Australians not shy of bowling bouncers post Phillip Hughes tragedy

Returning to the aggressive brand of cricket they are known for, Australian pacers on Friday showed no signs of shying away from bowling bouncers in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes' death as they held their first training session here since the tragedy.

PTI| Updated: Dec 05, 2014, 16:48 PM IST
Australians not shy of bowling bouncers post Phillip Hughes tragedy

Adelaide: Returning to the aggressive brand of cricket they are known for, Australian pacers on Friday showed no signs of shying away from bowling bouncers in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes' death as they held their first training session here since the tragedy.

There was no shortage of bouncers as Australia's cricketers returned to training. For most players it was their first serious hit out since the Tuesday before last, when the build-up to the Commonwealth Bank Test series against India was put on hold after Hughes was fatally struck by a short ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Having farewelled their friend and teammate at an emotional service in Macksville on Wednesday, the Australian team returned their focus to on-field activities ahead of Tuesday's first Test against India here.

And despite head coach Darren Lehmann's pre-session prediction that the players would "ease back into it", the fast-bowlers did not shy away from firing in the short balls, cricket.Com.Au reported.

After some light-hearted drills to start the day ?- which included some dancing and an impromptu handstand from David Warner ?- Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood measured out their run ups in the middle of the picturesque Park 25 Cricket Ground here and began to charge in.

Hazlewood looked the most lively of the trio, with the uncapped right-armer forcing Shane Watson and then Chris Rogers to take swift action with a pair of lifting deliveries.

Shaun Marsh ducked well to avoid a fast bouncer from Siddle while Warner also got in on the act late in the session, with his medium-pace pulled away by Brad Haddin.

Not even brotherly love could get in the way, with a short ball from Mitchell Marsh forcing a false stroke from older brother Shaun, with the pair bidding to become the first brothers to play in the same Test for Australia since Steve and Mark Waugh in October 2002.

It was far from a bouncer barrage, but it was enough to suggest that the tragic circumstances of Hughes's passing would not affect the on-field aggression that has long been Australia's trademark.

"That's the way we've always played," Lehmann said before the session, adding that the playing group had expressed their desire to return to training.

"We've had some success doing that and I don't see why that will change. "(We will play) normal Test cricket, good hard Test cricket like we always want to play as an Australian team. We've got to play a certain way, we know that, to get the best out of our players and ourselves and our team," he said.

Ryan Harris did not bowl with his three fast-bowling teammates, instead starting the session with a hit in the nets before he later bowled off his full run out in the middle.

It was yet another positive sign for the 35-year-old, who yesterday declared himself a certain starter for his first Test match since undergoing major knee surgery in March.

While the players seemed to relish a return to the training track, Lehmann was taking a cautious approach when asked if they would be ready for the heat of a Test match so soon after farewelling their mate.

Due to the unprecedented circumstances, Lehmann said it was hard to predict how his team would perform in what will be an emotional Test at Hughes's adopted home ground, the Adelaide Oval.

"Until we get out there come 10.30 on Tuesday, we'll know then," Lehmann said.

"It's never been dealt with before. It's obviously going to be a big challenge for us. But having said that getting out there playing some cricket, that's the key," he said.