"Surprised Us How...": Australia Coach On England's Tactics vs Scott Boland
Before the series, Scott Boland has 33 wickets at an average of 14.57 and an economy rate of 2.32 from eight Tests
Australia men's coach Andrew McDonald revealed on Thursday that, while he anticipated England to be aggressive in the opening Test of the Ashes, the way they handled pacer Scott Boland "surprised" his squad. Before the series, Boland has 33 wickets at an average of 14.57 and an economy rate of 2.32 from eight Tests. The hosts, on the other hand, threw him off his length from the start at Edgbaston, including through Joe Root's lap shots. The right-arm seamer averaged 5.65 runs per over and took only two wickets in the match.
"We'd seen the way they go about it, they are ultra-aggressive," McDonald told reporters, as quoted by cricket.com.au.
"But I think Scott Boland, that match-up probably surprised us how aggressive they were against Scott. So that's something we can look at and find better ways through," he added.
"We feel as though the way we went about it was planned and we executed what we wanted. There was some different things thrown at us at different times that clearly surprised us, which is no doubt like any other game of cricket. And then you've got to factor in the surface. Day one was potentially the best day to bat, the sun was out and they put some pressure on us. We can no doubt learn from that," McDonald said.
McDonald also admitted that Mitchell Starc, who was benched in favour of Josh Hazlewood, may have "potentially" played a part at Edgbaston. He did, however, add that Australia selected Hazlewood's (3/109 in two innings) and Boland's "line and length" above Starc's swing because to the conditions.
"It's conditions-based, and I've said that from the get-go. We feel as though, looking back on it, potentially Mitch could have played a role, there's no doubt about that. But line and length potentially over left-arm swing, and we didn't feel as though we may have got swinging conditions (at Edgbaston)," McDonald said.
"It's really down to a gut feel at selection, so it can be critiqued any way you want. We felt like when we went into the game, with all the information that we had, we made the best decision. We took Starcy on that journey, he understands that and he understands the fact there is four more Test matches and he's got a pivotal part to play within that. There's going to be huge demand on all our fast bowlers to get through the five (Ashes) Test matches, plus the World Test Championship. Josh was fit and available, we felt like he was the best on this surface and that might be Mitch next game, who knows?" the Australia head coach added.
The second Ashes Test will start at Lord's on Wednesday, with Australia 1-0 up in the series.