Aussie leggies a threat to England: Thorpe

Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia hold the edge over England in this year's Ashes series with their two match-winning leg-spinners Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, according to former England batsman Graham Thorpe.

Thorpe, who quit international cricket after losing his Test place before the Ashes series in England last year, said Australia's master spinners were the difference between the two traditional rivals.

"I think you can probably see Australia holding the edge in the spin department, but barring that it's pretty tight," Thorpe told reporters here Wednesday.

"Certainly, England have experienced a rougher time since the Ashes. Australia have generally got the world turning again. But the sides are pretty well matched.

"If you look at the batting line-ups and you look at the seam attacks ... it's well matched. On paper you would say that the Australian attack has got a better spin option than what England has."

Thorpe, who is playing Sydney club cricket for UTS Balmain and coaching with the NSW team, said he expects MacGill, 34, (182 wickets in 38 Tests) will be back in the team to exploit England's perceived weakness against wrist spin.

"He's certainly going to be in the running if he hangs on and he's bowling consistently well come the time."

Warne is Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker with 659 from 135 Tests.

Thorpe, 36, played his 100th Test for England last June.

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