You cannot win a test match by scoring 900 runs when opposition makes 200 and 200 for 9 wickets. But you surely can win a test match by taking 20 wickets for 100 runs having made only 101 yourself.
England have to find batsmen who can make runs consistently but if they can find bowlers who are good enough to bowl out Australia twice - they will win half the battle.
Consider this - Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Mathew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff and to an extent, Shane Watson are the six "right right handed" fast bowlers sure to play the first few test matches.
I am sure Australian's will consider Stuart Clarke long and hard as well.
Meaning - around 65-80% of footmarks will be made at just two spots on the pitch. All throughout the Ashes series - Outside off stump of a left handed and just outside leg stump of Right handed batsmen.
4 out of 6 Australian batsmen are left handers - Mathew Hayden, Justin Langer, Michael Hussey, Adam Gilchrist. And then you have Ricky Ponting who just hates playing the waiting game..
So our first trick is England playing both their left arm spinners - Monty Panesar and Ashley Giles. For a number of reasons :
1. Aussie team last played test matches in Bangladesh. They won the series 2-0 but were very close to losing their first ever test match in Bangladesh. Reason - Bangladesh had two left arm spinner for both the test matches, Abdur Razzak and Enamul Haque with Mohammad Rafique being the common one.
Between they bowled 48.3+30+32.2+25+38+27 = 200.5 overs for 145+99+62+83+98+80 = 567 runs at 2.535 runs per over.
Now equate this with Australian run rate in last 6 innings they have batted on their own pitches (all against South Africa early this year) - 451 in 155.5, 288 in 60.3, 355 in 119.3, 321 in 83, 258 in 75.2 and 528 in 146.4.
Don't bother calculating it. It comes out as 3.532 runs per over.
So can you see the difference. Australian batsmen can't wait to hit the ball and when it consistently pitches on the rough - finding 20 edges won't be tough.
2. Who says Australian wickets don't turn. SCG and Adelaide Oval helps spinners as much as anyone else but more importantly, its not the spin who troubles the batsmen. It's the awkward bounce that they hate.
A rough outside their off stump will only make it more awkward.
3. Both Monty Panesar and Ashley Giles are not the spinner who flight the ball. English strategy over the years has been to play a spinner who can block runs from one end and let the faster ones take wickets from other end.
Both Mondy and Ashley has done this job nicely for a long time and asking them to keep pitching the ball on the rough won't be a problem.
I think they are better spinners to do this job than my own country's Harbhajan Singh. Harbjahan is an aggressive spinner who tries to take wickets, while Giles and Panesar waits for batsmen to make mistakes.... that's what we want!!
4. Apart from Steve Harmison and Mathew Hoggard, other English pace bowlers Sajid Mehmood and James Andreson don't seem like taking wickets. Specially Australian wickets on cricket pitches down-under.
From what I see, making Australian batsmen to hit the ball will be a lot better idea then helping them by imparting pace on the ball. It's always better to spin the ball when you can't bounce the batsman out.