Fight for Aussie pace spots echoes Windies golden era
RYAN Harris says Australia is resembling the bottomless pace battery of a halcyon West Indies era while tracking to make a pink-ball mess of Pakistan in Adelaide.
Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will feel more performance pressure from a plethora of pace rivals outside the Test side than anything a Pakistan unit humbled in Brisbane can muster.
"I am not a big fan of comparing eras but we have got a bloody good attack and depth," former Test speedster Harris said.
Stream the Australia v Pakistan Test Series Live & Ad-Break Free During Play with KAYO SPORTS. Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
"We have guys who can bowl high end 140s and even 150s and others who are not as quick who are still dominating, taking wickets in first-class cricket."
The West Indies tasted historic Test series success in Australia during 1979-80 when Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Colin Croft ran riot.
Skipper Clive Lloyd had budding superstar Malcolm Marshall and bustling Sylvester Clarke in reserve.
Australia has firebrands James Pattinson, Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson on the back burner while Michael Neser, Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird offer experience and guile.
"The guys have to be pushed and it makes them think about their game better and know they are not comfortable," said Harris who plundered 113 wickets at 23 in 27 Tests.
"It puts that added pressure on them to perform and excel. We are in a unique position we haven't been in for a while where we have some back up."
Pace trio Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, supported by spinner Nathan Lyon are irresistible with the pink ball in hand.
"Other venues haven't had the success with the pink ball Adelaide has. The bowlers love it down there," said Harris, with Starc taking 17 wickets at 18 and Hazlewood 18 at 19 in Adelaide day-night Tests.
"There is a good feeling. Justin Langer and Tim Paine have done a good job and guys are buying in to what they want to do."
If Australia's pace posse doesn't get Pakistan then off-spinner Lyon - who needs two wickets to overtake legend Glenn McGrath's 46 tally in Adelaide Tests - will.
"He always finds a way. I think he actually likes the pink ball as the seam is not as pronounced. He works hard. I played in his first Test match. To think where he is now is amazing," said Harris of Lyon.
Harris praised second innings 'fight' from Babar Azam (104) and keeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan (95) in Brisbane. However, Pakistan struggled when it counted in the first innings when Australia found its radar.
"Pakistan were excellent on the first day, didn't play any rash shots until we got the ball in the right areas and they lost their way a bit," said Harris.
South Australian Harris revelled in 'hometown' Tests and predicts Travis Head will cement his middle order slot in Adelaide.
"Trav has played a lot of first-class cricket and pretty level. Being a home town boy it is always a thrill to play a Test in front of your home crowd and family. I think he will excel. If he gets a hit I am sure he will lap it up," said Harris.
Neophyte quick Naseem Shah, 16, is the good news story of the tour for Pakistan for Harris who was 'amazed' Mohammad Abbas - with 66 Test wickets at an average of 18.6 - didn't front at the Gabba.
"To bowl that fast at that age is quite amazing," said Harris of Naseem.