The Aussie bowling tactic that spells certain doom in India

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Australia seem to be considering a radical change of approach, playing three specialist spinners in their Test XI in India, dropping Josh Hazlewood and handing the new ball to Mitch Marsh.

    Selector Mark Waugh flagged this bold choice while commentating on the Big Bash League on the weekend.

    “You could play one quick and then play Mitchell Marsh as the opening bowler and slide someone (a spinner) in,” Waugh said.

    Then Australia made the major move on Sunday of picking four frontline spinners in their 16-man squad – Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar.

    This is significant given they’ve only picked two tweakers on each of their last three tours of Asia – Sri Lanka in 2016, Pakistan (2014) and India (2013).

    On Sunday, interim Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns fanned the fire started by Waugh, saying Swepson and Agar had been selected in case “we need a third spinner, if the conditions suit that type of bowling”.

    And, of course, conditions in India will certainly “suit that type of bowling”.

    Then intrigue about Mitch Marsh’s possible role deepened when Hohns said his panel considered the West Australian to be a bowling all-rounder. This is a significant change of tack, given Marsh has been described by the selectors as a batting all-rounder during his 19 Tests.

    The four frontline spinners picked in the Australian squad is twice as many as they’ve taken on any tour to any country in the past decade.

    Specialist spinners selected in Australia’s Test squads on recent tours of Asia:
    Sri Lanka (2016) – Lyon and O’Keefe (Jon Holland later replaced injured O’Keefe in the squad)
    Pakistan in UAE (2014) – Lyon and O’Keefe
    India (2013) – Lyon and Xavier Doherty
    Sri Lanka (2011) – Lyon and Michael Beer
    India (2010) – Nathan Hauritz
    India (2008) – Jason Krejza

    Stephen O'Keefe celebrates Australia

    All this suggests we are likely, at some point during the series in India, to see Australia play three frontline spinners, with one of Hazlewood or Starc forced to watch on from the sidelines. The question now is how soon such a line-up will appear?

    Are the selectors considering it as an experiment in the latter part of the tour once any chance of an Australian series win has disappeared? Or do they see this spin-heavy line-up as Australia’s best chance of victory on a turning track? If the latter is true then it all depends on the condition of the surface for the first Test at Pune next month.

    Now, there is no doubt that Australia’s spinners will play a major role in India. But, as I wrote recently, it is Starc and Hazlewood, not the slow bowlers, who shape as Australia’s best attacking options in that series.

    O’Keefe and Lyon both are solid Test spinners. Neither, though, is likely to cause significant problems for a dominant Indian batting line-up, littered with elite players of spin. Even Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath, who is a wizard in Asian conditions and comprehensively outbowled Lyon last year, averages nearly 50 with the ball from his three Tests in India.

    Before Herath, the two greatest spinners of all time, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, averaged 43 and 45 respectively in Tests in India.

    For more recent evidence of the success of visiting spinners, consider the Test tours by England and New Zealand. Across the eight Tests those two sides played in India last year, the visiting spinners averaged 50 with the ball, while the visiting pacemen averaged 46.

    What that shows is that, despite the spin-friendly pitches, slow bowling is not particularly effective if your tweakers are not elite and the opposition batting line-up loves facing spin. England and New Zealand both loaded up on spinners in that series; the Poms used five tweakers – Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Gareth Batty, Liam Dawson and Zafar Ansari – while the Black Caps used four – Mark Craig, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Jeetan Patel.

    Now Australia have followed suit and picked a squad overflowing with slow bowlers. If the Aussies do what Waugh suggested and pick three spinners, play only one specialist paceman, and open the bowling with Marsh, they would be straying as far as away as possible from their greatest bowling strength. The pitches in India will turn – often from as early as Day 1.

