Swing and seam will be key in first Test: Swann

England’s frontline off-spinner Graeme Swann has said swing and seam bowling will determine who comes out on top in the first Ashes Test starting Wednesday at the Trent Bridge.

“It’s not a ground I’ve taken a hatful of wickets on,” said the 34-year-old Swann. “But I’d never taken a wicket at Headingley before playing against New Zealand there last month, so I don’t really think ‘wow, I’ve not done well here before’. I like bowling here though, but I accept there is not much help in the pitch for a spin bowler.

“I think I took my first Test wicket here last year. I played a Test match here against Pakistan and I bowled two overs in the game - because it swung so dangerously. The India game, I remember going at about 10-an-over. They were so roughed up by the bouncer at the other end, they were just eyeing me up and hitting me everywhere,” he added.

Asked if he expects the ball to turn, Swann added: “I’m not sure it will. I know Trent Bridge like the back of my hand, and it could be dry for four months and it wouldn’t be a turning pitch. Having said that, most teams don’t have left-armers. So if Mitchell Starc and whoever else they play can kick up a bit of dust, that might make it a bit more enjoyable to bowl spin.”

Swann also spoke about the operation he underwent in the US four months ago. He was also hit on his bowling arm with Tymal Mills short ball in England’s Ashes warm-up match last week. “I was pretty convinced I would never walk again, with my broken arm. I think I was in shock - all my dreams were flashing in front of my eyes.

“I was wondering round in shock thinking ‘I’m not going to play’. I couldn’t hold a bat for the next 40 minutes - but then after stamping my foot petulantly and demanding an x-ray, I got the all-clear and sheepishly admitted it was only a bit of a bruise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Australian coach Darren Lehmann was on Tuesday not willing to give anything away on the eve of the first Ashes Test indicating only that skipper Michael Clarke will also be playing as a spinner. Lehmann also refused to say whether his pace trump, James Pattinson, will be in the XI against England.

“We’re really keeping the side quiet until the morning of the Test match,” said Lehmann, who added that Clarke is fully fit to play.

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