Swing not the only thing says raw Onions

Pace bowler Graham Onions said there was more to England's attack then swing bowling as they eyed an Ashes series win over Australia.

updated: August 06, 2009 17:44 IST
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Pace bowler Graham Onions said there was more to England's attack then swing bowling as they eyed an Ashes series win over Australia.

England are 1-0 up in the five-match series following last week's drawn third Test at Edgbaston ahead of the fourth Test here at Headingley, which starts on Friday.

On the second day at Edgbaston, Onions took two wickets with the first two balls of the day on his way to a four-wicket return while James Anderson took advantage of the overcast, swing friendly, conditioned with a five-wicket haul as Australia were bowled out for 263 in their first innings.

It was a different story in the second innings though when, with Australia batting to save the game, England took just five wickets in all and only three on the last day when there was no swing to be had.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has long lamented the team's inability to bowl good sides out twice on good batting pitches but Onions insisted the current pace attack had more than one string to their bow.

"We all know that when the ball swings it's massive for us, a great thing to have as a bowler," he told reporters here at Headingley on Wednesday.

"If you're just bowling straight against good players you're going to go for runs. As England cricketers we need to make sure that ball swings really or does something off the straight or be aggressive."

The 26-year-old, who took five wickets on his Test debut in May against the West Indies at Lord's, added: "I feel as though we're good enough, if the ball doesn't swing, I believe and everyone in the England dressing room believes we can still beat Australia.

"That's without the swinging ball and just as using our skills as bowlers. We've still got the belief. We were close to winning the last Test. We put ourselves in a strong position.

"We took a lot of confidence from that. Of course we're looking forward to the Test starting on Friday and we do honestly believe we can win."

Reflecting on a spectacular start to his Test career, which has yielded 18 wickets in four Tests at an average of 23.50 apiece, Onions said the support he'd received from England captain Andrew Strauss had been crucial.

"It's down to all the coaching staff and the lads in the changing room. Andrew Strauss said at the start, you're under no pressure at all, just go out and enjoy yourself.

"He hasn't said that since, mind," Onions joked. I'm trying to say that every time I go out to bowl. It's a great time in my career, and I'm not feeling under too much pressure at the moment."

England have a major concern regarding the fitness of Andrew Flintoff with the star all- rounder struggling with a knee injury.

But Onions said he was confident Flintoff would only play if he was fully fit.

"Being totally honest, I think we're a stronger team with him in the team. But that's only if he's 100 percent fit.

"Andrew's going to be very honest. He's confident. He's batting and bowling really well. It's a shame his body's in discomfort for the moment but he'll do everything he can to be fit."

While Flintoff remains the fans' favourite, Onions has attracted the attention of British pop singer and cricket fan Lily Allen, who wrote on her Twitter page: "I think I fancy Graham Onions more than Freddie now."

Asked how he felt about Allen's comments, Onions replied:

"She's obviously not seen me in real life. She's a great singer. It would be a pleasure to meet her. I've got a girlfriend, I'm happy with her. She doesn't sing."