    But Australia will be foolish if, while the series is still alive, they bank on spin and bench one of Hazlewood or Starc.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (178)

    • January 17th 2017 @ 6:00am
      Greg said | January 17th 2017 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      Not to mention we are not bringing our best wicket keeper to India

      • January 17th 2017 @ 6:42am
        Peebo said | January 17th 2017 @ 6:42am | ! Report

        Hey Wade would have caught that bat last night! Actually, hope Neville is well this morning. That was a shocking blow.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 7:29am
          twodogs said | January 17th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

          ?

        • January 17th 2017 @ 9:39am
          Adam said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          Wade would have caught it in his mouth because apparently he’s not much for catching and stumping and stuff but great at sledging, I mean chatting, behind the stumps.

          • January 17th 2017 @ 11:26am
            Bob said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            Matthew Wade – #backstop

        • January 17th 2017 @ 2:45pm
          matth said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

          Apparently they thought his jaw was broken at first, but it appears now to be a burst blood vessel

      • January 17th 2017 @ 8:43am
        oldtimer said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Not only that we are not taking our best wicket keeper to India.

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2017 @ 11:41pm
        JGK said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

        It’s a fair point. There is no point playing three spinners when one of their modes of dismissal – the stumping – is not available,e to them.

    • January 17th 2017 @ 6:05am
      qwetzen said | January 17th 2017 @ 6:05am | ! Report

      “Now, there is no doubt that Australia’s spinners will play a major role in India. But, as I wrote recently, it is Starc and Hazlewood, not the slow bowlers, who shape as Australia’s best attacking options in that series.”

      Relax Ronan. The first Test pitch is weeks away from being displayed.
      I suspect that the Australian Brains Trust, and Mark Waugh, are playing that old game of threatening to pick a battalion of spinners and slow bowlers in the forlorn hope that India don’t prepare a raging turner and we can then swoop in with our 3 quicks. It’s straight from the Baldrick Big Book of Cunning Plans.

      • January 17th 2017 @ 10:40am
        Swampy said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        The entire collection not enough to spread across a small wafer biscuit…

      • January 17th 2017 @ 11:55am
        Adrian said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

        That’s one way to deal with pitch doctoring. But surely Chadd Sayers in the squad as the 18th player would have been helpful.

    • January 17th 2017 @ 6:29am
      Morsie said | January 17th 2017 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      I don’t know why Steve Smith is not considered by himself, or the selectors, to be a bowling option – then Hazelwood could play.

      • January 17th 2017 @ 8:41am
        Dan said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Totally agree, It’d mean we could play a genuine batsman at 6 as well.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 10:23am
          Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          It’s because he is not very good with the ball. It’s the same reason we don’t call Khawaja or Renshaw all rounders.

          • January 17th 2017 @ 11:28am
            Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            But Marsh isn’t very good with the bat and we call him an all rounder buddy!

            • January 17th 2017 @ 11:46am
              Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

              Have you looked at the performances of Marsh…this month…in the Big Bash? Remember BBL form has had Chris Lynn recognized as a batsman. You can be selective but Marsh is very much an all rounder. He averages 35 in ODI and is averaging 70 in this current BBL. Even his Test average in the 20s is better than just a bowler.

              • January 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm
                Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                Haha yeah but he averages 6.5 in the shield this year buddy!

                Lynny has plenty of FC runs in his career buddy. He’s not just a hit and giggle merchant.

                His test average isn’t better than Starc!

                Marsh is just an ODI & T20 slogger. Useless if the conditions aren’t skewed to favour the batsmen!

              • January 17th 2017 @ 12:44pm
                Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Take out that one test in the UAE where he was seeing it like a beach ball and he averages less than 20! HA!

                The bloke has had 19 tests! He should be marked never to be selected again unless it’s as a bowler only!

              • January 17th 2017 @ 1:59pm
                Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

                The conditions in favour…? Why take out such innings? Do you think an average of 35 in ODIs is achieved by averaging 6.35? Really strange…buddy!

              • January 17th 2017 @ 2:55pm
                Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

                Come on mate! Get with it!

                Take it out because 1 test can be a 1-off.

                Which it clearly is buddy if it pumps his average up by 5 runs after 19 tests!
                Come on!

