Aussies quick to confirm bouncer barrage will continue
CRICKET: Australia's fired-up fast bowlers are aiming to bombard England with a bouncer barrage having taken a 1-0 lead in the Ashes.
The widespread expectation prior to the first Test was that Australia's quicks Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins would rain bouncers on the opposition at the Gabba.
The surface however wasn't suited to short delivers early on but started to liven up as the game continued.
Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins all claimed wickets with short-pitched deliveries, while Starc struck England captain Joe Root's helmet with a rearing ball on day four.
"They're pretty uncomfortable with some short stuff,” Starc said.
"The pink-ball game is next. Adelaide offers a little bit more grass but definitely the tail can expect a lot of short stuff.”
Hazlewood agreed, delighting in the way England's first and second innings finished with collapses of 6-56 and 4-10 respectively.
"We dug a few in short. There's definitely always a chance for a wicket,” Hazlewood said.
"We've talked about it quite a bit over the last few weeks, how fragile that middle to bottom order is once you get on a roll.”
Kevin Pietersen, among the many England batsmen to be terrorised by Mitchell Johnson four years ago, said "the concern is the top order, nobody seemed to be able to play the short ball well”.
"You want to score runs in Australia you have got to play the short ball well,” Pietersen said.
Root however disagreed with the suggestion his team were consistently troubled by bouncers, while counterpart Steve Smith backed his pacemen to create more headaches on what is "one of the quickest wickets in the country at night”.
"We saw how effective our bowlers could be when this wicket quickened up a little bit, so that's exciting,” Smith said.
Hazlewood and Starc overcame injuries to take their place in the XI at the Gabba, with the quicks both confident they're in no doubt for the second Test that begins on Saturday.
Cummins, who excelled with bat and ball in his first home Test, is also feeling fine after bowling only 12.4 overs in England's second innings that lasted 71.4 overs.
"The body feels great, no issues. Glad we have a bit of a rest now,” Cummins said.
"We'll be all ready to go for Adelaide.”