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Blitz puts Behrendorff on Ashes radar

Left-armer fit and primed for a big summer after stunning T20I display against India

Having guided Australia to a rare win on this Qantas Tour of India, paceman Jason Behrendorff has pushed his name forward to be part of Australia's pace artillery for the Magellan Ashes this summer.

Long touted as a future international star, Behrendorff justified the hype in Guwahati on Wednesday morning (AEST) with a superb opening spell of fast swing bowling that netted him all of India's top-four batsmen in the space of just 12 balls.

It was the manner of his dismissals that would have excited Australian selectors the most ahead of the Test summer; he removed Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli with perfectly executed in-swingers and then had Manish Pandey flashing uncomfortably outside off stump and edging behind.

Behrendorff blitz leaves India reeling

It's a method the left-armer has used to great effect at domestic level and as he enjoys a rare extended period of full fitness, the 27-year-old is primed for a big summer ahead.

"To get the ball up there, swing the ball, hit guys on the pads and nick blokes off, those are the things we talk about in our meetings," Behrendorff said after Australia cruised to an eight-wicket T20 win that levelled the three-match series at 1-1.

"To get the balls in those areas, especially up front, I was very happy with that."

If all goes to plan, Australia will field a pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for the first Ashes Test in late November and that trio would ideally carry the fast-bowling load throughout the whole series.

Match wrap: Henriques, Behrendorff even ledger

But given that triumvirate’s recent injury problems, and the news last week that James Pattinson will miss the entire summer, Australia will be desperate for a depth of fast-bowling talent to choose from.

Nathan Coulter-Nile, like his state teammate Behrendorff, has put his hand up on this white-ball tour of India, while Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers and Peter Siddle will also be in the frame over the summer.

"I'd love to," Behrendorff said of a possible Test debut.

"Test cricket is the ultimate prize and wearing the Baggy Green cap is something I'm sure all cricketers aspire to and I certainly do.

"That's something I'll be pursuing and doing everything I can to play Test cricket."

While an injury to spearhead Starc would be a horror scenario for Australia this summer, Behrendorff's state coach Justin Langer said his player would make the ideal replacement.

"He's definitely a contender and adds great depth to Australian cricket bowling stocks but the advantage he has is that left arm variety," Langer said this week.

"We have a lot of right-arm bowlers so having that left variation is a huge benefit for him, particularly if something happens to Mitchell Starc."


While Starc and Behrendorff have never played together at international level, they share obvious characteristics.

"We're left-armers, we both swing it a bit, but Mitch bowls a bit quicker than I do," Behrendorff said.

"I know Mitch reasonably well. I've spent a bit of time playing with him but mainly against him so he's someone I feel I can talk to and get some advice off as well. He's a very good guy to have around."



Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia squad: David Warner (c), Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.


T20 Fixtures


October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad