Australia's superb bowling effort on the second afternoon of the World Test Championship (WYC) Final with India has raised questions about how England's Bazball tactics will fare against this bowling unit in the five-match Ashes series starting later this month.
Former Australia skipper Steve Smith said it would be difficult for the England batters, who are currently following the high-tempo aggressive style of break-neck scoring runs introduced by former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and called Bazball if they come up against the strong Australian attack on a wicket like one they are playing at The Oval.
The Australian bowling unit of four pacers -- Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Scott Boland and Cameron Green -- along with spinner Nathan Lyon claimed a wicket apiece as they reduced India to 151/7 in 38 overs after Smith (121) and Travis Head (163) helped them to 469 in their first innings.
The Aussies pacers bowled incisive spells, attacked the top of the off-stump and used the uneven bounce and movement off the seam to their advantage against batters like Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, getting them out cheaply.
Smith said if they get such wickets, it would be difficult for England to go Bazball against this Australian attack. They are scheduled to play the fifth Test of the Ashes at The Oval.
"I mean, I think it'd be difficult on this kind of wicket that's up and down and seaming around - it's not easy to defend let alone come out and swing. So yeah I think I said it initially when Bazball started that I'm intrigued to see how it goes against our bowlers. I've said that all along. So, you know, they've obviously done well against some other attacks, but they haven't come up against us yet," said Smith during a press conference after the second day's play in the WTC Final at the Oval.
"So, we'll see. It's obviously been exciting to watch. I must say I've enjoyed watching the way they've played and the way that I guess they've turned things around in the last 12 months or so but it's yeah we'll wait and see how it comes off against us," said Smith, who was happy to have started the Summer with a majestic century.
He also gave credit to the Australian bowlers for dismissing the Indian top order cheaply, saying they bowled in the right areas and attacked the stumps.
"I think it's just putting the ball in the right area more often than not. Owning that sort of, I think it's probably five and a half to seven-metre length. Top of the stumps, there's enough natural variation there in terms of up and down. Obviously Virat got a very difficult one, he couldn't really do much there to be fair and if you're hitting those areas consistently it's quite challenging," said Smith.
Starting with a century in the first match will be a big boost for Smith as he is expected to be the key batter as Australia are aiming to win their first Ashes in England for the first time.
Asked whether this sets up him for what he wants to be a big summer, Smith said, "Yeah, hopefully. It was nice to spend a lot of time out there against some good bowlers on a challenging wicket after getting sent in. So, yeah, I'll take a lot of confidence out of that and hopefully can keep building and have a successful summer."
The Ashes start with the first Test at Birmingham on June 16. The second Test will be played at the Lord's from June 28, with the third match in Leeds from July 6. The fourth Test will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester from July 19 with the fifth at The Oval from July 27.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)