Sydney Test: Out-of-touch Australian bowlers made to pay on Day 1
Four-pronged bowling attack put on a disappointing show as Indian batsmen make merry on Day 1 at SCG
The four-pronged attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon has been dubbed as one of the finest in the rich history of Australian cricket. Before the start of the series, the four had taken 775 Test wickets between them. Without David Warner and Steven Smith, it was always going to be the bowlers' task to break down the opposition methodically to ensure the raw and inexperienced batting order stood a chance to compete with the World No. 1 team in India.
At stumps, Cheteshwar Pujara had ground the fancied bowling unit into the dust. It even prompted Lyon to ask the Indian No. 3 — if he was bored of batting. Even a bowler of Lyon calibre had failed to work out a solution to dislodge the Indian master. There were also near-misses, but overall Pujara had milked Lyon for 164 runs in the series and only dismissed him once. Lyon has now bowled 213 overs, the most by any bowler on both sides. His fingers must be tired and he seems to be losing in the game of patience.
Arguably, the most disappointing has been Starc. The left-arm is now averaging 30.81 in the series with a strike rate of 60. Far too often has the leader of the Australian attack offered easy boundaries and apart from the short ball theory, he has looked slight clueless with his plans. Such is the class of Starc, that he can turn the fortunes of a match in one spell, but times are getting desperate for the hosts and Starc needs to produce one of those memorable spells on the second morning.
Hazlewood has impressed at times but has not managed to gain that consistency. Far too often has he strived for a wicket rather than playing the patience game. It has to led to him delivering too many half volleys and leg stump offerings. It is not been the Hazlewood that we have become accustomed to, especially in Australia.
Also, the way India have handled the short ball has left the pacers in search of other options. In the last few years, it has been the short ball barrage that has led to a cluster of wickets, but apart from Perth, the fast bowling trio have not been able to conjure other plans. Pat Cummins has been the best by a mile, but even in Sydney, he kept hitting a length that saw the ball fly over the stumps. Overall, apart from Lyon and Cummins, the other two have been slightly down on form and India led by Pujara have made them pay.
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