BRISBANE (Reuters) - Reviving memories of the 2013/14 whitewash, Australia’s pacemen tore through England’s tail in a fierce assault of short-pitched bowling on day four of the series-opening Ashes test to hasten the hosts’ inexorable push for victory.
With England skittled for 195 in their second innings, openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft then drove Australia to 114 without loss at stumps at the Gabba, and needing only 56 runs to wrap up the win.
Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc took three wickets late in the day, bouncing out Chris Woakes and having Stuart Broad caught behind.
Pat Cummins wrapped up the innings by working over fellow quick Jake Ball with a short ball as England lost their last four wickets for 10 runs.
The barrage was reminiscent of the preceding home series, when the Mitchell Johnson-led pace battery mowed through England’s tail repeatedly to help secure the 5-0 whitewash.
Starc (3-51) suggested James Anderson and Co should brace for plenty more of the same.
“We’ve got our plans to all the English batters,” he told reporters.
“We’ve spoken a bit about their tail, obviously. The way that our boys bowled against them in the last home Ashes, sort of used that as a bit of a blueprint.
“I’m sure they can expect some more short stuff as the series goes on.”
Much has been written of the Australian quicks’ endurance, with particular attention to the fitness of left-armer Starc and Cummins given the pair’s history of serious injuries.
Seamer Josh Hazlewood also battled a side strain in the leadup but took 3-46 in England’s second innings, including the key wicket of captain Joe Root.
There will be a tight turnaround before the second test in Adelaide starts Saturday, but Starc said he would not be resting, at least voluntarily.
“It won’t be an issue backing up, all good,” he said.
It has helped that spinner Nathan Lyon shouldered plenty of the burden. He took 3-67 in 24 quality overs during England’s second innings, with Starc and Hazlewood bowling 16 overs apiece.
“He’s been fantastic,” said Starc of the offspinner, who raised eyebrows in the leadup with a big verbal attack on the England of 2013/14 and Root’s side.
“He’s obviously had a bit to say over the last couple of weeks, but he’s backed it up with the ball.
“He’s obviously enjoying himself out on the field and he’s backing it up with his bowling.
“He’s been bowling so well at one end, allows us to come from the other end in short, sharp spells.”
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty