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After a cracking day one yielded 14 wickets and bugger all runs, it got OFF STUMPED thinking about what may be the most important aspect of this first Ashes Test - whose bowlers are the best batsmen?

Put bluntly, Australia's.

With the wacky stylings of Steve Smith and Phil Hughes batting at stumps and keeper Brad Haddin the only remaining 'batsman' left, Australia may have the right to not feel too worried they gave away their first four wickets of the series far too cheaply - with the exception of Michael Clarke, that ball from James Anderson was a deadset jaffa!

This isn't a wind-up, OS'd has numbers and everything to back it up - one thing cricket isn't short on is numbers. 

Left in the shed for Australia are Pete Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Ashton Agar, who no one had heard of before today but for a brief moment was appearing ahead of the pinhead from Punk'd on Google searches (that's not one of the numbers I promised).

Siddle is the worst of them with the lump of wood, with a Test average of 15.76 and a high score of 51, but he's a seriously annoying nightwatchman for bowlers and the pitch may as well be made of mud when he decides he needs to stick. He even has a first class 103 not out to his name. 

Pattinson (Test ave 28.77) and Starc (Test ave 32.70) can be as stylish with a bat as they are with the ball, can hold up an end or unleash. Some of the Aussie batsmen would envy their return. Starc has a 99 to his name too.

Newbie Agar is a borderline all-rounder they say, and his first class average of 33.6 after his 10 games for Western Australia suggest it's not rubbish. His average is elevated by the fact he's been not out six of the 16 times he's batted with the big boys, but that also means he can keep his wicket in tact, which is handy when you need someone to stick around. 

As for the English, with the exception of so called all-rounder Stuart Broad who got 25 and a sore shoulder on day one, they have shown the uncanny ability to fold like Savile Row shop assistant.

Swann can carve up with the bat, he scored a first class 183 once, but his Test average of 23.23 is no match for Patto and Starcy.

Finn (Test ave 11.92) and Anderson (Test ave 10.72) aren't Glenn McGrath or Phil Tufnell level bunnies, but they're not far off. Their first class averages against worst attacks are even lower. 

So in a game where the new ball has so far been like a grenade launcher and no one looks a shot at facing the second one, it could come down to a battle of the tails, and the numbers put Australia in the box seat for that.

On the flipside, Australia have better batsmen who bowl too, with Smith and Shane Watson expected to do a job with the ball. Who do England have? The part-time tweakers of Kevin Pietersen and trundlers of Johnathan Trott.

Now all the Aussie batsmen need to do is get better at batting and the bowlers better at bowling. Job done.

Image via Getty


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Ashes 2013: OFF STUMPED - Australia have one over on England, their bowlers are better batsmen
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