Nottingham: Former pacer Ryan Harris believes the absence of England speedster James Anderson will be a huge advantage for the visiting Australian team as the hosts look to regain the Ashes in the fourth Test in Nottingham, starting on Thursday.
The former Aussie quick said Australia's batsmen can take full advantage of the English pacer's absence. Anderson, a veteran of 107 Tests with 413 wickets to his name, has missed just eight Tests in the past eight years, of which England have won just two - both against Bangladesh.
The 33-year-old was in devastating form in the third Test in Birmingham, taking six wickets in the first innings to set up his team's eight-wicket victory in the match. But he suffered a side strain late in the Australian second innings during the match.
England lead the five-Test match series 2-1 with the fourth game scheduled to begin here on Thursday.
"Not having him (Anderson) in their team is a bonus for us, for Australia," Harris wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.
"It's going to be huge. He's the leader of their attack, the guy who can come out and rip through a batting order, as he did in Birmingham, or he can tie you down by bowling dot after dot," he wrote.
"His absence is going to be especially big because it is at Nottingham. The last time we were at Nottingham it was a flat wicket that offered reverse swing, and he's very good at that, very dangerous."
Harris said the remainder of England's pace battery can be "got at" by Australia's batsmen. Young pacer Mark Wood is expected to replace Anderson in the fourth Test.
"Mark Wood, who will probably replace him because he is next in line, bowled reasonably well in Cardiff and he can do a job, Stuart Broad has been in and around, and Steve Finn came back and bowled very well," Harris wrote.