                Gotta be consistent. But I guess he’s got that part down. Consistently not scoring at test level!!!

              • January 17th 2017 @ 4:05pm
                Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

                I don’t care about ODI’s buddy. This is a test squad!

              • January 17th 2017 @ 4:24pm
                Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                He’s played more than one…but if your mind is set for criticism, you’ll never look.

                An average of 23 can’t be attained in 19 tests if every innings is less than 10 runs.

              • January 17th 2017 @ 4:26pm
                Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                Your point about Marsh is that he is not an all rounder. Every stat says he is. He may not be one of the best but he is very definitely…statistically…an all rounder.

              • January 17th 2017 @ 7:50pm
                John Erichsen said | January 17th 2017 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

                Chris Lynn’s FC average of 44.36 is what identifies him as a batsman. What’s Marsh average in First Class? 29.05.
                Next time you use someone to back your view, do a little research first. Otherwise you just sound ignorant.
                Lynn’s BBL form this series has merely elevated him to the top of the hard hitters in good form list.

              • January 17th 2017 @ 9:48pm
                Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

                You seem to have a handle on the stats. What are Chris Lynn’s bowling figures again?

                We were never talking about Mitch as a batsman only. An all rounder bats AND bowls.

              • January 18th 2017 @ 9:57am
                Maroon Kev said | January 18th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

                Who cares about Lynny’s bowling buddy.

                You said BBL form had Lynn recognised as a batsman!

                Not quite buddy! BBL form and a FC average of 44!!

                To be an all-rounder who bats and bowls, you have to be able to bat. Marsh aint able to regularly do that.

                As a batsman he’s not much better than Jason Gillespie. Get with it buddy.

                Unless he’s picked to bat at 8, he should never be considered for test cricket ever again!!!

                Get with it buddy!!

              • January 18th 2017 @ 10:06am
                Don Freo said | January 18th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

                You are just getting silly now. What does, “Get with it buddy!!” even mean?

                If you follow this thread, you’ll notice the change of direction of your argument so many times. We get that you don’t like Marsh…but that is not what is being argued.

              • January 18th 2017 @ 11:25am
                Maroon Kev said | January 18th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                No change of direction buddy!

                I said Marsh wasn’t a good batsman.

                You said he was good in ODI’s.

                I said that doesn’t count.

                You said Lynny was picked from T20.

                I said that he also is a good FC batsman, which Marsh isn’t.

                You’re the one changing direction.

            • January 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm
              matth said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

              Well played Maroon Ken, well played

              • February 7th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                Mike said | February 7th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                The sort of batting averages Marsh has across the formats indicate that he is a bowling all rounder. Unfortunately his bowling stats don’t have him as a player who can be selected purely on his bowling. To be a test standard all rounder one of your skills must be good enough to be selected on that skill alone – ie. at least test standard. A batting allrounder must be good enough to bat in the top 6 and handy with the ball, a bowling all rounder must be good enough to be one of your top 4 bowlers and bat at 7 or 8. True test standard all rounders are as rare as hen’s teeth – a bloke that can bat in the top 6 and is one of your top 4 bowlers. Keith Miller is the only one we have ever really had.
                Marsh is not even close to being in any of those categories at Test level. He’s much like Simon O’Donnell was. A great ODI player but neither of his skills were actually up to Test standard. Bits ‘ n pieces players are valuable in the shoprt formats where a quick 40 is very useful with the bat and batters get themselves out in the pursuit of quick runs. Test cricket is a different game and is called “Test cricket” for a reason.
                Chris Lynn is a batter that has the potential to play across all 3 formats for Australia. I’d love to see him fit and getting a crack at no.6 for the Test team.

              • February 7th 2017 @ 3:31pm
                Don Freo said | February 7th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Of course Mike, if you change your criteria, you will find many that are suitable.

                Averages will never point to what you are looking for in an all rounder. Richie Benaud had a test batting average of about 24. BUT he played some important innings when the batsmen might have failed.

