Australia may have chosen to rest their frontline quicks for the T20 tri-series but one of the replacements loomed large over the opening match of the series against New Zealand in Sydney. Standing 6ft 7in and delivering the ball at 150kph, Billy Stanlake‘s measurements are almost as impressive as his figures of 3 for 15 were in setting up a comprehensive win.
Stanlake, playing only his fourth international, claimed wickets with each of his first two deliveries and proved almost impossible to get away – only conceding a boundary in his final over – to mark him out as a bowler to watch. Dawid Malan, who could win his second T20 cap against Australia in Hobart on Wednesday, said England had been doing their homework.
“You can’t really miss him, he’s a tall bloke,” Malan said. “He looks a fantastic bowler, swings it when he pitches it up and bowls at good pace. I think he is going to be a challenge, but that’s the excitement of playing international cricket: you get to come up against guys like that.
“For us it’s about trying to put him off his game and finding ways to score off him. He might bowl exceptionally but eventually someone might get hold of him and people might work things out.”
In the absence of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, Stanlake opened the bowling with Kane Richardson, while AJ Tye finished off with a four-wicket haul thanks to his canny death bowling as New Zealand limped to a below-par 117 for 9 at the SCG. While Australia are ranked a lowly No. 7 in T20, their re-shaped team contains several players who have been in eye-catching form during the Big Bash League.
“No matter who you play against you do your preparation and everything is on offer for us,” Malan said. “The analyst gives out the iPads with all their bowling actions and their slower balls on. You’ll listen to the analysts, watch the footage and try to find out a way to go about him.
“It’s about finding little cues… how they bowl their slower balls, what they do under pressure. There’s always something you can pick up.”
England have one or two issues of their own in the shortest format, as well as absentees in the form of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, but they will take confidence from their 4-1 ODI series win after a disappointing Ashes. Jason Roy, who missed the warm-up win in Canberra, batted in the nets on Monday and England hope to also have Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan available after injuries.