Aussies won’t rule out all-pace attack
THE unpredictable British weather could have a say on Australia's final XI for the first Ashes Test, which starts in Cardiff tonight, with veteran Peter Siddle still a chance to get the call in a four-strong pace attack.
Showers greeted the Australians as they arrived in the Welsh capital this week.
The UK has been basking in hot weather for the past couple of weeks, with the Sophia Gardens pitch expected to turn as it gets older if the sun continued to shine.
But curator Keith Exton indicated that with the weather turning this one could suit the faster bowlers, giving Siddle an unlikely look at a Test return.
Siddle has played just one of Australia's six Tests since turning 30 in November but could be the man coach Darren Lehmann turns to if he wanted to go in with four seamers and without Nathan Lyon.
Skipper Michael Clarke likes to have a spinner in his attack, but with cloudy skies forecast for at least the first three days of the Ashes opener, Siddle might yet get that unexpected call.
Australian bowling coach Craig McDermott indicated that could be the way the tourists went and said Siddle would not let the team down if he was chosen ahead of Lyon.
"I've got to hand it to him, he's stuck to his guns," McDermott said. "He's trained hard and worked hard.
"His pace has picked up and, as always, his control is fantastic."
The leader of England's bowling attack, meanwhile, says he does not need to get into a verbal war with the Aussies in order to fire up for the Ashes.
James Anderson's recent admission that he wanted the Ashes series to be played in good spirits, earned derision from Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin.
The Aussies said Anderson should look at himself as he had always been the main sledger.
But Anderson told BBC Sport: "The response from Haddin and Johnson was that I should look in the mirror because I've started plenty of confrontations.
"Well, I'm not saying I didn't. What I am saying is that it's not something I rely on any more.
"We are not going to seek out trouble, go looking for fights or start sledging."
Anderson, who became England's leading wicket taker with 403, in the recent series against New Zealand, said he used to have to pump himself up by getting involved with the opposition but that was no longer the case.
"I felt that I've needed to be pumped up in the past," he said.
"But I've learned in the last 18 months that I don't need to be like that."
- APN SPORTS BUREAU