Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are walk-up starters.
Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are walk-up starters.

Unlucky casualty of Australia’s firing pace arsenal

AUSTRALIA believe their pace attack is so good they may triumph in a region where last time they played four spinners.

The subcontinent is normally the haven of tweakers and turners but as much as Australia will pay homage to the conditions when they tour for two Tests in June, the result might be to just unleash the pace battery anyway.

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc would shape as walk-up selections if fit, but James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood and Michael Neser would also be almost impossible to leave out of the squad based on their performances, and in Neser's case, versatility.

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The wisdom would be to play a second spinner alongside Nathan Lyon, but selectors may ultimately feel their world-class fast-bowling cartel trumps the claims of Mitchell Swepson for a Test debut, despite the fact the leg-spinner might be, technically speaking, more tailored to the conditions.

In 2017, Australia had their pants pulled down by Bangladesh in the first Test and escaped with a 1-1 series draw.

Lyon, Agar, Steve O'Keefe and Glenn Maxwell played in a four-pronged spin ensemble which featured Cummins as the only recognised quick.

But Langer remembers well one of the landmark tours of his career, the last time Australia won a campaign on Indian soil in 2004.

In that series, Australia abandoned normal convention and backed in Shane Warne as the only specialist spinner.

Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath were crucial in Australia’s historic win in India in 2004. Picture: Hamish Blair/Getty
Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath were crucial in Australia’s historic win in India in 2004. Picture: Hamish Blair/Getty

They relied on Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz bowling to specific fields and game plans to beat India on their own patch.

Langer said that a pace-­oriented assault of Bangladesh could not be ruled out.

"I remember when Australia won after many, many years in India in 2004, it was on the back of some very, very disciplined fast bowling," he said. "Adam Gilchrist was the captain. We had very clear plans.

"We talked about that during the Ashes series. We had very clear plans on that. So it could happen.

"It would be so hard to leave out one of those three or four bowlers. We'll look at that when it comes to Bangladesh - and look at the conditions - but there's a good combination at the moment."

Langer said the presence of two improving spin-bowling all-rounders in the XI would also increase the chances of three pacemen playing on the Bangladeshi dust bowls.

"It also helps with Marnus (Labuschagne) bowling leg-spin and with Travis Head being able to bowl a few overs as well," he said.

Mitchell Swepson is gunning for a baggy green. Picture: AAP/James Gourley
Mitchell Swepson is gunning for a baggy green. Picture: AAP/James Gourley

Neser is yet to make his Test debut but has been on reserve for the whole home summer, as well as last year's Ashes and the 2018 tour of the UAE.

The Queenslander could emerge as a strong contender in Bangladesh, particularly if Australia can't settle on an all-rounder with whom they are happy.

Neser is good enough to bat at No.7, push Tim Paine to No.6 and allow a second spinner such as Swepson into the attack to partner Lyon.

Opener Joe Burns had an enigmatic summer, falling just short of making a century in the first Test and ultimately ­averaging 32 from five Tests.

Langer indicated no one in the current squad was under serious pressure for Bangladesh.

"It would be hard to break up that squad," he said.

News Corp Australia


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