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Australian opener believes his bowling can influence Ashes

| 10.11.2010

It’s not often that an opening batsman believes he has the potential to influence a Test match with the ball in his hand, but Shane Watson believes his bowling can win Australia the Ashes.

Former Australia captain Mark Waugh described Watson as a future all-round great when he burst onto the scene eight years ago, but since making his Test debut against Pakistan in 2005, Watson has fightened bowling attacks instead of frightening batsman.

Watson averages 39.94 across his Test career and will be a danger to the English bowling attack if Broad and Anderson can’t get to grips with the bowling conditions, and Watson is 4/1 to be Australia’s leading series runscorer.

But the opener has featured in the bowling attack in the current one day series with Sri Lanka, and his three wickets in 13 overs in the first two ODI’s has left Watson feeling confident he can do some damage with the ball in the Ashes.

Across his Test career Watson has taken 40 wickets at an average of 28.20, and Waugh’s prediction may just be starting to come to light.

Certainly Watson’s average is impressive for an opening batsman, and considering the batsman is eager to feature with the ball in the Ashes, his determination suggests that should Ponting feel the need for a change, Watson has the potential to inflict plenty of damage.

His right-arm swing certainly looked a lot faster against Sri Lanka than it ever has done, and the 16/1 to be Australia’s top ashes wicket-taker could be a big price if inconsistency strikes Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus once again.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting will be happy at the bowling options open to him as Australia seek to regain the Ashes – they are 8/11 to win the series.

Australia are 1/1 to win the first Test. See the full Ashes betting odds here.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.