Mitchell Johnson is one of the keys to Australian success against New Zealand this summer.
Mitchell Johnson is one of the keys to Australian success against New Zealand this summer. AAP Image - Julian Smith

Ryan Harris backs Australia to shine in Test series

Former champion fast bowler Ryan Harris would love nothing better than being part of the first Test against New Zealand starting at his old stomping ground at the Gabba today.

The paceman, who retired prior to the Ashes series in England earlier this year after being unable to overcome chronic knee problems, said Australia would find it difficult to overcome the loss of skipper Michael Clarke, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, opening batsman Chris Rogers and all-rounder Shane Watson.

"We have got an inexperienced side, but the guys who have come in there are good enough to play at Test level," Harris told APN.

"New Zealand are a good side, but I'll still back our blokes in their own conditions to play well.

"Our bowlers are experienced and fast and our batters are reasonably experienced - the guys coming in will bat around the more experienced guys."

Harris said it was hard to split the batting line-ups, adding "It's going to be a very tight series - I'm not going to predict any scores."

He also shared his thoughts on the two bowling attacks, identifying the key players in each side.


AUSTRALIA
MITCHELL STARC

"All he needs is some consistency - he's got pace, swing and lethal deliveries.

He built good consistency towards the end of the Indian series (last summer), he was good in England in patches, but just not the whole time - he knows that.

And it's about working with the guy at the other end, and I know he's been spoken to about that."
 

MITCHELL JOHNSON

"He couldn't attack in England with the wickets not being as quick, so I actually thought he bowled really well over there.

He bowled good lengths and lines, and was still quick. But he needs to have guys at the other end who are containing

the runs to allow Mitch to attack.

He can attack but he can also go back the other way and defend - I saw him do it really well in England."

JOSH HAZLEWOOD

"He's got pace, bounce and swing - all the attributes to go far. He was tired (after the Ashes) but had a good break and he looked really good and refreshed in the Matador Cup.

He'll excel at a ground like the Gabba because of the pace and bounce - he's had a year of Test cricket in his legs and he's only going to get better."

NEW ZEALAND
TIM SOUTHEE

"Tim Southee was playing when I played and I've watched a bit of him. He swings them and nips them around. He's only got better and better every time he bowls. He's a very consistent bowler."

TRENT BOULT

"Again, he's also got better and better with his consistency and pace.

Coming back from injury, he didn't look as pacy (against the Cricket Australia XI, taking 0-30 on October 24) but he's only going to be better for that. We've seen what he did in England (taking 13 wickets over two Tests in May) and around the world - he's a dangerous bowler.

MATT HENRY/DOUG BRACEWELL

"They need a third quick to step up and Doug Bracewell has got the nod over Matt Henry in the first Test.

This spot might be a headache for them in the series, and I think it's an area the Australian team can attack.

Bracewell has taken 55 wickets in 19 Tests, while Henry is a very good, quick bowler although he doesn't necessarily contain runs all the time. He does have the ability to rip through a team though."

"They're world-class bowlers and they're in conditions that suit them, and it's going to be hard work for our batsmen."
 



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