Aussie cricketers cop a really rude shock
AUSTRALIA'S batsmen are under the gun - as they were before the first Test of the summer - but any hopes of the team's bowlers bailing their rivals out need to be tempered.
Before the first Test against India former captain Steve Waugh said Australia's new-look batting line-up didn't need to always make massive scores to win the series because its bowlers were so good.
If the willow-wielders could scrounge their way to 300 often enough then Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon could do plenty of damage to an opposition that's rarely had success in Australian conditions.
Waugh's prophecy looked on the money as the home side's quicks tore India's top order to shreds on day one and coach Justin Langer is already licking his lips at the prospect of a fast, bouncy pitch in Perth for Friday's second Test - the first on the drop-in wicket at the new Optus Stadium.
"Hopefully on a wicket conducive to a bit of swing and seam, the bowlers will get the job done," Langer said.
But while it's assumed Australia has the advantage in the fast bowling department, the numbers from the first Test tell a different story.
Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami picked up 14 of the 20 wickets between them and stifled the Aussie batsmen in both innings as the hosts scored at just 2.38 runs per over in the first innings and 2.42 in the second.
Shane Warne said ahead of the series he believed this Indian pace unit was one of the best the country has ever assembled - and he was right.
According to stats guru Freddie Wilde of CricViz, the visiting speedsters out-bowled their counterparts in every facet bar average speed in the City of Churches. When it came to hitting the right areas and extracting seam and swing, the Indians were simply better.
It was reportedly India's most disciplined bowling performance in a Test in England, Australia and South Africa in 12 years and it showed as they bowled 60 maidens in the match compared to Australia's 41.
Former Test bowler Trent Copeland heaped praise on the Indian pace attack while analysing their performance.
He said the tourists had the perfect mix of quicks who can attack with the old and new ball while he also praised off-spinner Ravi Ashwin for holding up one end to allow his fast bowling comrades to press for wickets at the other.
For a country used to relying on quality tweakers to spin their side to victory on dusty, turning wickets at home, it was something different to see the fast men take responsibility for out-bowling a feared Australian attack Down Under.
Writing for the Indian Express, Sriram Veera called the fast bowlers' effort a coming of age chapter in Indian cricket and reflected on former Indian paceman Javagal Srinath's happiness at seeing his former trade applied so diligently.
"India's golden age of fast bowling came to a fruition in the most Indian way - with dollops of intelligence, discipline, and skill," Veera wrote.
"Srinath sums up three things that caught his eye: The pace in their third spells being as good as the first, the skill and discipline that reflected in the strangling lines and lengths, and the fiery-and-yet-intelligent spells that the three seamers whipped up through the game.
"That, in essence is what makes this attack potent. If it wasn't coming at 141km/h (the Indian pace attack's average speed in this Test), all the discipline in line and length would probably not have made the difference. The batsmen wouldn't have been hurried, felt strangled.
"As Srinath says, the pace in the third spell matching up to all the initial enthusiasm with the new ball was quite something."
So while Australia will be hoping for a juicy deck in Perth, it won't just be Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins relishing the chance to let loose.