Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

To spin or not to spin? Australia’s crucial Ashes question

hauritzAustralia captain Ricky Ponting will be praying that the rumours of a sideways turning Cardiff wicket prove to be complete fallacy when the Ashes series begins on Wednesday.

Ponting’s team have been bereft of a front-line spinner since the retirement of the mercurial Shane Warne in 2007 and Stuart McGill shortly after.

Australia has selected just one “attacking” spinner in the tour party, 27-year-old Nathan Hauritz. But “Ritzy” has yet to shine, taking just 2 wickets in the 59 overs he has bowled on tour so far, at a cost of 260 runs.

That could see Ponting select a four-pronged pace attack for the first test on a pitch not conducive to fast bowling, and with Brett Lee unavailable through injury.