Australia South Africa Test series: Fast Bowlers Union must strike, says Trent Copeland

dominance. In all facets.

The Australian team dished out one of the most comprehensive Two Test shots you’re likely to witness in your life and there were some incredible performances to stand out while sitting in my #cricketnerd analysis studio for @7cricket.

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164 runs (but only losing six wickets!) up the brink in Perth in the first Test, and 419 runs up the brink with pink ball under the lights at Adelaide.

Of course, we’re going to focus on the hardest part of the game (I’m not biased at all), bowling.

The “Big Four” – yes, including Nathan Lyon in the Fast Bowlers Union – were clinically poised to seal the first Test victory. Pat Cummins claimed his 200th Test wicket to sit now: 202 wickets. 21.50 average 0.47.1 strike rate.

Pat Cummins celebrates his 200th Test wicket with teammates. Recognition: AAP

These numbers are ridiculous! The only players in HISTORY of Test cricket with 200 wickets and an average under 22 are Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Fred Trueman and Glenn McGrath. That’s it, fine air for our Australian skipper.

Speaking of milestones, Cummins’ milestone meant that the FBU (aka the Fast Bowlers Union) of Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon, with over 1,100 Test wickets combined, became the first quartet in Test game history to have all over 200 Test wickets has and plays a test.

Just think for a moment of all the legendary teams this country has seen. McGrath, Lee, Gillespie, Warne as an example. The West Indian greats of the 80’s. It is really something special what these four have achieved and there is still a lot to do.

Fast forward a week, however, and we have no Hazlewood and no Cummins.

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So of course Scott Boland jumped in and made Test cricket look like a backyard cricket match again by winning 3-0 in a single over in Adelaide in the second innings.

You know, the kind of backyard where he first invited a bunch of schoolmates over to his home, to a pitch that seemed normal to the naked eye, but he’d orchestrated the stumps to end with a million in a row landmines sat underneath, sophisticated knowledge of the slope to ensure all balls hit the stumps, and a taped tennis ball to boot.

The last time Scott Boland threw a bad ball I think I was six years old and I’m sure it was just because he slipped on release. The hallmark of every great Test bowler is skill, but the often “unspoken” benchmark is the tone he sets. Scott Boland’s first ball of ANY spell inevitably hits the top of the stump, with an upright suture.

Scott Boland celebrates a wicket against the West Indies. Recognition: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Seriously, after his 6/7 second innings exploits at the MCG during the debut Ashes and three wicket overs in this match, the numbers for Boland are borderline ridiculous. I had our stats guru at @7cricket look into some of the details for me.

Four Tests, 21 wickets at a 10.33 average and, remarkably, isolated to just the second inning, he has 15 wickets at 4.73! That’s really a great result for the under 10s at Bathurst.

Whenever a spot becomes available in the Australian line-up without the ‘Big Four’, Boland’s name is in permanent marker rather than in pencil.

To wrap up the bowling front, Lyon – the GOAT – surpassed 450 Test wickets to finish eighth all-time after skipping Ravi Ashwin. Only 350 left to catch Murali.

And the much-maligned Mitchell Starc held his incredible day/night pink ball test record as the best there is. Now he sits with 61 wickets in 11 Tests with an absurd batting average of 35.7 (anything under 50 is considered elite).

Starc reaches the series with South Africa with 296 Test wickets and given the great form he’s in, the seam location, use of wobble seam delivery and overall impact, I’m almost certain we’ll surpass that milestone at the Gabba in a a couple of days.

Mitchell Starc celebrates a wicket against the West Indies. Recognition: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Speaking of South Africa…

The thought of this competition makes me tingle.

I don’t say this lightly (as I’m sure you can tell after reading this article) that Australia’s bowling attack is the best in the world. South Africans may have the ability to be just as good, if not better, on their day.

While the Windies leave our shores in a 2-0 series and are in a serious recovery phase, South Africa beat the Gabba to a phenomenal record in that country – having won the last three series here. Yes, that’s right – Australia haven’t beaten South Africa in Australia since 2005/06.

Dean Elgar is leading the way as the biggest threat, club in hand as the skipper, but again it’s the bowling group that makes me lick my lips as I see them pitted against Warner, Khawaja, Labuschagne, Smith, Head and co. fight from head to toe.

Kagiso Rabada. Pace, bounce, elite skill and a record to rival Pat Cummins. Along with Lungi Ngidi and 207cm left winger Marco Jansen, they will pose the biggest threat with the new ball.

Things are getting hot at Anrich Nortje. 150 km/h and an aggression in his personality that carries the Proteas all over the world. He’ll roll bouncer after bouncer, swing at our rear end and it’ll be everything the Aussies haven’t gotten against the Windies in the last two weeks.

Buckle up folks, this series is going to be epic.

Invisible corner of Lionel Messi’s insane courts.

Invisible corner of Lionel Messi’s insane courts. Australia South Africa Test series: Fast Bowlers Union must strike, says Trent Copeland

James Brien

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