Dean Jones knows a thing or two about the intensity of India-Australia battles. The man who gave shape to modern ODI batting, played one of the most courageous Test innings of all time (210) in the second tied Test at Chepauk in 1986, where searing heat and humidity left him sapped, requiring overnight hospitalisation due to dehydration.
Jones put his thinking hat on for an Australian daily, dissecting what the Aussie fast bowlers needed to do to keep India's famed batting line-up in check.
Breaking down what Australia’s inexperienced pace attack needed to do to maintain supremacy over Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, he wrote, “History tells me batsmen do not like facing three bowlers faster than 145km/h when they are 34 or older.”
James Pattinson and Peter Siddle have touched that speed while Ben Hilfenhaus, who bowls a bit slower, is also enjoying a great comeback. Although Pattinson is injured, Harris is expected to play at Perth.
Jones explained to HT what the difference between the teams was. “Great batsman that they are, no one likes facing a ball coming in at over 145km/h because it gives you slightly less reaction time. As you get older, your reflexes are a touch slower, and that extra 10-15km/h can be the difference.”
Jones felt it wasn't just the batsmen who were letting India down. “India's bowlers were getting the speed right in Melbourne, even then their direction was wayward. In Sydney, Umesh and Ishant were bowling a touch slower.
The real difference is Australia having a bowling coach like Craig McDermott guiding these young bowlers on where exactly to pitch the ball, how to create sustained periods of pressure, something the Indian fast bowlers haven't done so far.”
In his prime, Jones was one of the fastest runners between the wickets, an area where he feels Indian batsmen are a big let down.
“Australia has big grounds, you're not always going to get boundaries, which means you’ll be doing a lot of running. Your fitness levels need to be top-notch, another factor where the Indians are lagging behind.”
He also felt Australia’s new coach Mickey Arthur is out-planning his Indian counterpart Duncan Fletcher.