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Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 19:15 UK

Lack of swing mystifies England

First Ashes Test, Cardiff (day three, play starts 1100 BST):
England 435 v Australia 249-1
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave, Red Button and BBC Sport website, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles. Live on Sky Sports
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Swann disappointed with lack of spin

Graeme Swann said a lack of swing had left England "in a bit of a quandary", as Australia struck 249-1 in reply to the hosts' 435 in Cardiff.

For much of day one the ball had swung for Australia's bowlers, but on day two England were unable to trouble century-makers Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting.

Swann said: "We've worked really hard to get either traditional swing or reverse swing and it's done nothing.

"The problems are exacerbated when you have two guys playing so well."

Katich (104) and Ponting (100) were still there at stumps, having put on 189 together - and bringing Australia to within 186 runs of England's total.

Swann did well with the bat in the morning, hitting a positive 47 with six boundaries, but said the team had been unable to take that momentum with them onto the field.

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"I've been watching the ball a bit better but there's no great secret to my batting, if it's there to hit I go out and swing. It was a great first session for us but we just couldn't capitalise which was disappointing."

Despite the lack of assistance from the conditions, and the pitch, Swann admitted England had "not bowled really well as a unit all day, apart from a few balls, which is disappointing.

"There was a bit of turn from straight, but really only the odd ball and the majority haven't done a great deal.

"We're going to have to work hard to get our wickets. Hopefully there will be a bit more purchase tomorrow.

Spinners Swann and Monty Panesar were also unable to get much spin out of the wicket.

"The wicket is so slow that if you try to bowl slowly and are a bit short it just sits up. The disappointing thing for me is that I bowled a few full tosses but I'm not that disappointed.

It was a fantastic knock, you can see the hunger in his eyes, this is a huge series for him

Katich on Ponting

"Maybe if the lbw against Katich [on 56] had gone our way - which we certainly feel a bit aggrieved about - a new man comes in and we get a couple of wickets. Then things could have been very different.

Swann admitted that Australia "would fancy their chances" of getting a lead on the third day, and said England's job was to stop that happening. "The wicket will turn more and more as the game goes on," he added.

"Happily for us we still have a nigh-on 200-run lead. And as Fred [Andrew Flintoff] said when we got into the changing room, for those who didn't play at the Oval a few years ago, it was a very similar situation.

"It takes just one good spell to bring us right back into the game and that's what we're going to be thinking."

Flintoff's magnificent marathon spell on the fourth day of that match helped stave off the threat of Australian victory in 2005 and the following day England secured a draw to claim back the famous urn.

As for Katich, he lost his place in the Australian side after a rough 2005 which included a poor return in that year's Ashes series.

He did not return to the Test line-up until May 2007, and he said: "I've just tried to cherish each Test match.

"Batting at the top of the order has probably helped me. When I did get my chance I jumped at it and I have gained confidence from each Test I have managed to string together.

It's been a good day - Katich

"I have got a point to prove in this series and I know it will be a tough series. In the past 12 months I have felt I have a role to play in this team, given that we have lost so many players in the last couple of years, greats of Australian cricket."

He said of Ponting: "It was a fantastic knock, you can see the hunger in his eyes, this is a huge series for him."

Katich said the dismissals of Andrew Flintoff and Matt Prior late on day one had given Australia a crucial lift.

"I thought a few of the guys played really well yesterday but credit to our bowlers. The last two, late in the day changed the complexion of things."



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see also
Aussie batsmen dominate England
09 Jul 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
09 Jul 09 |  England
England v Australia photos day two
09 Jul 09 |  England
England make solid start to Ashes
08 Jul 09 |  England
Pietersen defends Ashes dismissal
08 Jul 09 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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