Home wickets an Ashes solution for lefties

·2-min read

Marcus Harris claims Australia's top-order issues that plagued them in the Ashes two years ago won't prove as problematic on the bouncier wickets at home this summer.

Australia's openers endured a horror last Ashes campaign, as England's quicks came around the wicket and swung the ball away from the left-handed batters.

The average opening partnership for the Aussies was just 8.5 in England, with David Warner's return of 95 runs at 9.5 was the worst by an opener in a five-Test series.

Fellow left-handed batter Harris didn't fare much better with just 58 runs at 9.66, while Usman Khawaja managed 122 runs at 20.33

But on home turf against the Kookaburra balls, Harris insists it can be a different story for Australia.

Data shows that Australia's left-handed top-order batters have averaged 53.33 in home Ashes series in the past 10 years.

That number drops to an unwelcome 29.52 in England.

Likewise, the average of England's right-arm quicks balloons from 28.85 on their own wickets to 38.56 in Australia - where they have not won a Test since December 2010.

"In England, the length that they can go is a bit different to in Australia," Harris said.

"They can probably go a little bit shorter, and still hit the top of the stumps in England, which brings in lbw and bowled into play.

"That's what the challenge was over there, and the Dukes ball that summer was moving around a lot.

"They're going to have the ball a different length in Australia and the wickets are probably more batter-friendly in Australia.

"So it can sometimes be a bit better to line them up, especially for the left-hander around the wicket."

Harris, who will be given time at the top of the order with Will Pucovski unavailable, said he is a better batter now than in 2019.

He has put a focus on nullifying his issues against the right-arm bowlers coming around the wicket, and hit three centuries in his eight County games for Leicestershire during the English summer.

Crucially too, Harris has been more patient with balls outside off stump.

Six of his first nine dismissals in Test cricket were playing at balls away from his body, earning the ire of Matthew Hayden at the time for playing too square.

"I used to struggle a lot getting through the 20s," Harris said.

"And I think my initial idea of trying to get through the 20s was to dash as quickly as I could.

"But as I've got a bit older and more experienced I just let the game and bowlers come to me a little bit more.

"That probably comes back to just having a hunger for making a lot of runs and making big runs ... and not being satisfied with making 50 or 100."

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