DANGER SIGNS Australia make a huge Ashes selection blunder as Marnus Labuschran tries to play down tourists’ chances to fight back
Aussies are hopeful they won’t need spinners Moeen Ali has already had some success Labuschagne says wickets should be flat
Australia are hopeful that their decision not to play a spinner in Manchester will not backfire, believing the wicket at Old Trafford can buck the trend and produce fewer turns later in the game.
The decision to go into the fourth Ashes Test without a spinner also raised eyebrows on Wednesday, with Ricky Ponting surprised by the decision.
With Todd Murphy left out of the squad and no frontline spinner picked for the first time since January 2011, Australia will be forced to rely on Travis Head as their main tweaker.
Adding to the challenge for Australia is that they will bowl the last ball in the match, at a time when spin is usually the most prolific and the injured Nathan Lyon is a go-to option.
Worries were compounded when England spinner Moeen Ali managed to find some purchase outside the wicket, trapping Marnus Labuschagne LBW for 51 runs.
Australia will be hoping the decision not to pick a spinner at Old Trafford does no harm
England spinner Moeen Ali has already had some success, trapping Marnus Labuschagne.
But Labuschagne said he believed it could be the result of a thick grass cover to the left of the wicket, which would flatten out after play.
‘Because the wicket was undercover for a few days, it didn’t really have that rock-hardness,’ says Labuschagne.
‘And the grass is turning in clumps. So once that wears off, I think in the middle of the week it’s not really going to rotate that much.
‘It will be rough in the end, in the end, if the weather is good. But I think it will actually be less spin because the game is going from a good part of the wicket.’
Labuschagne was also adamant that Australia’s over-the-top batting had created no complacency, after being dismissed for 8-299 from 20 to 51 for six.
England again questioned Australia’s decision not to play a spinner on Wednesday, with Stuart Broad pointing out that Old Trafford is usually a place where spin is effective.
This came after Ponting also questioned the decision on commentary.
Ponting said during Moeen’s second spell, ‘I was still surprised they didn’t play with one.
Stuart Broad has questioned Australia’s decision, saying Old Trafford is generally good for spin
Australian great Ricky Ponting also questioned the decision to drop a spinner
‘Your choice is always to go with a spinner – unless you are good at weather forecasting and reading cricket pitches.
‘So if you don’t get one, you will find out very easily.’