Ashes begins in Brisbane

After being given three months to deal with the disappointment of another Ashes series loss, Australia have another shot at revenge against England starting in Brisbane today.

南宁桑拿

Australia is looking to protect an unbeaten record at the Gabba which dates back to 1986, while England is shooting for a fourth straight Ashes series triumph.

Captain Michael Clarke and allrounder Shane Watson are generally thought to be carrying the weight of expectations on their shoulders this Test. 

But according to cricketing legend Steve Waugh, Steve Smith is the key man for Australia this Ashes season.

The tourists are sweating on the fitness of wicketkeeper Matt Prior, while Australia is yet to confirm spinner Nathan Lyon’s place in the side.

Ian Bell’s series-defining performance during the last Ashes series is also looming front and centre as Australia plan for the England run-machine this time around.

But until further notice, the best they can come up with is to be more patient.

Australia have been open about plans to nick off Cook, bounce Trott and pitch up to Root.

But their bowling tip-sheet on Bell for the first Test in Brisbane is a little less dynamic.

The grand plan centres on beating the most stoic batsman in Test cricket at his finest strength.

Australian allrounder Shane Watson also believes the Gabba bounce will offer a stern test of Bell’s technique.

But if that doesn’t work, the home side are prepared to pop on the kettle, bring a good book and camp out for as long as it takes to bore a mistake out of England’s No.5.

Bell scored 562 runs at 62.44, with a century in each of England’s three wins during the last series in the UK.

Australia know they may need to play the waiting game before uncovering a weakness.

“We just have to be more patient than him,” Watson said.

“He is a very patient test batsman and knows his game very well. He has a very good defence.

“We have to find ways to try and expose certain parts of his technique … but also we need to be more patient than he is. 

That’s certainly where his game has developed and he has been very hard to dismiss.”

Overall, however, Bell has experienced mixed fortunes against Australia, especially in his two trips down under where it took him 10 Tests to make a breakthrough hundred in Sydney in 2011.

Leg-spin has proven a problem for Bell, with Shane Warne his earliest tormentor and Steve Smith dismissing him twice at Lord’s in July.

Even 20-year-old Victorianlegspinner James Muirhead had Bell’s measure last week in a tour match.

Test great Mark Waugh praised Bell as a better batsman than 100-Test man Kevin Pietersen, who he thought had really only excelled on flatter pitches.

Watson said the famous Gabba bounce would also test out Bell’s text-book batting

“Conditions are slightly different and that bit of bounce will test out his technique,” Watson said.

“He has a very good defence. We have to find ways to try and expose certain parts of his technique and that will be a very good challenge for us.

“He scored crucial runs (in the last series) when his team needed it.”

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