Australia switch ball to aid Ashes bid

England v Australia - The Ashes

Australia’s 3-2 defeat in England last year was their fourth successive away Ashes defeat

Australian cricketers will use a different ball in domestic first-class competition next year in a bid to help them win the Ashes in England for the first time in 18 years.

Cricket Australia wants to give players experience with the Dukes-made ball.

The England and Wales Cricket Board uses the Dukes ball in international matches, but Australia use Kookaburra.

“Changing the ball can be a significant factor,” said Pat Howard, Cricket Australia’s general manager.

The Dukes ball will be used in the second part of the Sheffield Shield – Australia’s premier first-class competition – from next year, while the Kookaburra ball will continue to be used in the first part of the season.

The Aussies have not won an Ashes series in England since 2001, with their difficulties against the seaming and swinging ball, and their own bowlers’ inability to produce as much movement as England’s attack, often cited as reasons.

Australia will host the next Ashes series in 2017-18 before the sides return to England in 2019.

Howard insists switching between the brands, which behave differently through the air and off the pitch, is not a “minor consideration”.

“In recent times Australian teams travelling to England haven’t adjusted well to local conditions and the swinging Dukes ball,” he added.

“We have been on record saying that we will look at ways to address this deficiency and believe giving players greater experience with the Dukes ball is one way of doing just that.”

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