England's Ashes series with Australia will see use of seamer-friendly balls
Last Updated: 08/05/19 3:01pm
England have paved the way for a bowler-friendly Ashes series by using an older Dukes ball with a more prominent seam during the Tests against Australia and Ireland.
The ECB has instructed manufacturer Dukes to produce 500-600 balls to the same specification used in the past two summers after deciding the 2019 design did not offer enough to pacemen.
The ball for this year's Specsavers County Championship was designed with the smaller seam at the behest of the ECB's Cricket Committee to bring better balance between bat and ball.
However, the ECB decided that the ball for international matches in the summer would be made to the same specification as those that were used in the 2017 and 2018 home Test programmes.
Ashley Giles, the managing director of England's men's cricket, has made it clear, however, his motivation was to produce good cricket, not maximising home advantage.
"People will say that, but that's why we want to be on the front foot. We didn't want to appear as though we were doing this underhandedly," he said.
"I've spoken to Cricket Australia, they were fine, and I've spoken to Cricket Ireland (who play at Lord's in July). It's our decision but it's important we made contact with them.
"It's not as though we're talking about playing against a bowling attack that isn't very good. The Aussies are quite handy themselves.
"There are elements of risk in choosing to go with this other ball. But clearly Jimmy Anderson is one of our best weapons, one of the best bowlers who has ever played the game, and we want to bring him into the game.
"We just want to be up front and honest."
Watch the Ashes live on Sky Sports Cricket from August 1.