Aussie pacers ready to fire under lights

Rob Forsaith
(Australian Associated Press)

 

It’ll be pace guns off more than ten paces this weekend in Adelaide, where Australia hope a chasm in pink-ball experience will help them take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes.

The inaugural day-night Ashes Test starts on Saturday, when the hosts will be desperate to keep their foot on the throat following England’s 10-wicket loss in Brisbane.

Australia will name an unchanged XI provided Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins pull up well.

“As long as they get through main day (Thursday’s session) they’re all good,” coach Darren Lehmann told reporters on Tuesday.

Starc’s capacity to generate late swing with the pink pill resulted in some unplayable yorkers last month at Adelaide Oval, where he was one of five Test stars to represent NSW in day-night clash.

Hazlewood’s career-best figures came when he stepped up following Starc’s injury in the inaugural day-night Test, while Cummins’ first-innings dismissal of England captain Joe Root in Brisbane suggests he will also be potent.

England veterans Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, on the cusp of becoming the most prolific new-ball pairing in Test history, are also more than capable of creating collapses whenever the ball is doing a bit.

“It’ll seam and swing,” Lehmann said.

“And it does quicken up at night. It’s probably the fastest wicket around Australia at night, so that’ll be interesting.

“That’s a good sign for us.”

Starc and Hazlewood have already vowed to continue their bouncer barrage but former Adelaide Oval groundsman Nathan Lyon, who backed up his pre-series niggle by being Australia’s best bowler in Brisbane, should also be a handful in the second Test.

“He wants the ball day in, day out. A bit like Warney (Shane Warne) did when he played,” Lehmann said.

“He’s not as confident as Warney was but he’s just really starting to lead and help the bowlers out.”

England’s attack is unsettled. Uncapped legspinner Mason Crane and paceman Craig Overton will both be in the mix to play should they axe Jake Ball.

Australia know the intricacies of the innovative fixture well after winning two day-night Tests at the venue, which has also hosted plenty of pink-ball Sheffield Shield games.

England played a tour match under lights at Adelaide Oval earlier this month, while they used a pink Dukes ball during a day-night Test against West Indies earlier in the year.

“They played the Chairman’s XI game but it was a bit different to a Test match wicket,” Lehmann said, having watched that tour game alongside bowling coach David Saker.

“The lead-in is a lot more normal for us than other teams, having done it twice.

“We’re pretty comfortable … it’s just which team adapts the best.”

Steve Smith, who was initially reluctant for there to be a day-night Ashes clash, noted “the Adelaide wicket might bring some of their bowlers into the game a little bit” but backed his teammates to trump their opposites.

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