                When the mainstream struggle with the ball, Mitch might step up. That’s how all rounders get their averages. The occasional good innings and occasional strong bowling numbers. That’s why they don’t average 10 with the bat and 60 with the ball but around 30 with the bat and 30 to 40 with the ball. A few failures interspersed with a success is a reasonable expectation.

                If the batsmen do well, the all rounder might free up to score quickly and be prepared to sacrifice an average for the team (Mitch many times). Similarly, when the bowlers do well, the all rounder is rarely used ( Marsh often, Maxwell, Cartwright…)

                Their function is to complement…not to dominate. The bowlers and batsmen have specific roles for that.

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2017 @ 10:03am
        JamesH said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Surely if they want three specialist spinners, they’ll bat Agar at 6 and keep Hazlewood. He’s probably more likely to score runs than M Marsh and Hazlewood is more likely to take wickets too.

        I think Maxwell at 6 (giving them ~2.5 spinners) would be a better option.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 10:29am
          jameswm said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          Agar at 6? How long is that tail?

          • January 17th 2017 @ 12:59pm
            Armchair Expert said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

            Not sure if a test number 6 has ever had a first class batting average of 26.

            • January 17th 2017 @ 2:23pm
              Brian said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

              Maddinson?

              • January 17th 2017 @ 8:06pm
                John Erichsen said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

                Mid 30’s but Maddinson’s selection certainly devalued the baggy green. Ah for the days when that Baggy Green cap was worth striving for enough that First Class runs mattered.
                Mark Waugh averaged 50 in first class cricket and had to wait several years to get his first test cap. Remember his Afghanistan nickname? Darren Lehmann scored well over 20000 FC runs, averaging over 55 and played a mere 27 tests. These guys are half the selection panel and personally know how hard the baggy green can be to receive. It’s confounding that they are part of a selection panel that throws test caps around like they are a spare wristband at a tennis match. Gut feelings, whims, hunches be damned. Results and in the long format need to be the only measure for test selection. Renshaw and Handscomb have had early success, but they do average over 40 in FC so they are half a chance. This, “he has promise or potential so give him a test cap” BS has got to stop. If that potential or promise were real and not merely a fairy tale, then FC performances would show it.

            • January 17th 2017 @ 7:54pm
              John Erichsen said | January 17th 2017 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

              Mitch Marsh has never averaged 30 in First Class cricket and was considered a batting all-rounder for 19 tests. Surely, they can’t make that mistake again so soon after realising their error.

          • January 17th 2017 @ 2:48pm
            matth said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

            Long. You could play Wade at 6 and Agar at 7, but that’s just shuffling the deck chairs.

            The only way Agar plays in my opinion is if O’Keefe gets injured again.

      • January 17th 2017 @ 10:47am
        BrainsTrust said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        How many times have you seen once some starts captaining a side they gives them a holiday from bowling, and stop working on it.
        The problem with that with this Australian side is Steve Smith is the only half decent part timer.
        So hence all this business about needing a batting rounder.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 12:11pm
          Arky said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          Australian captains definitely have a history of being very useful part-time bowlers (especially part-time spinners) and not bowling themselves enough. Border was reluctant to use himself. Waugh. Clarke. Now Smith. In the cases of Waugh and Clarke, injuries did have something to do with it. In the case of Smith (and Cameron White, in a non-captain spot, or at least not the Australian Test captain) it is more to do with realising that the bat and not the ball was their real path to glory and they stopped working on their bowling as much.

          • January 17th 2017 @ 2:25pm
            Brian said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

            But surely if Smith is no longer bowling or working on his bowling you can’t expect him to bowl in a test match.

    • January 17th 2017 @ 6:30am
      Peebo said | January 17th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      “What that shows is that, despite the spin-friendly pitches, slow bowling is not particularly effective if your tweakers are not elite and the opposition batting line-up loves facing spin.”

      As you illustrated earlier in this piece, many ‘elite’ slow bowlers have proven ineffective in India, so it’s not a case of having elite slow bowlers, it’s more having the right kind of slow bowlers. Swann has done well in India, so what you want is bowlers who read / adapt to their conditions.

