon extremely dangerous. Also, a bit of a compulsive hooker or a puller and Australia is bound to test him if he can negotiate through the early stages.

Ollie Pope of Surrey picks up a run

(Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Jonny Bairstow

Technique
He has a strong base, stands tall and shuffles slightly across the stumps. He has high hands and likes to keep his head on the line of fourth stump.

Strength
He has really fast hands through the line of the ball. He’s a strong driver of the ball down the ground. Anything with a fraction of width and back of the length he can cash square-cut efficiently. He’s a good player of the short ball and has the capability of hitting length balls through square leg with the horizontal bat.

Weakness
While he is a strong driver, he doesn’t have a large front-foot stride. This makes him vulnerable to a ball that is bowled from wide of the crease or one that just jags off the seam. He can hit the ball uppishly through square leg.

Plan
Australia will force him to drive through the covers on the rise. Expect Cummins and Hazlewood to bowl around the fifth stump line and force Bairstow to drive on the rise to the ball wide outside his eye line. Cummins will be the man to jag the ball back from wide of the crease and expose the lack of front-foot stride.

Australia Old Trafford Ashes win.

(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Jos Buttler

Technique
He has a strong base with minimal footwork. Buttler squats low at the time the ball is delivered and prefers to stay beside the line of the ball so he can free his hands to hit through the off side.

Strength
He has fast hands through the ball and terrific hand-eye coordination. His extremely strong wrists enable him to power the ball through the off side and through the midwicket region.

Weakness
He has minimal foot movement and an eagerness to lay bat on ball. He Also has a tendency to constantly hit balls that are angled towards him through the off side rather than play with the angle and the line of the ball.

Plan
Australia cannot give him any sort of width. Expect Australia to angle the ball in towards Buttler on the line of off stump or even middle. Then try to get one to jag one away from a fraction fuller length. Stop the boundaries and Buttler is likely to have a waft or try an overly ambitious stroke. Expect Lyon to apply a strong on-side field and force Buttler to play against the spin through the cover region.

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