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Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 10:18 UK

Siddle benefits from coach Cooley

By Mandeep Sanghera and Anna Thompson

Australia bowler Peter Siddle
Siddle has been compared to Merv Hughes

Australia paceman Peter Siddle says bowling coach Troy Cooley is giving the tourists crucial information on the England batsmen ahead of the Ashes.

Cooley was England's bowling coach when they won the 2005 series, but switched camps to his native Australia in 2006.

Siddle told BBC Sport: "We've got lots of information on England's batsmen. It's handy Troy was the bowling coach.

"He knows a lot of the batsmen. He spent a lot of time with them and knows how they play."

Siddle is set to get the nod, along with main strike bowler Mitchell Johnson, to start the first Ashes Test on 8 July at Cardiff after an impressive showing of three wickets in 30 overs in the warm-up match against Sussex.

Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Ben Hilfenhaus and spinner Nathan Hauritz are vying for the other places and Siddle believes the competition for places has seen the Aussie bowlers raise their game.

606: DEBATE
slowie

"It's going to be tough, but everyone is looking fit and strong and bowling well," said the 24-year-old.

"The competition is good for the team, it makes everyone try that little bit harder and put in that little bit extra so it's great for the team."

Australia start their next match against the England Lions in Worcester on Wednesday and Siddle expects their starting line-up for that to be similar to that for the first Test.

"There's only 11 playing this match and it's going to be tight but hopefully this side will be similar to the first Test side," added Siddle, who has bounced back from should reconstruction surgery to start making an impact on the international scene.

"This game will be important for the make-up of the first Test, so blokes will be disappointed if they miss out, but hopefully those that are selected perform well and push their case for the first Test."

A lot has been made of Australia's apparent problems in the spin department since the retirement of legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne from international cricket in 2007.

PAUL FLETCHER'S BLOG

Off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, the solitary specialist slow bowler in Australia's squad, struggled against Sussex with match figures of 1-158 from 38 overs - while England have Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and Adil Rashid to choose from.

But Siddle added: "I think it's just an English way of getting at us a bit, saying that we're a bit weak with the spin.

"But Hauritz bowled superbly in the second innings and Marcus North also bowled well so I think it's just them trying to talk themselves up, having those three spinners in their squad.

"We've got the quicks there to back up the spin options and I'm sure our bowling attack will be fine on those wickets."

Former woodcutter Siddle's hostile style has drawn comparisons to former Australia paceman Merv Hughes, but he insists his confrontational style is "good natured".

"I don't think I need to dish out too many verbals," he said.

"I probably bowled too many bouncers to a few guys. I usually get a bit of grief from the spectators for that."



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see also
Hopkinson ton frustrates Aussies
27 Jun 09 |  Australia
Hughes and Clarke punish Sussex
26 Jun 09 |  Australia
Aussie coach dismisses spin issue
26 Jun 09 |  England
Gilchrist sees Ashes as open duel
25 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Injured Watson stays with Aussies
24 Jun 09 |  Australia
England lack intensity - Cooley
31 Dec 06 |  England
Cooley will not pass on secrets
14 Apr 06 |  England
Cooley blames ECB for departure
17 Dec 05 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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