Aussies working on reverse swing

Australia’s fast bowlers will be fine-tuning their reverse swing skills during this week’s four-day match Pakistan A in Sharjah, which starts on Wednesday.

During the first two one-day games of the series between the two countries, Australian spearhead Mitchell Johnson was able to get the ball to “reverse”, but achieving the same feat with a red ball in what is likely to be spin-friendly pitches is a more challenging prospect.

With the first Test starting in Dubai on 22 October, gaining as much experience with the red ball in the hot and humid conditions will be crucial to Australia’s chances of leaving the United Arab Emirates with a series in hand.

“We got the ball to reverse there a little bit which helped,” Johnson said after Australia’s victory in the second One Day International (ODI) on Friday.

“That definitely helps in these conditions with those kinds of batters used to these slower, spinning wickets.”

Johnson admitted that the ball simply doesn’t swing conventionally in the UAE and the bowlers have to come up with other ways to get the ball to move through the air.

“Once we saw that, we bowled a few cross-seamers and tried our very best to get one side rough and we were able to do that,” Johnson added.

“India do it [bowl cross seam]. South Africa did it last series.

“South Africa’s Wayne Parnell opened the bowling in the one of the games against us and he bowled cross-seam the whole time when he probably could have actually swung the ball.

“In these conditions when there’s nothing happening as a fast bowler, you’ve got to try to get something out of it.

“If we can get some reverse-swing, we’ll do everything we can, if it has to be from ball one to hold the ball cross-seam.

“We’ve got a four-day game so that will be a time to test to see what we can get.”

This week’s four-day game will be a 15-a-side affair, although the 16th man in the Aussie squad James Faulkner is there on standby for Mitchell Marsh, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.