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Every cloud...

Record Ashes rainfall means it’s more Bristol than Brisbane — a silver lining for England


For months now the Ashes debate has focused on how England’s bowling is missing an X-factor. Well, it might just have rolled into town in the form of a once-in-a-decade weather pattern.

La Nina, the lesser-known, counterpar­t of El Nino, is a climate fluctuatio­n of cooler than average sea temperatur­es and trade winds in the Pacific which contribute­s to moderate, wetter summers in Australia.

Those searching for good omens in the tourists’ camp yesterday only needed to look outside at the teeming rain that prevented a ball being bowled on the first day of a four-day practice match at the Ian Healy oval.

on one hand, Joe root’s team lack meaningful preparatio­n heading to the Gabba. on the other, there’s a growing likelihood that conditions will be more Bristol than Brisbane when the five-Test series gets under way a week today.

The last time the elements were like this for an Ashes in Australia was 2010-11. Jimmy Anderson will remember how things turned out. As will Stuart Broad, who succumbed to injury in the second Test in Adelaide, scene of one of three resounding innings victories in England’s only series win Down Under since 1987.

Anderson made the most of the early moisture in that Adelaide game to leave Australia reeling at two for three and went on to claim four-wicket hauls in the first innings of each of the successes of Andrew Strauss’s side.

Now similar damp and seaming pitches could be a feature of things to come this month. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorolog­y said yesterday that century-old rainfall records are on track to be broken across Queensland over the coming days.

And all five of the Ashes venues experience­d more rain than average across october. For an

England camp rocked by the losses of Jofra Archer and olly Stone — two of the bowlers viewed as essential because of their extra pace — every cloud carries a silver lining.

As Glamorgan’s Joe Cooke, a Durham University natural sciences graduate who wrote his dissertati­on on cricket’s relationsh­ip with climate, told Sportsmail earlier this year, the most important aspect for England Test wins historical­ly has been overcast conditions.

By contrast, the only time England have won on Australian soil during a warm spell brought on by El Nino was the Bodyline series of 1932-33, when Harold Larwood and Bill Voce exploited the bouncy pitches.

Yes, Anderson might be 39. Broad is in the latter half of his 30s, too. But if anything is going to encourage a pair with a combined 1,156 Test wickets that their mantra of relentless accuracy can be applied successful­ly with the Kookaburra ball, it is the promise of lateral movement to go with it.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Victory dance: England’s 2010-11 Ashes winners perform the ‘sprinkler’
GETTY IMAGES Victory dance: England’s 2010-11 Ashes winners perform the ‘sprinkler’
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