Former Australian pace bowler Jason Gillespie has pointed out that spin, and not seam bowling, is England’ biggest concern in the ongoing Ashes series after the tourists lost the opening Test at The Gabba by nine wickets.
While England pacers Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson and Chris Woakes were economical to an extent, 30-year-old left-arm spinner Jack Leach bled runs, conceding 102 first-innings runs in 13 overs at an economy rate of nearly eight.
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Gillespie said that Leach was “always going to be pummelled at the Gabba” and Dom Bess will face a similar punishment if he is included for the second Test in Adelaide, as Australians can handle finger spinners nicely.
“The biggest bowling concern for Joe Root is not in the seam department. It’s what they’re going to do with regards to spin. Australians always have and always will take on finger spin because it doesn’t offer a hell of a lot. The policy is to go hard at it,” Gillespie said in his column for dailymail.co.uk on Sunday.
“You didn’t have to be Einstein to see that Jack Leach would be lined up to be pummelled. He’s not a big turner of the ball; the Gabba doesn’t have huge straight boundaries, so of course the Australians were looking to belt him,” added Gillespie, who played 71 Tests for Australia, taking 259 wickets.
Gillespie’s prediction for 24-year-old right-arm spinner Dom Bess wasn’t encouraging either, with the 46-year-old former pacer saying he can expect the same treatment from the Australian batters in the pink-ball Test in Adelaide if he is included.
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“If Dom Bess comes in, he can expect the same treatment. I can’t comprehend why wrist-spinner Mason Crane wasn’t picked for Australian conditions.”
Gillespie showered praise on Australian spinner Nathan Lyon who crossed 400 Test wickets in The Gabba Test, taking four second-innings wickets, which restricted England to 297.
“As a finger spinner, Nathan Lyon is an outlier. He is one of the greats of the game as a 400-wicket bowler, but even then they only come around every 67 balls. So Root has something to think about there,” added Gillespie.
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