Pat puts Eng­land on bouncer alert

The Cricket Paper - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL NIXON

AUSSIE pace ace Pat Cum­mins has fired an­other ver­bal shot at Joe Root’s Eng­land stars, warn­ing them to ex­pect a bouncer bar­rage in this win­ter’s Ashes.

Four years ago, Mitchell John­son’s brute pace and 37 wick­ets de­stroyed Eng­land’s chances of re­tain­ing the Urn, and Cum­mins be­lieves the Aussie at­tack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Ha­zle­wood and him­self has the raw pace to un­set­tle the tourists Down Un­der.

Cum­mins said: “Hope you [Eng­land] prac­tise your bounc­ers be­cause we’ll be bowl­ing a lot of them. No one re­ally likes it if you’ve got real pace and bounce, and real ac­cu­racy.”

As much as we try, we just can­not ban­ish the mem­o­ries of Mitchell John­son tear­ing the Eng­land bat­ting at­tack apart Down Un­der from four years ago. Now the Three Lions get set to make that trip again, with a bat­tle against pace look­ing very likely given Aus­tralia’s pre­dicted line-up, even though James Pat­tin­son has al­ready been ruled out with a back in­jury.

Fac­ing pace will be some­thing the Eng­land unit needs to get used to. They’ll be up against bowl­ing ma­chines as soon as they get to Aus­tralia, and will want to test them­selves out against guys who can break that 90mph limit in their warm-up games.

The ball doesn’t swing for long in Aus­tralia, so the lat­eral seam move­ment is min­i­mal as soon as the ball gets soft, which doesn’t take long be­cause the pitches are so abra­sive and hard. The Kook­aburra seam is smaller than a Dukes seam, too, so you need guys who are a bit taller and a bit quicker.

Mitchell John­son was that, as well as be­ing deadly ac­cu­rate, in 2013-14 as he picked up 37 wick­ets at less than 14 apiece.

He made the bats­men make poor de­ci­sions. You don’t get long to think about what de­ci­sion you’re mak­ing and if it’s quick and on the mark ev­ery time, it’s not easy.

But, as I’ve said, it does be­come much eas­ier in Aus­tralia the longer you’re in and it can be a dream to be bat­ting. It’s an eas­ier game in the mid­dle-or­der but you just need to see off any good spells.

You’re play­ing the ball late any­way when it’s com­ing at you at 90 clicks, it’s about get­ting through the tough ses­sions. They may be a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence for Eng­land. See off Mitchell Starc and here comes Josh Ha­zle­wood or Pat Cum­mins. But Eng­land def­i­nitely have the abil­ity to weather the storm.

All great bat­tles in Test cricket have a bowler steam­ing in and get­ting a bats­man hop­ping around.

It’s a bril­liant spec­ta­cle, and noth­ing beats be­ing in the mid­dle of a great con­test like that. Walk­ing out know­ing you’re go­ing to face fast bowl­ing is a

We’ve got plenty of bats­men ca­pa­ble of mak­ing the most of the bad balls, and that’s vi­tal

buzz, there’s a cer­tain ner­vous­ness and fear there, but it’s great.

You just need to con­trol that and not let the ex­cite­ment get the bet­ter of you. You need to keep breath­ing and re­lax, and stick to your ba­sics. If the ball hits you, it’s go­ing to break some­thing, but you can’t let that cloud your judg­ment.

For the great play­ers, they get the ex­cite­ment out in their walk, with shadow bat­ting and lit­tle bursts of en­ergy.

By the time the bowler is run­ning in, that buzz level has dropped. By the sec­ond ball, it’s dropped more and af­ter three or four balls, you’re in the place you want to be.

Test cricket should be chal­leng­ing, and there’s no se­ries tougher than an away Ashes trip.

Aus­tralia will be fear­ful of the Eng­land bat­ting line-up. There’s plenty of runs in the Three Lions squad and it’s a team of match-win­ners.

We’ve got plenty of bats­men ca­pa­ble of mak­ing the most of the bad balls, and that’s vi­tal. The ball is al­ready com­ing quick, so go hard and your edges will fly over the slips.

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Plenty to shout about! Pat Cum­mins has warned Eng­land to be on their toes Down Un­der this win­ter

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Ashes night­mare: Mitchell John­son took 37 Eng­land wick­ets in the 2013-14 se­ries

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