      • January 17th 2017 @ 12:34pm
        Arky said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

        I ran a Statsguru query for non-Indian spin bowlers in India, best averages in the past 40 years, with some limits to weed out lucky part timers and one-Test wonders. There’s precious few who averaged under 30, and it’s basically a small list of off-spinners (Saqlain, Swann) and left-armers (Derek Underwood, Paul Adams of South Africa of all people).

        Even just above 30s, this holds true- Gavin Robertson (!), Michael Clarke (!), Tauseef Ahmed, even Nathan Lyon’s average in India of 37 is comparatively good when you look at the averages for the great leg-spinners like Warne, Vettori, Murali and Abdul Qadir….

        It VERY strongly suggests that overseas teams should not be trying to rely on right-arm leg-spinners (especially not third rate legspinners) in India, but should be picking left-armers and off-spinners.

        But even moreso, pace bowlers. Whereas the list of frontline spinners who’ve averaged under 30 in India in the past 40 years is very very short, the list of pace bowlers who’ve done the same is enormous. The likes of Hadlee, Donald, Walsh, McGrath and Steyn averaged either under 20 or very close to it and then you have another tier of bowlers in the low to mid 20s including Matthew Hoggard as well as more conventional greats like Holding, Marshall, Botham and Gillespie, then plenty more under 30 featuring names ranging from Akram and Khan to Ntini, Flintoff, Southee and even James Pattinson. Even Shane Watson averaged 32 with the ball across 6 Tests in India.

        Or in other words, INDIA succeeds with spin bowlers in India, but everyone else should be riding their pace attack plus maybe an off-spinner: the exact description of Australia’s best current attack!

        • January 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm
          ES said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          Good stats. Clarke got 4 for not much in India which would have padded his stats there

        • January 17th 2017 @ 2:50pm
          matth said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

          Very interesting, well done. In that case I would have loved to have Faulkner over there and play him at 7, so we could have three quicks and two proper spinner, but with at least some batting depth

        • January 17th 2017 @ 4:22pm
          andrew said | January 17th 2017 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

          Yes all good stats, but how many test series have Australia won in India using that pace theory?

          And don’t we say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

    • Roar Rookie

      January 17th 2017 @ 6:56am
      Lancey5times said | January 17th 2017 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      I’m a bit lost. So the whole Marsh over Hazlewood thing is because the second seamer would need to bat at 6 with the 3 spinners and Starc at 8-11?

      If so, how does this make him a bowling allrounder? Surely Maxi as the 3rd spinner and number 6 is the logical way to go

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2017 @ 10:04am
        JamesH said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        I think he’s just saying that Marsh would have to play if we still wanted a second seamer alongside the three spinners. 100% agree with your point about Maxwell.

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2017 @ 12:18pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        Agreed. If they want a third spinner then it has to be Maxwell. You are either playing Starc, Hazlewood, Bird, O’Keefe, Maxwell for a 3 pace, 2 spin team, or Starc, Hazlewood, O’Keefe, Lyon/Swepson, Maxwell for a 2 pace, 3 spin lineup. A third full-time spinner isn’t ever warranted because you aren’t going to have a third spinner bowl that many overs. In spinning conditions your top 2 spinners will bowl a lot of overs and you really just need a third to bowl a few short spells here and there to change things up and give them a quick break.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 2:32pm
          Brian said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

          Hazlewood got a clean action so if everyone fit the ideal might even be to play our 6 best batsman (revolutionary thinking I know) and then just 4 bowlers
          Warner, Renshaw, Khawaja, Smith, Handscomb, S Marsh, Wade, Starc, SOK, Hazlewood, Lyon.

    • January 17th 2017 @ 8:06am
      dangertroy said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Australia have won 4 matches in a row with essentially 4 bowlers, given that Cartwright only bowled 4 overs in Sydney. No it only that, but they put in a huge amount of overs.

