Australian Conditions - The Difference?
A quick scan through the English squad shows minimal experience in Australian conditions. For the purpose of accuracy, I've excluded the ICC World XI because it wasn't a proper 'tour'.
M Trescothick 5 matches @ 26.10
S Harmison 5 matches @ 42.76
M Hoggard 3 matches @ 62.50
A Giles 1 match @ 31.83
I know they're much better players now and that was a long time ago, yadda yadda, but I thought it was worth acknowledging that they're hardly glowing statistics.
The point of this thread is to point out and provoke discussion on the topic of variables which (possibly) will play a major factor in the Ashes.
First of all, pitch conditions. In England pitches are realtively conducive to seamers, with overhead conditions aiding movement in the air and tracks are normally produced with a little bit of juice underneath the surface. In Australia, you generally find hard, fast, flat and bouncy wickets. With the possible exceptions of the SCG and the GABBA, pitches are belters to bat on, even the WACA providing good batting conditions if you adapt to the bounce.
Secondly, and a factor that I'm facinated in, the ball used. How much of a factor will the Kookaburra ball be? The Englishmen are used to bowling with the Duke pill, where the seam is exaggerated and generally provides extra help for the seamers. Will the Englishmen be able to handle it considering the flat nature of the wickets? Before anyone says, I know this won't be the first time the Englishmen have used Kookaburra balls, but nevertheless, it will be interesting.
The last point I'd point I'd like to discuss, before throwing it over to you chumps, is the issue of crowd and public expectation. IMO this is one factor that definately favours the Englishmen, as I know all of the Australian crowds will have massive expectations on the Australian outfit because we're used to overwhelming success on our home soil.