Warne turns blowtorch on Aussie bowlers
AUSTRALIAN Test great Shane Warne has again turned up the heat on Australia's bowling spearheads declaring new-ball partners Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood need to "get better".
All the Boxing Day Test fallout has zeroed in on the batting failures that lead to the 137-run MCG defeat - and not without merit after the first innings capitulation for 151 and three Tests without a century from any batsmen.
But Warne pointed to a wider trend of the misfiring frontline bowlers hurting Australia's chances by allowing opponents to rack up massive first innings totals in 2018 which put their team immediately on the back foot.
A fervent supporter of the quality of the Australian attack, Warne said that new-ball bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in particular had not met national expectations bowling to opposition top orders.
Against top six batsmen in 2018, Starc has taken just 17 wickets at an average of 47. Hazlewood only fares marginally better, snaring 18 at an average of 40.
"If you lose a toss and the opposition decide to bat and you've got to try and knock them over, our new ball bowlers in Starc and Hazlewood averaging 47 and 40 with the new ball is not good enough," Warne said.
"That's not very good at all."
"When the (opposition) sides have made 346, 488, 482, 443, there's a lot of scoreboard pressure on the batsmen to come out and make a decent score to try and get in there and not give up a big lead.
"I just don't think they're bowling well enough. You've got to look back at the preparation. Are the bowlers preparing the right way, are they bowling enough in competitive cricket."
In 10 Tests this year, the Australian attack has given up 10 first innings scores in excess of 300 and four in excess of 400.
Aussie skipper Tim Paine has won just one toss in his six Tests as captain. That was in the second Test in Perth, where Australia batted first, and won.
He conceded that giving up big first innings runs was always hard to make up.
"I think so. India batted superbly in the 1st innings, from that moment we were behind the game," Paine said.
"We'd like to get to Sydney, win the toss and have the same thing reversed."
Calls for Pat Cummins to take the new ball have grown after his nine-wicket MCG haul and the 2018 numbers, compiled by Fox Cricket stats man Lawrie Colliver, show his excellent record against top order batsmen.
Cummins, who took 4-2 in a stunning third day spell at the MCG, has 30 top six wickets this year, at an average of 23.56.
In 2018, for the first time in nearly 60 years, five-wicket hauls form bowlers have outnumbered centuries made by batsmen.
Starc has one in 18 innings this year, Hazlewood none in 16. Nathan Lyon and Cummins both have two five-fors, including one each in this series against India.
"The ball is dominating the bat except for us," Warne said.
"I'm not saying drop them all, because we've got a very good attack, but they need to get better.
"They need to be put on notice, and say "guys, 47 with the new ball and 40 with the new ball, opening the bowling to the top six batsmen, isn't good enough".
"Yes, the batting's got to get a lot better, but the bowlers have got to get better too and the numbers don't lie."