Australia vs India 2018-19: The bowling 'Fab Four' of the Aussies

Adwait Abhyankar

Hazlewood, Lyon, Starc and Cummins

The much awaited India’s Test tour of Australia begins from December 6, 2019, at the iconic Adelaide Oval in Adelaide. Experts are touting this as India’s best chance to defeat Australia at their home turf and register their first series win Down Under.

The home team is not in best of the forms with their star batsman out of the series due to bans and the fragile batting order.

However, it is the star-studded bowling attack of the home team that has regularly caused problems in the past to the mighty Indian batting lineup in the 2014 Tour of India Down Under. India has never won a series till date in Australia.

Earlier in the past, they have drawn series against Australia. However this time, the bowling lineup of this Australian team can act as a major obstacle for India in winning the series.

The flat and bouncy pitches in the series shall be tailor-made for the tall lanky Australian speedsters. The fabulous trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood & Pat Cummins would be deadly to counter given their nagging accuracy and the ability to bowl at 150 km/h consistently. They can extract a considerable amount of bounce from the flat decks due to their thunderbolt deliveries thereby posing huge challenges for the visiting teams.

Having bowled in tandem, they are making life difficult at the crease even for the best batsmen in the world. Nathan Lyon, the lone spinner in the ‘Fab 4’ bowling lineup acts as a perfect aide to the thundering trio. India will need to beware and have to prepare a strong game plan to counter these four chief tormentors of great batting lineups of the world. This bowling lineup can strike fear into the hearts of modern contemporary batsman. Here is a look on the Fabulous four of Aussie Bowling in cricket currently:

#1  Mitchell Starc

His toe crushers are a nightmare to the batsman

The tall, lanky left-arm pacer from Sydney is a nightmare for world-class batsman. His menacing ability to cause movement of the ball in the air and bring it back into the batsman at thunderous pace has caused serious trouble to some of the best batsmen in the world. He is one of the world’s most feared bowlers today for a reason.

Having made his debut in the Baggy Green at the Gabba in late 2011, he has certainly come a long way in becoming one of the best pacers in world cricket today. He lacked the accuracy with the ball in the earlier stages of his career and hence was not given a consistent run in the side. After he made adjustments to his bowling and adding new variations in his bowling, he cemented his place in the bowling lineup and today has become the undisputed leader of the Aussie bowling line-up.

His most dreaded delivery is the toe-crushing yorker bowled at 150 km /h leaving the stumps that cartwheels behind. It is truly a sight to behold and watch again and again. Since 2015 he has improved his game and taken his performances to completely another level acting as a chief in wrecker of mighty batting lineups of the world. After Mitchell Johnson retired, he has carried the burden of Australian bowling lineup on his shoulders. In the 2017/18 Ashes in Australia, he was the team’s highest wicket-taker with the ball.

Mitchell Starc will be the bowler to watch out for Team India as they head in their attempts to register their first series win in Australia. The likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and other Indian batsmen will have to counter the Starc challenge on them.

#2 Josh Hazlewood

Consistent bowling lines and lengths cause trouble to any batsman

He is the modern day Glenn McGrath of the Australian bowling lineup. The right-arm fast bowler from Tasmania, with his nagging lengths and consistent accuracy in the bowling lines, has torn away batting lineups of the world. Josh Hazlewood made his debut against the touring Indians in the 2014 series against India and immediately gave an early impression of what was in store for the future by picking a fifer against India.

He swings the ball both ways and acts as an able partner to Mitchell Starc. Having bowled in tandem, they both have tormented batsman by bursting in short spells and picking wickets regularly in short intervals of time.

His consistent accuracy with the ball makes him a huge asset to the star-studded bowling lineup. He was the second highest wicket taker for Australia in 2017 having picked up 34 wickets at a measly bowling average of 25.41 in 10 Test matches with most of them being played in Asia where he relied on reverse swing and became a prime exploiter of the same. He has also acted as the bowling workhorse of the team bowling tiring long spells thereby being a nightmare for the batsman by consistently asking questions with the ball in hand.

By complementing Starc’s thunderbolts, Josh Hazlewood with his consistent bowling lines and lengths will be another threat to India’s batting with the new ball. He can tear apart the top order with his exemplary exhibition of fast bowling. He will be another Aussie bowler India need to have a closer look at and be well prepared for the challenge posed by him.

#3 Pat Cummins

His menacing pacy deliveries are a treat to watch

He is the third pacer of the thunderous trio. Pat Cummins made his debut as an 18-year-old at the Wanderers in South Africa and picked up a six-for in the second innings. The 'Teen Thunder of Down Under' was probably touted to be the one for the future.

He had a sensational debut. However, his career thereafter has been rigged by injuries thereby ruling out of many competitions and series in the process. He made a return to the test arena in 2017 against India in Australia’s Tour of India. He bowled his heart out in the fourth and final test which also was the series decider picking up four wickets in the innings.

The right-arm pacer from Sydney bowls regularly at fast pace extracting seam movement off the pitch. He gives the batsman a run for their money by consistently clocking 90 miles an hour thereby creating havoc in the batting order. He is also a useful handy lower-order batsman lower down the order and has made significant contributions with the bat rescuing the team.

He is also the second highest wicket-taker in 2018 for the team in Test matches, having picked 30 wickets in just 5 Test matches at a peanut bowling average of 19.7. He has been on a roll with the ball in 2018 and is the leading wicket-taker among the fast bowlers in the team.

The three tall and lanky pacers shall pose a major challenge to the untested brittle Indian middle order. Team India shall be aware of the threat posed by Cummins.

#4 Nathan Lyon

Australia's greatest off spinner

Nathan Lyon is Australia’s greatest off-spinner to have played for the national side. The tall off-spinner has the ability to extract turn and bounce from the flat bouncy Australian pitches. One of the major success factors of Nathan Lyon is his ability to turn the ball immediately from Day 1 of the Test matches in Australia whereas it has been difficult for other spinners to do so.

He has been doing this so consistently since the start of this decade and taking wickets acting as a perfect support bowler for the thunderous trio. The 80 Test experienced spinner has picked up 318 wickets at a respectable bowling average of 32.21 in his illustrious career so far.

He is the leading wicket-taker for the team in 2018 so far has picked 32 wickets in 7 tests. Also, he was the leading wicket-taker in 2017 where he picked 63 wickets in just 11 matches at an astonishing bowling average of 23.56.

Nathan Lyon had tormented the Indian batting lineup in India’s previous tour Down Under. He acted as a wrecker in chief of the batting lineup in Adelaide in the first test posing questions on India’s ability to play the turning ball on flat Australian pitches.

He is undoubtedly one of the best off-spinners in Test cricket in the world at the moment. It is his ability to extract a considerable amount of turn from the pitch with his tall height that makes him a special bowler in the Aussie bowling line-up.

These fabulous four bowlers bowling together against India will definitely be a treat to watch for all the fans in the world and truly a sight to behold. The site will definitely be one to cherish for the ages.