CHENNAI: Glenn McGrath is thrilled the way the Ashes series has started, with Australia winning the first Test. He is pleased that his country has fought back. Saluting the efforts of Steve Smith, the pace legend has a word of praise for Nathan Lyon. He also thinks that dropped for the first Test, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood would play a part sometime in the series.
“It was an all-round effort. After the World Cup loss, it was important for Australia to bounce back and I am glad they did it in style,” said McGrath, who is here to coach trainees at the MRF Pace Foundation.
When Smith was serving the ban, McGrath had backed him to come back strong.
“Before the IPL I had said Smith would do well. The IPL gave Smith and David Warner a feel of quality bowling once again. It brought them back to the thick of things.”
The Australian great thinks class and mental toughness are things setting Smith apart.
“Class is permanent, form is temporary. Smith showed it in the manner he performed. He may look sketchy at times, but has confidence and grit. He can adapt and has good ball sense.”
McGrath is all the more impressed with Smith’s twin tons because he also had to cope with a jeering crowd.
“He is a mentally tough player. One has to go out there and let the bat do the talking. It’s been 16-17 months since what happened in South Africa. It’s time to leave it in the past. The crowd gave him a hard time. To go out there and perform shows his mental fortitude. That (ban) episode made him hungrier.”
Australia made some surprising selections for the opener. Despite criticism, Matthew Wade was included, while there was no place for Starc and Hazlewood, two of their best pacers in recent times. McGrath feels it was horses for courses.
“Wade has been one of the in-form batsmen in domestic cricket. The way he batted in the second innings showed he has the technique to be a good batsman. And Hazlewood has not played for a long time. Starc is good but if he doesn’t find his radar, they need someone consistent. Peter Siddle has been playing county cricket and taking wickets. Before the series is over, you will see Starc and Hazlewood.”
Nathan Lyon was brilliant in the second innings and set up the win. McGrath felt Australia’s Indian spin consultant Sridharan Sriram deserves credit for that.
“Ever since Australia has hired the services of Sriram, the team has been bowling spin well and also playing better against spin.”
McGrath also thinks England will the injured James Anderson. “Ben Stokes carried a fair bit of workload. In English conditions, there is no better bowler than Anderson. They are going to miss him.”
Stone out of 2nd Test
LONDON: England pacer Olly Stone will miss the second Ashes Test against Australia after being ruled out for at least two weeks with a back injury. Stone suffered the injury in training on Tuesday.