Sydney: Australia’s former fast bowling coach, Craig McDermott, has claimed he can see no reason why left-arm fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson cannot both play against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart. The general vision is that one of Johnson or Starc will sit out the series opener, but with Ben Hilfenhaus yet to rediscover the form of 12 months ago, selectors will seriously contemplate retaining both left-arm pace men.
“You can play two right-armers so why can``t you play two left-armers? I don``t understand the thinking of that,” the Age quoted McDermott, as saying. “If you had two gun left-handers it``s the same as two gun right-handers. Nobody ever argues about having two right-handers in a team. If you had two Bruce Reids, why wouldn``t you play two Bruce Reids?” he added. In the 135-year history of Test cricket, Australia has fielded just four left-arm pace pairings - Gary Gilmour and Tony Dell, Chris Matthews and Bruce Reid, Alan Davidson and Ian Meckiff, and Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger.
On the 31 occasions Australia has done so, it has won 19 times, with the Davidson-Meckiff and Johnson-Bollinger combinations responsible for 18 of them. The strategy could deepen the footmarks for star Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath to aim at, though with only two right-handed batsmen in Australia``s top seven, that danger is somewhat alleviated.