In this Ashes 2019 series Australia regularly employed at least 5 left handers in their playing XI. Overall seven players participated in 3 tests including two bowlers.
In this series Australian left-handers have been victims of LBW, bowled, low scores and targeted around the wicket consistently. Interestingly for England, so far their left-handers are their top run-scorer in this series.
Usually it is easy for left-hander to face a right-arm fast bowler, but they become vulnerable when bowlers switch their angle to bowling around the wicket. In 2005 England employed this method very successfully. In that series it was reverse swing, late swing and release point was above/wider sight screen. England had tall bowlers with similar action (Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison) (Mathew Hoggard Simon Jones)with varying pace.
Infact nowadays bowling around the wicket is a regular norm in test cricket.
In ongoing Ashes series in every over there is 1 or 2 ball that is bowled around the wicket!. The overall damage is 29.91% of total wickets have been victims of around-the-wicket bowling, with Australia losing 41.51% and England 18.52 %!.
So far Ashes has been low scoring series, and credit goes to hostile fast bowling who have dictated most sessions of this series.
Both teams have lost maximum of their wickets(10) in first 10 overs of their innings. The new ball has caused lot of damage. The shine of Dukes ball lasts much longer than other brand. Along with this there is a new trend of cross-seam grip used by fast bowlers. This skill was initially used in ODIs when white ball would lose its shine, and bowlers would use cross seam to reverse or have unpredictable movement. Now they have mastered this skill with new red ball!
Here is a stats table of above analysis.
- Low scores – single figure(including zero) dismissals for batsmen.
From above table it is very clear that England bowlers had upper hand over Australia’s left-handed batsmen. England had 6 left-handers but only Rory Burns bats at the top and Ben Stokes bats either at No.5 or below.
Australians have David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris at top three position, then Matthew Wade and Travis Head in middle order. The tail is occupied by Pattinson and Hazlewood.
Now let us see how these left-handers progressed match by match.Below i have only used 3 indicators to measure their performance. Runs/inns, St.Rate and scoring Rate.
As the series progressed Australian left-hander batsmen would get dismissed cheaply. England didn’t have similar problem with their left-handers, as they have only two recognized batsmen(Burns and Stokes) in their playing XI. Moeen Ali was dropped after 1st Test.