Coaching the Ashes: Use 4th Inning Test Skills to Win Your Matches | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Coaching the Ashes: Use 4th Inning Test Skills to Win Your Matches

What an epic 1st Test Match in the 2013 Ashes.

What an epic final innings.

As a coach, I couldn't help noticing how many of the skills and tactics of the match could be utilised by all teams at some stage in the coming weeks. Here are the lessons from that Test match that you can take into your next match:

Use the lack of pace effectively

Rarely do we see a worn pitch that turns at pace.

This presents problems for the spinner. The ball doesn't turn quickly and batters have developed tactics to nullify the impact of spin.

Australia largely played Graeme Swann off of the back foot in the 4th innings, either defending or punching off of the back foot on either side of the wicket.

This forced Swanny to over-pitch and then the Australian lower order tucked into him scoring freely straight down the ground and over mid wicket.

The take home point: If the pitch is slow then avoid lunging down the pitch with your front foot unless you can drive by getting all the way to the pitch of the ball.

Bank on your seamers

During the match I suggested that the England seamers would pick up more wickets in the final innings than spinners on the worn Nottinghamshire pitch. I was laughed at, but then I explained how the English seamers would look to operate.

Jimmy Anderson is incredible at hitting a slightly fuller length when the ball is moving laterally on slower wickets.

Most fast bowlers look to bowl too full when the ball starts swinging. Jimmy bowls the 5.50 - 5.75 metre (from the batters middle stump) length. This induces thick outside edges as the player comes forward to drive.

Catches are either taken at a wide 1st slip or Gully.

A man on the drive is placed as bait to encourage the batter to try and hit the ball through them, to beat the fielder for pace. Yet we have all seen what happens:

Caught Cook, Bowled Anderson.

This is a tactic that will work wonders in grass roots cricket when the ball is moving laterally.

Use cutters, not slower balls

It was great to see the ball speeds throughout the overs that Broad and Anderson delivered on the final day.

It reminded me of the work the pair did in Sri Lanka a few years ago by bowling the ball at subtly different paces using slightly different finger positions and bowling arm pace.

Many bowlers maintain their optimal pace and then mix in a slower ball on slow pitches. This lacks deception. Anderson and Broad used their other variations rather than slower balls to make the Australians feel for each ball, causing them to play too early and too late.

The lead up and execution of Chris Rogers 2nd Innings dismissal was picture perfect. Although the actual wicket ball wasn't the cutter that David Saker - England's bowling coach - had planned, the subtle variations led to Rogers downfall.

Again, this could be replicated on any club, Academy or school ground this coming weekend. Give it a go.

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