Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Dawid Malan on Monday.
Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Dawid Malan on Monday.

Aussie bowlers breaking England’s spirit

AUSTRALIA's bowling attack is the best this nation has produced since Shane Warne retired as has the potential to shake up world cricket.

Good things rarely come in fours in bowling attacks.

Most have a soft spot. Even the mighty West Indian sides of the 1980s lacked a decent spinner.

But Australia has four outstanding operators in good form, a rare cricketing event.

The best contest in this Ashes series would be if the teams swapped fast bowlers and Australia's batsmen had to face Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins and England their own Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Craig Overton.

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Now that truly would be something to see. But this lopsided contest is getting more one-way by the day as England's vaunted but fading spearheads struggle to break 140km/h while the younger Australians threaten 150km/h.

Speed kills at this level. Australia has it. England doesn't it. And it is the one quality you can't manufacture.

Australia loves to luxuriate in its history of rampaging fast bowlers but most of the most glamorous unions were pairs - Lillee and Thomson, Lindwall and Miller, McDermott and Hughes and McGrath and Gillespie.

But these units were at their best when these teams had third and fourth wheels vigorously spinning behind them.

Behind Lillee and Thomson bowlers such as the late Max Walker carved out some impressive numbers (138 wickets at 27) trapped in the giant shadow of the men in front of him.

Miller and Lindwall had Bill Johnston in support and McGrath and Gillespie had Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz before the ball even got to Shane Warne.

But the strength of this attack is its evenness. On any given day any of the four bowlers, including spinner Nathan Lyon, could be the match winner and their skills complement each other.

Cummins, both work horse and cutting edge, is technically the junior member of the attack yet he may well become the best of the lot.

Australia will not always be able to have a hostile game plan like they did at times to the England tail on Monday where all but two fieldsmen were behind square leg.

Bouncer after bouncer reigned down on England's tail from the likes of Cummins and England looked down and desperate and scrambling.

England's spirit looks broken now.

It said something about England's top order that the most defiant looking batsman seen in the first two sessions was the granite statue of Clem Hill unveiled outside the ground.

He was deliberately portrayed with a look of arrogant defiance, a man who looked the world in the eye and often stared it down.

How England could have done with someone similar at the crease.

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