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Bowling fast and teasing the Poms

Former Australian cricketer Nathan Bracken discusses tactics to stop English batsman Kevin Pietersen from being a threat in the Adelaide Test.

PT5M24S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yogp 620 349

Graeme Swann has linked up with former Australian spin great Ashley Mallett in a bid to lift his flagging fortunes and bowl England to a series-levelling victory in Adelaide.

Swann met one of his mentors, Mallett, on Tuesday night, two days before the second Test, in a secret meeting to get tips on what he needed to do for success at the Adelaide Oval.

Swann could not have found a better teacher for a last-minute tutorial before his big exam starts on Thursday. No finger-spinner has taken more wickets at the Test venue than Mallett, who claimed 25 victims in six games from 1971-80.

"I reckon you?ll see more topspin from him this game": Ashley Mallett on Graeme Swann.

"I reckon you'll see more topspin from him this game": Ashley Mallett on Graeme Swann. Photo: Getty Images

As well as being an important player in the Ian Chappell-led Australian teams, Mallett had much success at state level for South Australia where he was part of three triumphant Sheffield Shield campaigns for his adopted state.

Mallett and the English spinner have a long-standing relationship back to 2001 when they held one-on-one sessions while a young Swann was in Adelaide on tour with the England Academy team.

The two keep in regular contact by email but Swann has taken the opportunity to catch up with the Adelaide-based Mallett in person in the lead-up to the Test.

Turning of the tide: Graeme Swann looked to Ashley Mallett for advice ahead of the second Ashes Test.

Turning of the tide: Graeme Swann looked to Ashley Mallett for advice ahead of the second Ashes Test. Photo: Peter Mathew

"We just have a chat about bowling, generally," Mallett said on Tuesday night.

Mallett was reluctant to go into details about their conversations but revealed he had told his protege that he had given Australia's left-handers too much room outside off stump in Brisbane.

Swann is set to play a huge role this week. His seven wickets, including five in the fourth innings, were a major factor in England's innings victory over Australia three years ago.

All the help he can get: Graeme Swann.

All the help he can get: England's Graeme Swann. Photo: Getty Images

He will need a huge form reversal after a horror first Test, in which he claimed match figures of 2-215 after being attacked by the Australian batsmen.

After the first Test, Mallett said the straight line employed by Swann and Nathan Lyon at the Gabba had worked better for the Australians.

He believes a ''more attacking line outside off stump turning into the right-handers'' is required in Adelaide due to the less bounce on offer. ''Swann will do that,'' Mallett told Fairfax Media.

''Swann didn't get as much bounce, didn't have as much overspin on the ball, whereas in Adelaide it's a slower track. You still have to get the ball up above the eyes and dip it, it's a bit different surface. I reckon you'll see more topspin from him this game.''

Swann's poor form at the Gabba continued a worrying trend in this country for Swann, whose record in Australia of 17 wickets at 48 from six games is far inferior to his career average of 250 at 29.

The off-spinner also had relatively limited effect in England's success on these shores three years ago where he was used primarily in a defensive role to support his team's rampaging pacemen, though had his best success in Adelaide.

He was the leading wicket-taker in the series earlier this year, which England claimed 3-0, though those performances came on dry and dusty surfaces which are not as common in Australia.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said Australia had been clever in stacking their batting with right-handers as Swann prefers bowling to left-handers where he can turn the ball away from the bat. ''The Aussies have counteracted that with a good selection policy and they've attacked him which is the right message to send to the England team,'' he said.

Vaughan said one of the keys to Swann having success in Adelaide lay in the hands of the England batsmen, who needed to find form in order to give their spinner a decent total to defend.

''The only way a finger spinner gets in the game in Australia is by scoring big runs. You're not in the game if you're bowled out for 136,'' Vaughan said. ''I thought he did a good job on day one [in Brisbane], held an end, then in the second innings he's got no chance because they're so far behind the eight ball.

''He's got to hope their batsmen get a big score on the board, as they did in 2010-11 regularly then he can attack. But if the team's out for 130, 160, your off-spinner in Australia has got no chance.''