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Australia's Langer expecting bouncer barrage

Written by: Staff

MELBOURNE, Nov 21 (Reuters) Australian batsman Justin Langer expects to be peppered by a salvo of short deliveries from the England bowling attack when the Ashes series gets under way at Brisbane on Thursday.

The obdurate opener, who turns 36 tomorrow, said the likes of Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff were set to test him with bouncers at the Gabba after he had been troubled by such deliveries in the past.

Langer was struck a ferocious blow on the elbow from Harmison's second delivery of the 2005 Ashes series at Lord's, and he was concussed by the first ball of his 100th test at Johannesburg in April after a sharp lifter from South Africa's Makhaya Ntini.

''As a 5ft 8ins (1.727 metre) opening batsman I've faced a lot of short-pitched bowling in my life,'' Langer told reporters.

''Do I expect to get more? I'm not sure actually which way England decide to bowl at me, we'll find out on Thursday morning.

''After I got hit in Johannesburg I wondered whether it would have an impact on me.

''But to steal a cliche I got back on the horse and started practising playing bouncers again just to make sure any doubts were eliminated.'' Langer, who has hit 7,393 runs at 45.35 in his century of tests, has been included in Australia's squad for the first Ashes test despite pressure from in-form New South Wales opener Phil Jaques, who struck two centuries in warm-up matches against England.


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