Nielsen - King of swing to win
Australia's Tim Nielsen has pinpointed the mastery of reverse swing as the key to Ashes success.
Last Updated: 06/07/09 9:58am
Australia coach Tim Nielsen has pinpointed the mastery of reverse swing bowling as the key to success in the battle for the Ashes.
Nielsen feels Australian paceman Brett Lee and his England counterpart James Anderson will be significant performers in the series, should that facet of the game come to the fore in the opening Test, which starts on Wednesday.
Lee showed he is fully rehabilitated after ankle surgery over the winter by capturing seven wickets against the England Lions at Worcester.
And Anderson has emerged as one of England's most consistent and leading bowlers in the absence of the now fit-again Andrew Flintoff.
"I think reverse swing will play a big part," Nielsen said. "Brett bowled it so well in the first innings at Worcester. He bowled a very impressive spell of 90 miles an hour plus fast bowling with the ball reversing in.
"That is his big strength when the ball starts to do that, especially with his pace. He has done it well in the past and Anderson does a good job with it for England.
"If the ball stops swinging naturally, the idea is to try and get it going reverse as quick as you can. With fast outfields and flat wickets, you need something happening otherwise good batsmen will get a lot of runs. I think it will play a huge part."
Nielsen is also confident paceman Mitchell Johnson can rediscover his most devastating form, despite looking rusty in the warm up match.
"Mitchell definitely got better against the Lions. His pace was up. He was able to go over and around the wicket which is a good sign for his rhythm," Nielsen added.
"He got the ball through nicely and worked out a couple of things from the first innings that hadn't worked quite right.
"He is coming along nicely and, with a couple of run-outs in the nets under his belt on Monday and Tuesday, he will be primed and ready for the Test match.
"We have had the balancing act of getting some miles into his legs but also making sure when the Ashes came around he was physically right and had the skills right.
"We planned for him to be where he is. It is just as important he is going as well at the end of the second Test as he is at the end of the first."
Australia are due in the nets at Cardiff's Swalec Stadium on Monday as they step up preparations for Wednesday.