Aussies bowlers ponder tiny Bristol

Short boundaries at the Bristol County Ground are a concern for Australia's bowling attack.
Short boundaries at the Bristol County Ground are a concern for Australia's bowling attack.

Australia's bowlers are trying to work out how to contend with the tiny Bristol County Ground for their World Cup opener, with one boundary expected to be no more than 50m.

Australia will face Afghanistan on the postage-stamp sized ground, where 751 runs were scored between the West Indies and New Zealand in their warm-up game on Tuesday.

It's believed the straight boundaries could be even short of 50m behind the wicket, while the rope will be around 60m square of the ground.

Bowlers will at least have some relief at cover and mid-wicket on the rectangular-shaped venue, with the dimensions nearing 80m.

"The ground is a bit bigger squarer so that will obviously come into play," Australia's bowling coach Adam Griffith said.

"It can be (about bowling shorter balls), into the wicket, hitting it hard, making sure that your line is really important in that space as well.

"Because we have seen that some batsmen are starting to develop the ability the flat bat shot down the the ground to the short boundaries.

"If we can keep it as simple as that and the bowlers are confident, they know if they do get hit, trying not to make it that big over. Instead of it being that 20-run over, it's an eight or nine-run over."

Australia's assistant coach Ricky Ponting knows as well as anyone how helpful the shorter boundaries can be, having hit a century in a one-day match at the ground in 2001.

Afghanistan have dangerous hitters in their side, notably wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, albeit he is in doubt with a hamstring injury.

But the bowlers are at least hopeful they can use the unique shape of the 11,000-seat stadium to their advantage in trying to control the game.

"The thing we talk about a lot is getting a batter off strike if he is going really well to get the to the new batter at the other end," Griffith said.

"That is something you can use with the square boundaries.

"It's working through a lot of those things and just making sure they're really clear at the top of their mark on the ball they're going to bowl."

Australian Associated Press