“They’re all very experienced. I don’t have any problem with them going in without a Shield match,” McDermott said. “They’re good enough bowlers to be able to adapt and get on with it.”
McDermott can see the difficulty in Australia getting through the series with an unchanged attack but has seen first hand how it can be done. In the whitewash of 2013-14, Ryan Harris defied his creaky joints to play all five Tests, to the amazement of Cricket Australia’s sports science boss Alex Kountouris.
Due to Mitchell Johnson’s dominance of England, one Test finished inside three days while another two games were done well before stumps on the fourth.
Four years ago, only Starc missed a Test, sidelined for Boxing Day by a heel injury, in a series played on flat tracks.
“It’ll be hard for them all to get through five,” McDermott said. “Pat’s captain, so he’s got to. How they manage that workload’s a new thing, but I’m sure they can do that. Nathan [Lyon] might have to bowl a few more overs. Depends if they’re taking wickets. If you have a bloke getting wickets you don’t want him to have a rest, do you?”
Hughes, a national selector from 2005-10 after a distinguished 53-Test career, says the net and centre-wicket practice would have the bowlers cherry ripe, and that the lack of match practice could even be a benefit later in the series.
“They play three or four Test matches, then everyone’s worried about getting them through the five Test matches. The lighter the load they’ve had the fresher they are and the more chance of playing the five,” Hughes said.
Shorter Tests will ease the load on Australia’s quicks, but for that to happen they will need to correct their methods from 12 months ago when they adopted what former fast bowling coach David Saker said was the wrong line to India.
“The one glaring for me that was obvious India attacked the stumps really well, we didn’t,” Saker said. “In my time with the Aussie team, the days we didn’t attack the stumps enough we didn’t have good days.
“The ball got through to the keeper way too much.”
Like Hughes and McDermott, Saker is in favour of Starc playing, as seems almost certain barring late injuries.
“I know Warney’s pushing for Jhye Richardson, but then it doesn’t give you the point of difference with left-arm. Starcy gets it right with the new ball, but he’s also seriously dangerous with the tail and tails these days can be hard to get out.”