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But what really mak

But what really makes Harris a stand-out is his ability to set up wickets at the other end. You just need to look at Johnson’s record when he has had Harris hustling in from the other end In 17 Tests that the two have bowled together the fiery left-armer has picked up 96 wickets at 2072 and a strike-rate of 385 with seven five-wicket hauls and two 10-wicket match hauls Johnson’s average increases by 11 when Harris isn’t around In the 47 Tests without his pace partner his 187 wickets have come at 3149 and he’s taken almost 20 balls more per wicket But if you ask Harris it’s unlikely he will make much of a deal of it He’ll stay say he’s simply a great foil for Johnson “He won’t think he was bowling very good He had good zip He had that Ryan Harris zip I was lucky enough to face him for a good 20 minutes and it was tough work” is what Haddin had said that day In Australia they just need a reason to go “You beauty” And for sure they’ve done so every time Harris has run through the opposition in the last 18 months But you can also imagine Harris going “Who Me Really” Where are the green tops “We would feel safe with a total of 1200” It was a statement that received guffaws even a snort But somehow you could make out that Ryan Harris wasn’t kidding He actually meant it By now we’re very used to Indian captains and even their bowlers lamenting about the pitches they are offered back home “Not enough spin” “not enough bounce” and “not enough grip” being only some of their reasons to whinge But Harris’s claim wasn’t too far off the mark It’s simply been that kind of a Test series so far How else would you explain the glut of runs in the first three matches so far This is Australia after all The land of plenty and not just in terms of the choice of craft beers Plenty of bounce plenty of pace plenty of wickets and plenty of batsmen getting their reputations shattered Yet all we’ve seen is batsmen getting their eye in and scoring big runs and bowlers sweating it out to catch up with them Wickets have come at a premium at least in the first innings of each game In all three Tests Australia have scored over 500 in their first innings and India have scored at least 400 Not many times has this been achieved Down Under It’s the first time in almost a decade that three consecutive Tests in Australia have seen scores of 400 or more For the record the wickets have come at 4781 apiece across all first innings so far And as it turned out Steve Smith didn’t really seem keen on declaring at the MCG Ok he didn’t set India 1200 but it was still a total that was out of the visitors’ reach It obviously had a lot to do with the surface on offer There was a lot of talk at the MCG about how the original surface in Melbourne would crumble to such an extent that batting on the final day would mean facing deliveries that crept only as high as your ankles and those rearing up at your shoulder But there was none of that when India saved the third Test If anything they hardly seemed too flustered by the challenge Bouncy tracks And Harris for one hasn’t taken it lightly He might not have been part of the Australian squad that got mauled by the Indians on low and slow tracks in the subcontinent But he still felt the pain of his colleagues as they scratched and swept around in vain as India romped home 4-0 And his major bone of contention was the lack of any home advantage on the wickets provided for them during the ongoing series “I’m not saying we should get ridiculously bouncy wickets But we go to India and get absolute shockers over there so it’d be nice to get some green tops over here” he said “I don’t think the wickets have been as fast and bouncy Obviously we’ve got results in two of the Test matches But again as a bowling group we’re always going to say we want a bit more bounce and grass That goes without saying And that’s what we had last year and that’s where he (Johnson) excelled Not having that there is probably a little bit frustrating” Harris said with two days to go for the Sydney Test The SCG wicket carried a bland look on Saturday bereft of grass and not very welcoming if you were a fast bowler especially considering the soaring temperatures in Sydney And it will be on this surface that Harris & Co will be expected to force a 3-0 outcome in favour of the Australians And the veteran pacer might have to do so without the company of Johnson who is suffering from hamstring soreness “We’ve had two results and nearly got a result in Melbourne It’s hard to fully criticise the wickets but I must admit it’s been a lot harder than it was last year” said Harris The SCG has gained a reputation of late for assisting the fast bowlers after having been touted as the only genuine spinners’ paradise in Australia Harris can only cross his fingers that that’s the case again come Tuesday Or he can just hope that his team actually scores 1200 at the SCG For all the latest Sports News download Indian Express App More Related News he finished with figures of 4/70 in 26 overs on a pitch where runs were being scored for fun, a winning percentage of 60.

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