Katich - Swing holds the key
Aussie left-hander banking on 2005 experience
By Joe Drabble. Last Updated: 23/06/09 8:37am
Katich: Wary of swing
Australia batsman Simon Katich has highlighted the threat of England's seamers ahead of the upcoming Ashes series.
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Katich endured a tour to forget in 2005, averaging just 27 in the Australian middle-order as the baggy greens went down to a 2-1 series defeat.
England's formidable swing bowling attack proved decisive during that dramatic series four years ago, and Katich expects the moving ball to play a significant part once again this summer.
"We've not sat down as yet and gone through all that sort of stuff, but I think the bottom line is that the ball does swing here depending on the overhead conditions and we know that," said Katich.
"It's something we're definitely going to have to counter as batsmen before the first Test.
"There's no doubt we'll be talking about that, but also try to put it into practice in the next couple of weeks at Hove and at Worcester."
While Australia struggled to match the swing threat from England in 2005, this year they have a player in left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson who is more than capable of unsettling the home batsmen.
The Aussies also have another weapon at their disposal in bowling coach Troy Cooley - the man who helped England exploit the swing-friendly conditions to such devastating effect four years ago.
"If it's overcast the ball will swing around normally and if it's dry and the wicket's abrasive then the ball definitely reverses here as well," said Katich.
"A lot will depend on the conditions but both teams will be looking to try and exploit that.
"Mitchell is definitely swinging the ball away from the left-hander and that is a positive for us."
Katich, who has now re-invented himself as an opener and has averaged 54.19 in his last 15 Tests in that position, will play a key role in helping Australia combat England's new-look attack.
The last time Katich took on the old enemy in 2006-07, England were spearheaded by the swing bowling of Matthew Hoggard and the pace of Steve Harmison.
With neither likely to feature in any of the five Tests this time around, England will instead rely on James Anderson's ability to swing the ball, backed up by Stuart Broad and possibly Ryan Sidebottom.
Katich said: "I think England have got a freshness about them with a few new faces.
"Jimmy Anderson is back to full fitness and bowling well, bowling really well, and Graham Onions did well on his debut at Lord's.
"There are a few other guys who have been playing well in the last 12 months like Sidebottom, Broad and (Graeme) Swann. Like last time, they've got a well balanced attack and if Freddie is fit he tops it all off."