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Australians send spy to Ashes venue

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is preparing to send a spy to Cardiff, the venue of the first Ashes Test, in an attempt to unravel the confusion surrounding the controversial Sophia Gardens pitch, reported the Australian media on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Jun 30, 2009 23:31 IST
Australians send spy to Ashes venue

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is preparing to send a spy to Cardiff, the venue of the first Ashes Test, in an attempt to unravel the confusion surrounding the controversial Sophia Gardens pitch, reported the Australian media on Tuesday.

The ground has never previously hosted a Test and the groundsman is new.

“We’ve been talking about trying to send someone down to Cardiff this week so we can have a look at what the wicket preparation looks like,” Ponting told The Australian. “There was even talk a month ago about the Test not going ahead there because of problems with the pitch.

“But we had a closer look at some stats last week and found that something like only 14 of the 69 wickets taken there is the last three county matches have been taken with spin.”

Ponting believes Cardiff has been deliberately chosen as the first Test venue because of Australia’s sudden lack of a frontline spinner.

England have picked three spinners in its 16-man Ashes training squad, with off-spinner Graeme Swann certain to play.