Australia to target captain Cook
Fast bowling leader Peter Siddle pulled no punches when nominating England captain Alastair Cook as Australia’s chief target in Thursday’s first Test at the Gabba.
One-Test rookie Michael Carberry will be standing down the other end, but it’s opener Cook who Australia will be going after.
Cook made a highest score of just 61 in an unconvincing home Ashes series in the winter, and if not for Ian Bell, Australia largely had the measure of England’s top order.
It seems Cook is well aware he’s a marked man in Brisbane, opting for an added training session at the Gabba on Monday.
Siddle said cutting off the beast at its head was the way to end England’s Ashes dynasty.
“I think we’ve always targeted Cook,” said Siddle.
“He’s the man that opens up the batting, he’s the captain and he’s the one we want to put the pressure on.”
Australia’s fast bowling arsenal will fancy themselves against left-hander Carberry, who played his solitary Test way back in 2010.
Carberry has been in outstanding form of late, but experts have predicted he is vulnerable through gully.
Siddle seems comfortable Australia’s bowling plans will take care of Carberry and that stopping run machine Cook is the real key.
“It doesn’t matter who opens up with him, they’re all targets at the end of the day,” he said.
Along with Cook, Matt Prior, Jonny Bairstow and Graeme Swann were other Englishmen to train in a non-compulsory session on Monday.
Wicketkeeper Prior is fighting to recover from a calf strain in time to play and Bairstow is preparing to take the gloves if required.
Meanwhile, fast bowler James Anderson says England beat Australia 3-0 without even playing well during the winter.
Anderson predicted another summer of Ashes dominance for England down under.
Australia have been bullish in their recollections of the last series, adamant that 3-0 wasn’t as bad as what it looked.
But Anderson says England cantered to victory without getting out of first gear, and Australia can expect the heat to be turned up on Thursday.
“One thing we’re excited by is the fact we didn’t play our best in England against Australia, but still ended up winning 3-0,” he said.
“We’re very optimistic we are going to play better cricket than we did in England. We know we’re going to have to.”