Australia coach Justin Langer admitted that the Aussie pacers endured a tough time in the 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy but asserted that he is excited to see the ‘two years better’ seamers have a go at India this time around. Langer further spoke about the pacers on the verge of breaking through.
The Australians, in the 2018/19 Border Gavaskar Trophy, were weakened with the bat by the absence of Smith and Warner, but despite boasting of a full-strength bowling unit, were outperformed by their Indian counterparts with the ball. Barring Pat Cummins, who with 14 wickets was Australia’s highest wicket-taking seamer, both Starc and Hazlewood, who averaged over 30, struggled perennially and failed to create inroads into the Indian batting. The pace attack got pedestrian as the series progressed and in the third and the fourth Tests, the Indians, led by Pujara, amassed totals of 443 and 622 in the first innings to wear down the home side.
With Australia’s batting now significantly bolstered, their pacers would need to step up to harm the Indian side, and confident about the same is coach Justin Langer. The Aussie coach admitted that his pacers blew hot and cold two years ago, but claimed that they are now a much, much more experienced attack, having had two years of invaluable experience under their belt.
"If I go back to that time (2018-19), we lost a toss at the MCG after winning the Perth Test match - lost the toss on possibly the flattest wicket I've seen in Test cricket ... and they (India) bowled for nearly two days," Langer was quoted as saying by 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
"And then we had to back it up and play at the SCG the next Test match on a pretty flat wicket as well. Not making excuses, but it was tough going back then.
"India were on top of their game, they deserved to beat us for the first time in their history. But our guys are two years better and a lot of the Indians are the same, more experienced. I can't wait to see them go. Can't wait."
While Australia’s first-choice pace attack of Starc, Hazlewood, and Cummins is as lethal a trio as there can be, also threatening to break into the XI are James Pattinson, Michael Neser, and Sean Abbott. The trio has been included in the 17-man squad for the India series, and while Pattinson was a part of the 2019 Ashes Triumph in England, both Neser and Abbott have been knocking on the door by producing exquisite performances in the Shield as bowling all-rounders.
Langer expressed delight over the potency of second-choice seamers, all of whom are expected to play for Australia A in the warm-up games prior to the Tests.
"James Pattinson who has come back from that back injury, we saw how powerful that was during the last Ashes in England. Michael Neser keeps playing well over and over again," Langer said.
"And Sean Abbott, every Shield player I'm talking to, batsmen, they're all saying Sean Abbott is bowling fast and his lines and lengths are incredible. (We have) got great depth and I can't wait to see them get going against India this summer."