New Delhi: After a whole season of mixing and mashing, continously overhauling the opening attack, Australia could not have found a better time to find the perfect combination in their bowling line-up, as the pacemen from Down Under ran through a hapless Kiwi top and middle order at Nagpur on Wednesday.
Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait and Brett Lee have together given the Aussie bowling-up, a new face altogether.
After bundling out New Zealand for 206, the Aussie selectors must be feeling vindicated with their selection. Mitchell Johnson was the star of the show with four wickets in nine overs, giving away only 33 runs. He was well complemented from the other end by the sheer raw pace of Shaun Tait who himself accounted for three Kiwi scalps. And not offering any breathing room for the batsman in the middle, Brett Lee was the perfect foil for the two speedsters, putting his experience to good use.
The three-prong pace power proved to be the gamechanger in the innings as New Zealand never got going and were suffocated by the immaculate line and length maintained by the defending world champions.
While Johnson was criticised for his haywire pitch map in the Australian summer, he seems to have come of age in the subcontinent, giving the much-needed impetus to Australia's title defence.
Shaun Tait is known to be a speed merchant, without much variation up his sleeves. But on Friday, he proved that a little control on pace, no matter how difficult it might be, always reaps benefits.
Brett Lee was like their mentor, bowling tirelessly as a change-up bowler, and emerged to be a very focal part of this reinvented Australian unit.
What looked like a gamble before the start of the World Cup has turned out to be Australia's trump card. With their bowling taken care of by this pace battery, a little bit of fine-tuning by the middle-order batsmen can bring those invincible days back for the men in green and gold!