The first two days of the Ashes have not quite justified the hype surrounding Australia’s fearsome pace trio- Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Former Australia pacer had insisted that Australia’s current pace lineup was better than the one that had terrorised England in 2013-14 Ashes while captain Steve Smith had likened the bowlers with Mitchell Johnson, the architect of Australia 5-0 win four years ago.
However, if the first two days of the series-opener at the Gabba is something to go by then one can say that the trio needs to buckle up to replicate Johnson’s heroics. The way, England newcomers Mark Stoneman (53), James Vince (83) and Dawid Malan (56) faced the pacers, there was absolutely no doubt that the visitors were not intimidated by Starc & Co.
But at the same time, one cannot rule out the fact that the Gabba pitch has lost its venom which it was famous for and the way England’s lower-order crumbled, Starc has said he is excited to have a go at them on pacy wickets.
“I can’t wait to bowl on a fast wicket against these guys, if that’s the way they’re going to play it on a slow wicket,” Starc told ABC Grandstand. “It’s going to be great for us to take them on with a fast wicket and see how they react to that.”
“It’s not a Gabba wicket that we’re used to … a bit more sunshine and it might get a little bit quicker. But the first two days was a bit of a slog with the ball. We had to change a few game plans there and one was a bit of short-pitched bowling and we got a couple of wickets that way,” the left-arm quick added.
After the top-order put up an excellent show, Malan’s departure opened the floodgates. The southpaw, after completing his fifty, top-edged a pull shot straight to Shaun Marsh at deep square leg, while wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow and tailender Stuart Broad were also caught off pull shots. England were eventually all out for 302, losing their last six wickets for just 56 runs.
On the other hand, England fast-bowler Jake Ball has insisted England players can handle any bouncer barrage that comes their way.
“Our batters have their plans and a lot of them have done a lot of work on the short ball and are comfortable playing the pull and the hook,” he said. “It’s down to them whether they want to play it or not.
“There’s a balance of just letting them bowl bouncers at you and trying to score.
For a period we looked very comfortable (against the short ball) just working it around the corner, getting the ones and ticking the scoreboard over,” he added.
Meanwhile, Australia finished the day on 165 for 4 with Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh on the crease.