      I see no point in us packing the team with extra mediocre bowling options. Yes, we are likely going to have to bowl lots of over in some matches, but you want those overs to be good overs. If we need to give the frontliners bowlers a break, then we have Warner and Smith to bowl 10 overs a day between them.

      Having Marsh in place of Hazlewood is just a ludicrous idea, it’s not like the extra 10 runs he will average will win us the match. Hazlewood nipping out Kohli or Pujara for a low score will save us hundred of runs.

      • January 17th 2017 @ 8:12am
        Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        Haha who even says he’ll average an extra 10 runs!

      • Roar Rookie

        January 17th 2017 @ 8:25am
        Lancey5times said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        So you want the overs to be good overs but you’re ok with Smith and Warner bowling them?

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2017 @ 8:46am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          Honestly, extra part timers like them are the crux of a top 6 batsmen. If the bowling is decent enough and not absolute pies then the batsmen will rarely attack them. No one wants to get out to them. Plus michael Clarke 6 wickets anyone?

          • Roar Rookie

            January 17th 2017 @ 9:33am
            Lancey5times said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

            Your right and Cartwright is a perfect example of this. Getting back to dangertroy’s post, I don’t think it’s a case of ‘if’ we need to give the frontliners a break it is how can we bowl the copious amount of overs we need to bowl and not break the quicks? The reality is that we will spend a long time in the field over there and it will probably be warm. And by warm I mean vindaloo warm. These conditions probably call for a bowler of a quality somewhere between Warner and Hazlewood. They could bowl 20 overs in a day potentially if Smith wants to use Starc in short bursts like he did in Sri Lanka. Let’s hope he also bowls Hazlewood more than he did then.

            • Roar Guru

              January 17th 2017 @ 12:23pm
              Chris Kettlewell said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

              Bowling lots of overs is actually a bit easier in spinning conditions because spinners, while still able to get tired and requiring breaks, can bowl very long spells and lots of overs. So having 2 decent spinners, especially if you have the likes of O’Keefe who can bowl consistently tight lines and lengths bowling to his field and not bowl too many four balls, you can then use your fast bowlers in short, sharp spells. More pace friendly conditions where you only have one spinner that’s harder because you need a much bigger chunk of the overs bowled by 3 specialist quicks and you can’t get the same level of long effective spells out of the one spinner in the lineup.

              • January 17th 2017 @ 1:08pm
                Armchair Expert said | January 17th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

                O’Keefe just took a career best 9/54 for Manly on the weekend, regardless of the clowns who harp on about him not spinning It, he just keeps on taking wickets.

              • Roar Guru

                January 17th 2017 @ 10:29pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

                I find it interesting how the same people who hate SOK because he “doesn’t spin it” often talk up Hazlewood over Starc. To me, I can see a lot of similarities in SOK v Lyon as Hazlewood v Starc. Lyon is like the poor man’s spin bowling version of Starc, he’s the one who gives it a big rip, and can get the ball jumping and turning lots, but bowls a lot more bad balls and can go for more runs. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown the ability to rip through teams when everything clicks like Starc has, so the comparison falls down there. In comparison, SOK is like Hazlewood, doesn’t do as much with the ball, but just keeps the ball in the right place, keeps constant pressure on and just keeps regularly picking up wickets.

                If you are someone who would take Hazlewood over Starc, then surely you’d have to be someone who’d take SOK over Lyon!

              • January 17th 2017 @ 10:39pm
                Don Freo said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

                Not me. I don’t need Lyon to “go through” an opposition. His 4 wickets a Test will do me and good, steady, occasional 4 and 5 fors will do me.

                I think Hazlewood is our best bowler.

              • January 17th 2017 @ 11:48pm
                Gus Paella said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

                In an attempt to add some balance to your thoughts on Lyon he did rip into the Pakistani middle order for 3/21 and not get a bowl after lunch as Starc came around the wicket and knocked over the tail. It’s not easy for spinners in Oz.

