Aussie pace bowler enjoys opposition's fear
Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris believes opposition countries are producing low, slow wickets in order to combat Australia's fearsome fast bowling attack.
In what is becoming a reoccurring theme when travelling abroad, Australia now face wickets prepared at request by the home team's captain and coach to negate the ever-growing arsenal of frightful quicks.
As far as compliments go there are non greater in the cricketing world, and Harris knows that he and his fast bowling cartel are sending shivers down the spines of their opponents.
"Teams are scared of us, which is what we want. We want them to fear us," said Harris speaking to cricket.com.au from Townsville, where he'll pass on his wisdom to the Australia 'A' fast men as bowling coach this winter.
"You look at those blokes coming through. We have some good quicks coming through.
"It's a good sign, when you go to a country and they usually play good, bouncy wickets like we do in Australia and they slow them up, especially when their bowling attack is quick.
"That's a good sign for us, and as I said that's going to continue over the next 10 years I reckon just with the stock that's coming through.
"It's such an exciting group coming through."
Australia officially possess the best Test pace attack in the world, with No.2 ranked Harris leading the way, followed closely by the resurgent Mitchell Johnson at No.4 and Nottingham's newest weapon Peter Siddle at No.10.
Harris is in a Protea sandwich at the top, surrounded by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, but despite their higher ranking South Africa's premier pacemen were outgunned in the 2-1 series win to Australia.
And as Harris said, the stock coming through is just as terrifying, with Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood to name a few, waiting in the wings for their chance to haunt their foes and begin their ascension of the pecking order.
As the ranking suggested, South Africa had every right to think their pace attack would at outmatch Australia's, allowing the first Test wicket at Centurion to provide pace, bounce and sideways movement for the entirety of the match.
How wrong they were.
Mitchell Johnson, fresh from his feeding frenzy of the three lions at home, found his new prey more than edible, devouring 12 South African batsmen in a greedy man of the match performance.
Action had to be taken and taken it was, but before a coin was sent spinning the home side instructed the curators of the remaining two Tests to remove any sign of life in the pitches that we mid-preparation, something Australia coach Darren Lehmann had never seen before, and something he won't be asking of his curators at home.
It worked, Australia falling to lethal spells of reverse swing on the dry, docile St George's Park deck, sent marching by the roars of Steyn and the jovial rhythms of the local brass band.
Lighting didn't strike twice, and through the use of old balls and concrete pavement, Australia's quicks learnt the dark art of reverse swing bowling in between Tests two and three, opting for more velocity through James Pattinson and ultimately earning the series win on the final evening.
And it's not just the pace that has the globe terrified of Australia's fast bowling unit, it's the way they can no adapt to all conditions, naturally or nurtured, and when the pitches don't offer any aid reverse swing becomes the focus according to Harris.
"You've got to push through and work out the ball - the ball is crucial," Harris said when the pitch is doing nothing.
"That's one thing we did in South Africa. We didn't do it well in Port Elizabeth but we did it well in Cape Town.
"To get the ball to stop swinging when it's new [then] to get it to go reverse.
"They're the type of things you've got to be really strict on and plan ahead for that and the whole team has to be in that as well.
"Reverse swing is crucial. It's a massive weapon in the bowler's armory and if the ball is going dead straight it's hard to get wickets.
"We saw that in South Africa and when we got it right the boys that were there, Patto, Mitch and myself, Watto, we bowled beautifully with it and it's a massive thing when the wicket is flat."
Australia's next Test tour is in the United Arab Emirates for two matches against the permanently seconded Pakistan, where there is little doubt the wickets will again suit the spinning strength the hosts have in surplus.
That prospect may have frightened Australian teams of the past, but it is now the tourists who are the ones with the fear in their hands.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 15 April, 2014 10:19AM AEST