Aussie quicks breeding confidence

In the heady days of West Indian cricket, the team’s feared pace quartet of Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, Michael Holding and Joel Garner swept all before them.

Along with the trepidation the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” instilled in opposition batsmen, they also bred confidence in their teammates.

A poor batting performance could be overcome. A big opposition partnership was just a pause before a flurry of wickets.

Australia’s current pace stocks may not invoke the same level of dread as those four greats but they are quickly building a powerful reputation across world cricket.

Mitchell Johnson – the reigning ICC player of the year.

Mitchell Starc – the World Cup-winning hero with a devastating ability to bowl fast swinging yorkers.

Josh Hazlewood – drawing so many comparisons with Glenn McGrath it’s getting ridiculous.

Peter Siddle – a man with 192 Test wickets who can’t a game at the moment.

That’s even before Ryan Harris, the late bloomer with 113 wickets in 27 Tests at a world class average of 23.52, joins the squad for the looming Ashes series.

Other talents such as Pat Cummins and James Pattinson can’t even get into the squad such are the options available.

Starc, Johnson and Hazlewood took less than three days to blow away the West Indies on a supposedly spin-friendly pitch in Dominica last week.

Johnson says there’s no doubt that wicket-taking ability is inspiring the rest of the team.

“We feel confident 100 per cent,” Johnson said.

“The team has changed over the last few years with bowlers coming in and out and I guess the confidence comes from just being out there and playing a lot of cricket.

“Mitchy Starc has been doing that. Josh Hazlewood has come in and been able to come into a positive environment as well.

“Everyone has got that positive feeling about them and they’re just going out there and playing their game.

“Coming over here we generally haven’t performed the best on these slower wickets and to be able to finish in three days really did excite me. It was just building that pressure. That is what we’re all about at the moment.”

It’s all looking good for the upcoming Ashes series.

But Johnson says there’s no thinking about that campaign just yet with the second Test against the Windies to come this week at the same venue – Jamaica’s Sabina Park – where Australia ended the hosts’ 15-year run without a Test series defeat in 1995.

“We’ve definitely got an edge over the West Indies I believe, with our bowling attack and what we’ve done there,” Johnson said.

Australia depart Dominica on Monday and hold their first training session in Kingston on Tuesday with the second Test starting on Thursday (0000 Friday AEST).

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