              • Roar Guru

                January 18th 2017 @ 7:56am
                Chris Kettlewell said | January 18th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

                Hi Gus,

                Lyon did get those three wickets, and later on Warne was going on about how Smith needed to bowl Lyon because clearly he was the one going to take more of the wickets. Smith did bring him back on and he got nothing, then eventually he went back to Starc who was the one to run through the rest of the Pakistan batting lineup.

                The issue with Lyon is while he gets the odd ball to really rip and do lots, he’s too inconsistent, regularly bowls too full, too short, too wide and then just gets the occasional ball in the right spot. After 60+ tests he should be at the point where he can be a lot more consistent in landing the ball in the right place than he is.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 9:06am
          Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          Nah buddy! He’s saying no point picking mediocre bowlers who can’t bat. We’ve already got mediocre bowlers who can bat!!!

          • Roar Rookie

            January 17th 2017 @ 9:19am
            Lancey5times said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

            You start 8 out of 10 of your posts with ‘buddy’.
            Can be a little patronising.

            • January 17th 2017 @ 9:39am
              Maroon Kev said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

              Be chill buddy

              • Roar Rookie

                January 17th 2017 @ 10:14am
                Lancey5times said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

                😉

              • January 17th 2017 @ 11:53am
                dave said | January 17th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

                Lance “buddy” Franklin

            • January 17th 2017 @ 3:26pm
              Morsie said | January 17th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

              He’s from the US mate.

        • January 17th 2017 @ 9:11pm
          dangertroy said | January 17th 2017 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

          I guess what I’m saying is that if we are picking someone as a 5th bowling option, then they need to be able to bowl test quality overs. I’m not convinced Maxwell is a test quality bowler. That means he has to justify his selection as a batsman, and I’m not sure he doesn’t.
          Mitch Marsh is the inverse. He is actually a pretty decent bowler, but he can’t justify a spot as a batsman alone. If the option is picking him over Hazlewood so we can accommodate Maxwell as an all-rounder, then no sale.

      • January 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm
        Pedro the Maroon said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        But wait until 4 bowlers have to shoulder the workload for 2 days in 35 degree heat in 90% humidity.
        The 4 tests on the trot have been won in pretty good time and the opposition were rolled more often than not in less than a day.

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2017 @ 12:26pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          If the attack has two spinners and the conditions suit the spinners bowling a lot of overs then it’s actually easier to get through long periods in the field with just four main bowlers than it is when the majority of overs need to be bowled by the quicks. They can get the spinners to bowl long spells and use Starc and Hazlewood in short sharp spells where they can attack hard and bowl flat-out and then go back to the spinners for a while.

          Pakistan actually had a few innings of 400 plus scored at a reasonably slow run rate meaning the Aussie quicks bowled a lot of overs. Flat pitches in conditions where the quicks have to bowl most of the overs probably require a fifth bowler more than flat pitches where you have two spinners sharing the bulk of the overs.

          • January 17th 2017 @ 2:55pm
            matth said | January 17th 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

            If you want the fifth bowling option the simple solution is to line up your options on tour – Maxwell, Agar and M Marsh.

            Now will any of them take 5 wickets to smash through or will we basically just get 10-15 overs out of them? I think they will all have about the same impact as bowlers.

            Given that, let’s just pick the best bat of the three – that would be Maxwell.

            So, whether we go in with 2 quicks and 2 spinner or 3 quicks and one spinner, the fifth bowler should be Glen Maxwell.

            • Roar Guru

              January 17th 2017 @ 10:31pm
              Chris Kettlewell said | January 17th 2017 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

              I have to say I pretty much agree. It’s hard to see any remotely sensible batting lineup where they go with an allrounder and it’s anyone but Maxwell.

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2017 @ 12:30pm
          Anindya Dutta said | January 17th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          Its Feb and March in Bangalore Ranchi Pune and Dharamsala. Not much chance of temperatures consistently in the mid 30’s. It will be far more pleasant except perhaps in Ranchi at midday.

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