It tends to be the Ashes knocks that get the most recognition in a Test match – Adam Gilchrist, Ben Stokes and Kevin Pietersen come to mind – but it’s the relentless bowling attacks that provide the pressure.
And in this year’s series, the Aussies have a fearful foursome.
In spinner Nathan Lyon and seamers Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, the Baggy Greens have a level of consistent relentlessness that will see Joe Root’s men come under pressure in session after session at the crease.
In a five-Test series, it’s the consistency that is key.
The four Australian bowlers due to start in the first Test tonight are just that.
Though Lyon has played 40 more Tests than any of the other three, all four average over two wickets per innings in Test cricket.
In contrast, of the eight established bowlers England have taken Down Under just three can boast a similar average.
Though this figure really counts for nothing come the first over of the Test, it demonstrates the all-round ability of Australia’s bowling set-up to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
England know that Aussie bowlers are strong and wickets per innings of 2.5 for Cummins, 2.2 for Starc, 2.1 for Lyon and 2.1 for Hazlewood, offer a reminder of how often Australia bowl out opponents.
While wickets per innings offer insight into the ability to strike against opponents, the stat doesn’t paint the full picture in Test cricket.
Teams rarely bowl out the other side inside one session and keeping the run rate down is vital for any successful side. And in the Australian ranks, there is a bowling economy rate that poses a challenge to any team.
Only Starc’s high-risk, high-reward bowling style has an economy (runs conceded per over) of over three. The other bowlers are all below that number – even spinner Lyon.
By comparison, Ollie Robinson’s five Test matches have produced England’s best economy (2.63). After that it’s James Anderson (2.82).
Only half of England’s eight bowlers are below 3.00 and on the harder, cracked pitches Down Under, run concession rates will be key.
When the Ashes come around, form stats can go out of the window. And across the five Tests, it will be more than just one moment that makes the series.
However, bowling attack is crucial to any successful side and Australia’s, seemingly set in stone for months now, will be feeling confident heading into the Brisbane Test.