Learnt to york from Malinga: Pattinson
When R Ashwin ran through the Australian batting order in the first innings of the Chennai Test, question marks over the visitors’ four-pronged pace attack strategy became bolder. What threat could pace bowlers pose on a wicket that appeared a spinner’s best friend since Day 1?
Everyone got the answer before the sixth over of India’s innings ended. James Pattinson had sent both openers packing with menacingly fast and accurate deliveries. Later, Pattinson snapped up Cheteshwar Pujara, thus picking all three Indian wickets to fall on Day 2.
While the third day didn’t unfold exactly the way the Aussies would’ve liked, with MS Dhoni storming to his maiden Test double-century and Virat Kohli notching up a classy hundred, Pattinson stands a great chance of picking a five-wicket haul in his very first Test match in India.
While he was disappointed to have let India amass a 135-run lead on Day 3, the 22-year-old speedster believes his team’s young bowling attack wasn’t as bad as the scorecard suggests.
At the end of the day, Pattinson spoke to bcci.tv about the challenges of bowling on a slow deck, the art of reverse swing and even his elder brother who played Test cricket for England.
It was a long day for all of you out there, but how pleased are you with your own bowling performance (4/89)?
It’s good to get some wickets – two early wickets set you up a little. Today I thought early on we bowled very well and put pressure on Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. We were a bit disappointing with the second new ball. There wasn’t much swing around, so we were trying to get it to reverse swing very quickly. The ball was reversing for pretty much the whole day. It’s just that the wicket was pretty slow and dead, so we weren’t getting much assistance. Credit to Dhoni, he played a fantastic innings.
Given the alien conditions and the heat, would you say this is your finest Test bowling performance so far?
Yes, it’s the first time I’ve played in India in any format of the game. Personally, I’m happy but it would’ve been great if we’d bowled them out for cheaper. But we’ve got a lot of young guys in the side; only four members of this squad have played Test cricket in India before. So, coming into the series as underdogs, we haven’t put up a bad performance. Perhaps, we lacked that one killer blow.
You spoke about reverse swing. How did you develop this art?
It’s just the matter of bowling here in the nets. Occasionally on some Australian wickets it does reverse swing, but we haven’t had a great lot of practice there in those conditions. It’s quite a handy choice to have whether to take the ball away from the batsman or bring it into them. And we did it quite well today.
Especially in the first hour today, you, as a bowling unit, seemed to have come out with a different plan. There were more bouncers, variation in length, etc.
We probably missed the trick a bit yesterday, especially to Tendulkar when he had just come into bat. We pitched it full and he got them away. We could’ve used the bouncer against him. I think we bowled to the openers very well – bowled into their stumps, which was the plan. Regarding the bouncer, the track was quite dead, so we had to dig it in quite short.
Did the heat play a factor in tiring out the bowlers in the end for Dhoni to score freely?
Yes, I think it was. The weather always plays a part but we’ve been here two weeks before the Test to adjust to the climate and we get pretty hot weather back home as well. The weather isn’t an excuse. I suppose there was just some great batting there. Maybe we let a few chances slip away towards the end as well.
Is it fair to say that Dhoni disturbed all of Australia’s bowling plans today?
They started the day quite slowly but when the new ball was taken, he just picked it up. Like any good captain he saw it as a scoring opportunity. You can’t afford to bowl even slightly wide to him because he can pick the ball up from the off-stump line. He played some fantastic attacking shots, and once No.10 came on he just milked them around. If you bowl a bouncer to the tailender off the last ball of the over, it’s difficult to keep him on strike. I think there was great maturity in the way Dhoni went about it. He seemed to pick a couple of bowlers and tried to attack them.
You bowled some reverse swinging yorkers today. Is it something you picked up from your Melbourne Stars teammate Lasith Malinga during the BBL?
I did a little bit. He’s a fantastic bowler and he bowls yorkers at will. I think in these conditions with the ball reversing, it’s quite a good ball to bowl. We bowled a few yorkers today but the Indian batsmen did well to get them out of the way. But yes, I picked up a little bit from him in regards to how he goes about bowling them. Come Twenty20 and I’ll show that.
You brother Darren has played Test cricket for England. How many things in your house have been broken due to your fights?
There’s a fair bit of it. There have been a few windows breaking and a couple of times I’ve managed to break my arm when he got a bit aggressive with me. He never took it easy on me and that’s probably helped me rise to the Test level. I’m pretty proud of what he’s done in his career and it’s good for the family.
Does cricket run in your family?
Dad’s never played a single game of cricket. He actually played football. Mum claims that she got us into playing cricket but she hasn’t played the game either. So, I don’t know where we get our cricketing ability from.