Is there anything more mesmerising than watching menacing pace bowling? Well, if the question relates to pace bowling in Australia, then there are very few things more captivating than watching the fast bowlers put in the hard yards Down Under. Although batting has its own charm, but bowling with the red cherry on bouncy and seam-friendly pitches is a different pleasure altogether for bowlers.
The most looked for Test series – The Ashes is just two weeks away, and both the teams are gearing up for the high-voltage battle. Both the swords are equally sharpened and the battle between the two will be fascinating to watch. The sides wear a balanced look and have some match-winners on the side. Both the teams have an incredible pace attack and one wouldn’t be wrong in saying that series will witness some mind-boggling bowling performances from both the sides.
Mitchell Johnson was the talk of the town when last time England toured Australia back in 2013-14. The intimidating left-arm pacer hogged all the headlines with his alarming pace and threatening bounce as he steered his side to command on a regular basis. Australia whitewashed England in a five-match series and one can expect some terrifying bowling this time a well. England fought back in the most recent Ashes at home and will look to retain the Urn with some match-winning performances Down Under. Australia, on the other hand, will look to come out all guns blazing and regain the precious Urn on home soil.
Talking about bowling attacks, Australia does have an upper-hand with the presence Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins at home. Having said so, England does have match-winners in the form of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Ben Stokes. Talking about spinners, both, Nathan Lyon and Moeen Ali have played crucial roles for their sides in the recent times and have the ability to do well in Australia.
England have been extremely unfortunate to miss out of key players prior to the series. Ben Stokes’s participation is hanging by a thin thread and is still uncertain. Stokes has been one of their key players and an impactful all-rounder, his presence is no less than a boon to any side. But only time will reveal if Stokes will be on the plane to England or not. If yes, then the trio of Broad, Anderson and Stokes will form a menacing troika with the new ball along with Chris Woakes and Ali.
At first, Toby-Roland Jones was ruled out due to a stress fracture in the back after which, Steven Finn and Jake Ball suffered mistimed injuries. Finn has been ruled out of the series while Ball will miss the first Test. England have now roped in Tom Curran in the line-up and it will be interesting to see what combination England opt for the series opener at Brisbane.
In Anderson, England have a solid swing bowler, who can make the utmost use of the new ball and get it to swing both the ways. He is capable of wreaking havoc if there is any swing. Although Anderson does not hails of an impressive record Down Under, but with a plethora of experience and skills in his armoury, one can expect him to weave magic with the red cherry this time.
Broad has been outstanding at the other end and has formed one of the best pairs with Anderson. Broad can pierce through batsmen’s defence and generate some extra bounce from the surface. If England are eyeing to do well in Australia, then these two have to chip a lot of wickets between them.
Both with the bat and ball, Moeen Ali has been fantastic over the years. He simply adds the x-factor to the attack. The likes of Woakes, Curran will provide solid back up, but Australia will certainly be a tough nut to crack for these bowlers. Each bowler is different from the other. The bowling attack has potential, and England would want their seamers to exploit the conditions to the fullest.
For Australia, their bowlers are more used to the conditions, which certainly works to their advantage. They have a commanding pace attack of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins. There are variety and diversity in the attack, which is always handy to have.
Starc has been a force to be reckoned in the shorter formats, but his irresistible rise with the red ball is captivating. He did extremely well in the sub-continent tours and developed into a leader. His fiery pace, ability to swing the new ball and reverse the old one, stands him out. Not to forget, his yorkers can clean up the tail single-handedly.
Hazlewood rides on immaculate line and length along with impeccable accuracy. He has an uncanny knack for picking early wickets and with Starc forms a formidable new ball pair. Pat Cummins, on the other hand, is brimming with raw pace and ability. His evolution in this format has only added to Australia’s strength. He was outstanding in the sub-continent, where seamers usually don’t get enough help from the surface while Lyon has been roaring to newer heights.
The battle between Anderson-Broad and Starc-Hazlewood will be the flavour of the season, while the likes of Cummins and Stokes will be the players to watch out for along with Lyon and Ali. This is the kind of competitiveness and intensity Ashes is known for. A solid pace attack on both the sides and spinners who have led the attack with immense confidence. Both the bowling attacks are unique in their own style and have done well in different conditions. They are all set to set the stage on fire. Expect a barrage of short deliveries, enthralling spells and dazzling bowling performances as the oldest Test rivalry kick starts on November 23, Brisbane.