Ashes: Pink-ball Tests favour England – Mitchell Johnson

Adelaide Oval
Adelaide hosted the first day-night Ashes Test in 2017

Changing the Ashes schedule to include a second pink-ball Test would give England an advantage, says former Australia bowler Mitchell Johnson.

Melbourne, venue for the third match, is an option to stage the fifth as a day-nighter, with the second Test in Adelaide also set to use a pink ball.

“I worry about the pink-ball Test,” said Johnson. “It could be a very different series.”

England’s pace bowlers have traditionally struggled with the red Australian Kookaburra ball, which offers less movement than the Dukes used in the UK.

“The red Kookaburra doesn’t tend to swing here, the pink ones do,” added left-armer Johnson, who took 313 wickets in 73 Tests including 37 in Australia’s 5-0 series win of 2013-14.

“The pink-ball Tests favour England with their bowling attack. They know how to use the swinging ball.

“Their batsmen play the moving ball better than the Australians.”

Australia have won all eight day-night matches they have played at home, including the second Test of the last Ashes series down under.

“It’s not to say the Aussies aren’t great with the pink ball – their record is phenomenal,” said Johnson.

“England are slightly better, how they control it, how they play it. They will probably have a fair bit of confidence.”

Even without the addition of a second day-nighter, alterations to the traditional schedule could aid England, who have won only four Tests in Australia this century.

The first Test is usually in Brisbane, where England have not won since 1986, and the third in Perth, where they have won only once in 14 attempts. On three of the last four tours they have been 3-0 down after three matches.

Although they still must travel to Brisbane for the first Test, they will go to the Gabba knowing Australia were defeated by India in January for a first loss at that ground in 23 years.

After that comes the pink-ball match in Adelaide, then third and fourth Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, where England have a much better record.

“It’s a really important first Test,” said Johnson. “If England win that first Test it will put a huge amount of pressure on Australia.”

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