England swing catches Aussie Ashes eyes

Michael Clarke doesn't want his team losing focus and getting too engaged in England's series with New Zealand, but it seems the swing and seam at Lord's was too obvious to ignore.

Stuart Broad's ominous second-innings spell in the first Test against the Black Caps might have left a few of Clarke's top order allies shaking in their boots.

But at least Australia's much-vaunted pace attack are licking their lips.

Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc says he took plenty from the match and, despite England's big win, also recognised some chinks in the old enemy's armour ahead of the Ashes.

"I think most of our guys actually watched that Test, so some good signs for the quicks over there," said Starc.

"It was nice to see the Pommies struggle against the left-arm bowlers (Neil Wagner and Trent Boult) - I can tell you that much!

"There's some things we can take away from the English batsmen and the way they got out there.

"Hopefully, New Zealand can get up in the second Test."

Starc observed from the New Zealand Test that successful seam bowling at Lord's relied on one thing - length.

And it's something the bowling unit has been discussing at the team's training camp at Brisbane's Centre of Excellence.

"Obviously, the ball is going to swing a bit more in England ... but the key we can take out of that Test was the length the bowlers bowled and the length that troubled the batsmen most. So that's something we looked at closely as a group and spoke about in Brisbane."

Clarke tried to downplay the relevance of Broad's second-innings 7-44 and Jimmy Anderson's first innings 5-47 against NZ for Australia's under-pressure batsmen.

The skipper said the cooler May weather in London can make for very different conditions to what Australia could face at Lord's in mid-July. And besides, Clarke believes his team have enough to worry about with their own preparation without worrying what England's up to.

However, Clarke concedes handling the moving ball stands as one of his team's greatest challenges in their bid to win back the urn.

"If somebody bowls an amazing spell, you can get knocked over but if you've trained and prepared as well as you possibly can, you're giving yourself the best chance," Clarke said.

"It seemed that Stuart Broad in the second innings bowled a pretty good spell so England deserved a lot of credit.

"We've got to try and find a way to combat that.

"I think (time of year) definitely makes a difference. I saw a forecast the other day that said it was 14 degrees in London. I'm hoping it's not 14 degrees there when we're playing our first Test match."


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