Oz pace attack select Cook as main `target` in Ashes

Sydney: Australian bowlers have reportedly selected England captain Alastair Cook as their main target in the back-to-back Ashes series, as they believe that the loss of England`s top batsman can see the their batting order stumble.

Since 2005, the Ashes series in England have been dominated by talk of reverse swing and the efforts of Australia``s bowlers to come to grips with the unfamiliar Duke ball.

Australia have assembled a bowling unit that has plenty of scope to move the ball, with recognised swing bowlers like Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and recalled Queenslander Ryan Harris.

According to Peter Siddle and James Pattinson, who will likely open Australia`s bowling attack in the Ashes, Cook is England`s best batsman and they build a lot of their innings around him for which the team does well.

However, Pattinson said that the work done with the new Duke ball may prove decisive for their Ashes chances, adding that if they manage to get Cook out early with the ball and make inroads into the middle order, then there is a chance of success.

Pattinson further said that the good thing about their pace attack is that they offer a different approach, whether the ball is reversing or its conventional swing. Agreeing with Pattinson on the importance of striking when the ball is still hard, Siddle said that the extensive warm-up period for the bowlers in England, through an Australia A series and two warm-up games, would provide sufficient acclimatisation to the conditions and the Duke.

Siddle further said that his team would not be short of any match practice or preparation for the Ashes, although he said that building the pressure for sustained periods is going to be the key for bowling with the Duke ball, as it is still new.