England can take heart from Gabba green-top

The state of Graeme Swann's thumb may have occupied English thoughts in Perth, but over on the other side of Australia there came a more telling pointer as to what could await come 25 November and day one of the Ashes in Brisbane.

The verdict on Swann was "fine" – and it was certainly not enough to stop him tweeting – after England's first practice session since arriving Down Under. The WACA nets offered a quick surface but the venue for the third Test is not the speed track it once was and the seamers may find Brisbane more to their liking, especially after events there over the last couple of days.

A Sheffield Shield match at the Gabba lasted only two days with 30 wickets falling as New South Wales bowled out Queensland for 75 and 96. The first Test is regarded as the key to the series and with Swann giving England a huge advantage when it comes to spin, the pitch for the opener is likely to favour the quicker bowlers. Last weekend's game on a green surface certainly favoured swing with overcast conditions ensuring a torrid time for the home batsmen.

It was Mark Cameron, a 29-year-old quick bowler known as the Scud, who did the damage, taking 11 wickets – and he is now being touted as an outside bet for Ricky Ponting's side.

"It was very, very cloudy,'' said Cameron. "The wicket at the Gabba was a bit green, and it was that old saying of 'look up, not down at the Gabba'. The ball was swinging around. You couldn't get better bowling conditions, to be honest.''

The Gabba has received more rainfall than usual and the groundsman, Kevin Mitchell, said that much more unsettled weather could lead to similar conditions come the first Test. "If there are some cloudy and humid days then the moisture will stay in the wicket and the grass will continue to grow – that's what happens in the tropics. So it would be something that could possibly happen," he said. "We are hoping for 10 or 12 days including the duration of the match to have nice sunny days – if that happens it will be a fantastic match. If we don't get all that it will still be a fantastic match – you just won't see as many runs."

Australia have a daunting record in Brisbane, having not lost a Test there since 1988, and the first Test Down Under has set the tone for the last two series. In 2002, England lost by 384 runs – Nasser Hussain having put in Australia in the misguided expectation of a sporting pitch. And four years ago, England lost by 277 runs in the wake of Steve Harmison's infamous first ball.

England play their first warm-up game on Friday and Stuart Broad said yesterday that they would take on Western Australia at full tilt, with no thought of easing themselves into the tour. "We know what an important week this is," said Broad. "We're going to take the WA game very seriously, and try and get some really good preparation in before the first Test.

"I've got a competitive spirit. We know that Australia fight very hard and play cricket in the right way. It's international cricket, so you expect that. It's something I obviously need to find a good balance to. I know I bowl at my best when I'm in a bit of a 'bubble', emotional and competitive. I'd expect the Aussies to [look to] get under each of our players' skins. But that's not something we're scared of; it's something we're going to thrive on. There's a lot of confidence."

Countdown to the Ashes: 23

Australian batsmen have scored a total of 23 double-hundreds against England in the Ashes since the first Test in 1882, Sir Donald Bradman hitting eight. In comparison, England have recorded 11 double-centuries against the Aussies.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?