Steve Smith (bottom left) is expected to lead the way again. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Steve Smith (bottom left) is expected to lead the way again. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Border backs Aussie batting line-up to join the Smith party

ALLAN Border is backing the rest of the Australian batting order to join the Steve Smith party against Pakistan.

Despite the Australian top six's frailty in the Ashes in England, apart from Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and middle-order batsman Matthew Wade, former skipper Border says David Warner, Joe Burns, and Travis Head can all chip in with useful runs in the two-Test series, which starts today at the Gabba.

Border, who will be commentating on Fox Cricket throughout the summer, admitted the Aussie top order did struggle in England but said most batsmen around the world would have been in trouble against Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad in favourable bowling conditions.

"Yes we struggled in England apart from Smith and to a lesser extent Wade, who did a good job," he said.

"But it was tough conditions over there.

"We talk about the ball and the conditions, but having been through all that myself it's a lot harder than it looks on television and back in Australia our pitches have a bit more pace and a bit more bounce but not as much sideways movement.

"I am not so worried about the batting side of the equation, especially as we seemed to have unearthed a good one in Marnus Labuschagne.

"The old hands will be on deck as usual. We have got some solidarity there I think, particularly in our conditions."

While he thinks Australia go in as favourites, Border said the unpredictable Pakistanis would provide a stern test.

"As usual, you never know what you are going to get with Pakistan," he said.

"They sack captains, they sack coaches, they always have internal dramas, then they come out on the cricket field. If their biorhythms or whatever switches on for them, then they are an incredible side to play against.

"Once again they are a bit of an unknown. But I can absolutely guarantee there will be some exciting games."

Former Aussie quick Brett Lee, meanwhile, hopes the Australian selectors step away from their rotation policy with the quick bowlers for the Test series against Pakistan and New Zealand.

Lee, part of one of this country's greatest bowling attacks, wants to see Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood unleashed in all the games.

"I don't want to see bowlers rested this summer," he said.

"I am really against that."

Lee said having the same bowlers against Pakistan would give the home team the edge against a touring team that also boasted a strong bowling unit.

"Australia cannot take their foot off the accelerator," he said.

"They have to make sure they put their best team on the field, play their best cricket and don't take them lightly, because it will come back to bite them if that happens.

"I want to see Pakistan come out with a good pace attack and they have got the guys who can definitely do it."

News Corp Australia


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