Scott Boland is set to make up the quick attack for Australia leading into the Test Championship Final on Wednesday against India with reports the Aussie bowlers are firing under the cloudy conditions. On Monday, Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the final at The Oval, despite his expected return from a long-standing injury.
The news came as a blow for the Aussies ahead of the Ashes, but Boland is set to take his chance over in England instead of Michael Nesser for the Test Championship final. Despite the loss of Hazlewood, Boland and captain Pat Cummins appeared to be wreaking havoc in the nets prior to the first day of cricket.
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Cricket.com.au reporter Louis Cameron claimed the duo were causing all sorts of trouble for the batters in practice under the overcast conditions. Another report described the bowlers looking 'lethal' as Australia prepare for their maiden Test Championship final.
To make matters more interesting, fans were left stunned when an image of a green pitch only two days out at The Oval emerged. Conditions could change from now till the first ball, but many suggested the towering Aussie bowlers would love a crack at a green surface in overcast conditions against the Indian batting line-up.
Scott Boland and Pat Cummins looking lethal at the nets under the overcast conditions at the Oval... pic.twitter.com/g5hw90JT0e
— Sandipan Banerjee (@im_sandipan) June 5, 2023
Michael Neser giving throwdowns for slip-catching practice while Scott Boland prepares to bowl at Marnus Labuschagne. A sign perhaps that #NeserWillNotPlay, at least the #WTCFinal pic.twitter.com/6R9BeNp2Sz
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) June 5, 2023
Australian fast bowlers licking there lips
— Sultan Khan (@MainHoonSultan7) June 5, 2023
Steve Smith highlights India's danger in final
While Boland appears to be the quick used alongside Cummins and Mitchell Starc, the 34-year-old has yet to take a wicket outside of Australia in his single Test abroad. Although his single match came earlier this year in India's tough conditions.
In contrast to India's pitches, Boland's line and length will be invaluable with the Duke ball. And mercurial batter Steve Smith was full of praise for the 34-year-old ahead of his debut in England wearing the baggy green.
“I think we will get what Scotty does pretty well,” Smith said at The Oval on Monday. “He hits a good length, hits the top of the stumps, seams the ball around, swings it if he wants to and he has got great skills as well.
“No doubt he will be a challenge if he gets the nod.” India could go with two spinners for the final, however Smith identified Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj as their two biggest threats.
“They have got a good mix of quality seam bowlers, with Shami and Siraj probably their two main guys," Smith added. “They have really good skills and the Dukes ball will suit them nicely. And then obviously their spinners as well, who bowl well in all conditions.
“So I think they have a good attack and we are going to have to play well against them this week.”
Elsewhere, there has been plenty of talk on whether David Warner would open the batting in the final, considering his form in recent years. However, coach Andrew McDonald recently hinted he would start the final and the first two Ashes Tests.
Warner endured a brutal 2019 Ashes series when he managed just 95 runs at an average of 9.5. England quick Stuart Broad removed Warner a staggering seven times in that horror Ashes series for the opener. His recent figures don't make for much better reading, with Warner making just the solitary triple-figure score in his 32 Test innings since January 2020.
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