London, June 9
Ahead of the Ashes series beginning in Edgbaston on June 16, Australian batter Steve Smith has backed their pace attack to demolish the England lineup.
"I said it initially when Bazball (England's attacking play) started that I'm intrigued to see how it goes against our bowlers. I've said that all along," Smith said as quoted by ICC.
Since England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum adopted a bold attitude to batting and the red-ball format with amazing success, England has won 11 of their last 13 Test matches and will enter the Ashes series with momentum.'
Fast run rates and exciting strategies have helped England defeat opponents like New Zealand, India, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ireland, but they have yet to play Australia, the side that finished first in the ICC World Test Championship rankings and is favoured to win the Final.
"They've obviously done well against some other attacks, but they haven't come up against us yet. 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, we'll wait and see how it comes off against us," he added.
The Australia attack is fortunate to have choices since left-armer Mitchell Starc and skipper Pat Cummins continue to play regularly, while Josh Hazlewood's injury have made room for other quicks.
Australian bowler Scott Boland has taken advantage of his opportunities, amassing 28 wickets in seven Tests with an average of 13.42 until his outstanding performance against India on day two of the WTC Final.
Michael Neser, a bowling all-rounder who was substituted for Hazlewood after the WTC roster was finalised, also appears to be a viable contender, particularly given the conditions in England.
According to ICC, Smith said, "I'm not a selector, but I know from having faced Scotty (Boland) in the nets recently, he's bowling very nicely, the angles he provides, his ability to hit the stumps from slightly shorter than some of our other bowlers, is a big plus. That's something that I think Neser can do as well."
"(Boland) has turned up every time he's had an opportunity. So whether he's leaving any of the big three out, I don't know the answer to that. But he's certainly a quality prospect, as we've seen for a couple of years now every time he's had his opportunity," he further added.
Cummins (1/36), Starc (1/52) and Boland (1/29) each struck on day 2 of the WTC Final, along with all-rounder Cameron Green (1/22) and spinner Nathan Lyon (1/4).
Smith revealed how the Australia attack intends to press home their advantage against India on day 3, in an insight into what England might also expect in the Ashes.
"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. If you're hitting those areas consistently it's quite challenging," Smith concluded.