Steve Smith and David Warner: How England should bowl to Australian pair
Kumar Sangakkara suggests some plans bowling to Australia's top batsmen
Last Updated: 27/07/19 10:35am
England will renew their rivalry with David Warner and Steve Smith during the Ashes with Australia's premier batsmen back in Test whites for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal.
Smith ground England into the dirt in the 2017-18 Ashes series, which Australia won 4-0, as he scored 687 runs in five matches at an average of 137.40.
Warner impressed, too, with 441 runs at 63 and the outcome of this summer's series could largely depend on how quiet James Anderson and co are able to keep the Australia pair.
With that in mind, Kumar Sangakkara took to The Zone at Lord's to look at where England should bowl to Warner and Smith… Watch Kumar's analysis in the video above!
SANGA SAYS: "The general rule is pitch the ball within the stumps, middle and leg at most, and get it going across him. Warner is not your classical Test match opener; his feet don't move a lot. He likes to trust his hands and meet the ball, almost in one-day fashion, and create room for the bat to swing freely. What that means, especially if there is cloud cover, is that he is very susceptible to that line - he has a few issues with his trigger movement which mis-aligns him to the ball.
"His back foot moves to the leg side and creates a blind spot on leg stump, so you will find that bowling across him, even on a length or just back of a length, can cause him a lot of problems. He keeps his front leg out of the way so his bat always has access but if his front shoulder covers his eyeline too much he can fall into trouble. Short balls must also make use of the blind spot
"When Warner was just coming in, we [Sri Lanka] had conversations, even in T20, about bowling that leg-stump line and tucking him up. Forget third man, he really had problems with that blind spot. With the extra hardness of the Dukes ball and the movement in England, it could come into play. So send the message 'we think this is your weakness'. Have your slips covered, even a fielder catching at short point as when he pushes at it with hard hands the ball could go there."
SANGA SAYS: "[All of his movements before hitting the ball] are just noise. What happens before is just about trying to get your body into the best position to get into the ball and allow you to hit it as often as possible in the middle. He ends up in exactly the position he should be in as the bowler delivers the ball.
"You can talk about the bat being ag gully but I don't really care about that. His front shoulder always turns into the ball [as he plays his shot]. His movements are inconsistent but always with a singular purpose. He's not graceful but it's not wild and is very effective.
"You might be thinking a leg gully or leg slip first up because he looks to play a lot of the balls on the leg side. Anything that comes into him will automatically be worked into the leg side, so a couple of catchers there would be a good idea."
Watch the first Ashes Test, at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday.