MELBOURNE — Caribbean pitches may no longer have the zing to excite express pacemen, but Australia will still look to soften up West Indies with a barrage of bouncers in the upcoming Test series, says bowling coach Craig McDermott.
Australia play the first of two Tests at Windsor Park in Dominica next week and have included uncapped legspinner Fawad Ahmed in the squad along with front-line offspinner Nathan Lyon in anticipation of flat, slow wickets.
However, McDermott said Australia’s pacemen could still have an impact after learning some harsh lessons from the slow pitches in the Middle East where they laboured in a 2-0 series defeat by Pakistan last year.
“We’ve just got to make sure we get enough balls in the right areas and be relentless and patient and stick two up their nose an over,” McDermott told Cricket Australia’s website.
“Certainly I’ve been talking to pace bowler Josh Hazlewood and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh in particular about using the crease and creating angles if the ball’s not doing much.
“They’re both tall blokes so they’re going to get some bounce. We’re allowed to bowl two bouncers an over so let’s use them.”
Australia’s seamers were hammered by Pakistan in both Tests in the United Arab Emirates, with Peter Siddle conceding 217 runs for two wickets and left-armer Mitchell Starc averaging 71 for his two scalps.
But McDermott expected more help from the wickets at Windsor Park and Sabina Park in Jamaica, venue for the second Test, as well as from the Duke balls to be used in the series.
“I think the ball will swing naturally here more than what it did in the UAE when we had to try to smash it up,” he said.
“The seams are a lot wider and a lot bigger here. If you get your seam position right you’re able to get a leg cutter or an off-cutter by default.
“Our boys have been bowling with (the Duke balls) in Brisbane. They move around a little bit more on our Australian wickets, particularly at the NCC where we had bit of grass on them,” added McDermott of the National Cricket Centre, Australia’s elite training facility.
“But they’re moving off the deck out here too.”
Australia have not lost a series home or away to West Indies since 1992/93.