A general view shows construction at the Adelaide Oval before day one of the Sheffield Shield match between the South Australian Redbacks and the Tasmanian Tigers on October 9, 2012.
A general view shows construction at the Adelaide Oval before day one of the Sheffield Shield match between the South Australian Redbacks and the Tasmanian Tigers on October 9, 2012. Morne de Klerk / Getty Images

Some can swing well in Adelaide's bowlers' graveyard

AH Adelaide, the home of Irish swing.

The Maroons have jetted south to Adelaide for a Ryobi Cup match on Sunday followed by a Shield game and no, I'm not looking for some green jazz bar in between.

It's all to do with the cricket because Adelaide is always an interesting trip, depending on who you ask.

Question the batsman about the place and their excitement levels will be sky high - and who can blame them?

The "City of Churches" is a great place for a batsman to give his season run tally a kick-start.

The flat wicket offers little assistance to us fast bowlers and is commonly referred to as the "bowlers' graveyard".

Many a quick has been broken in Adelaide, both mentally and physically - but don't for a minute take that as me complaining.

Believe it or not, I enjoy bowling in Adelaide - to an extent, and I'll tell you why.

Every now and then you make friends with a little phenomenon called "reverse swing".

"Irish" as some also call it, is the act of swinging the ball in the opposite direction to which it conventionally moves and is more prevalent on the slower, drier, more abrasive wickets.

It can be achieved by roughing the ball, generally on both sides, before bringing one side back to life with extensive buffing.

Conventional swing bowling is based on the science that air moves faster around the shiny side of the ball, and slower over the rough side, thus weighting the ball in the air to swing towards the slower air path, almost like an "air brake".

However, reverse swing begins to occur when the rough side deteriorates so much that it begins to take on the air path of a shiny side, meaning it starts to swing in the opposite direction.

Depending on the seam positioning at point of release, this reverse swing takes on a "dipping" effect just before it reaches the batsman.

Reverse swing used to be relatively common throughout the one-day format in recent years.

But the introduction of two new balls - one from each end - has put a stop to that.

In past years, Irish swing started to take effect around the 35 to 40-over mark.

But these days each ball only gets a maximum of 25 overs, cutting down on the natural disintegration significantly.

If there is one ground around Australia at which it's still possible, it will be Adelaide Oval, particularly if the Maroon selectors opt to play two spinners this Sunday.



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