India rookie’s ultimate insult to Aussie attack
India compared the Australian pace attack to New Zealand A as Shane Warne claimed the misfiring arsenal has lost its fear factor.
Steve Waugh declared on the eve of this series that if the Australian top order could break even with totals of 300 plus, the fast bowlers touted as the world's best would take care of the rest.
But neither side of the equation has been delivered upon, with Warne taking renewed aim at Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood for a timid day one bowling performance at the SCG, which allowed India to ease into cruise control in their pursuit of a historic series triumph in the fourth Test.
Greenhorn Indian opener Mayank Agarwal is only playing his second Test, but couldn't resist making the cheeky admission that Australia's attempt at rough-house tactics reminded him of the New Zealand reserves.
Agarwal padded up for India A in December and said facing Kiwi battlers Hamish Bennett and Doug Bracewell up in Mount Maunganui was as intimidating as Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins at the SCG.
"Yes I remember facing just very recently against the New Zealand A side, they also came very hard," said a grinning Agarwal. "But to be honest the Aussies came really, really hard."
Agarwal might have only made a top score of 65 against the Kiwis, but he threw away a golden shot at a maiden Test hundred on Thursday with his brilliant tone-setting 77.
Cheteshwar Pujara continued to bulldoze Australia with his third hundred of the series with the threat of more runs today as he dined out on a bowling attack that lacked a Plan B.
For all Australia's top order batting failures of the past few years, they always had their bowling attack to hold onto - and at times bail them out of trouble.
But after Tim Paine lost his sixth toss out of seven attempts as Australian captain, the much-vaunted attack struggled to penetrate.
Warne said Australia has lost one of its eternal trademarks - the ability to intimidate.
"I don't think any opposition team has feared Australia for a few years now and that's unfortunate," Warne said on Cricket 360 on Fox.
"The only way you can get that reputation is if you start winning games and Australia over the past couple of years haven't won many games.
"They won the Ashes series in Australia but outside of that they haven't won much, and that's how they need to build that up.
"…Hazlewood we know is class, (but) he hasn't got his rhythm. And Mitchell Starc, this series is as bad as I've seen him bowl in the last few years - (when) he's been outstanding.
"But the last 12 months I just don't think he's got it right, and I think he's had too much rest."
Warne said the fact Paine wasn't even able to trust Starc with the new ball was the surest sign that Australia's quicks have lost their rhythm.
"It is about wrist position, about being in rhythm and finding form. When Mitchell Starc is at his best he is swinging that ball. He's bowling quick," said Warne.
"At the moment he bowled two overs with the second new ball in Adelaide, taken off.
"Three overs here, taken off. Three overs in Melbourne, taken off with the new ball. Because he doesn't look threatening, he hasn't got his swing and he's not bowling well enough."
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