Cricket: Malan seeking plan for big Billy
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Dawid Malan has revealed England are searching for ways to cut Billy Stanlake, Australia’s 6ft 8in paceman, down to size.
The Adelaide Strikers star is already in the history books as Australia’s tallest-ever cricketer but he is now letting his bowling do the talking, rather than his lofty measurements.
After an unremarkable foray in early 2017, Stanlake made a major impact when handed his international comeback on Saturday, blowing away New Zealand’s top order in the opening game of the Trans-Tasman tri-series.
With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins all absent from the series, he assumed strike bowling duties and removed Colin Munro, Martin Guptill and Tom Bruce in his first eight deliveries.
He now has England in his sights at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval on Wednesday and Middlesex captain Malan admitted the 23-year-old’s impact has not gone unnoticed.
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“You can’t really miss him, he’s a tall bloke,” said Malan.
“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.
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“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.”
Stanlake’s height and delivery points can make him hard to judge and New Zealand appeared to frequently mis-read his bounce in Sydney.
Malan spent longer than anyone in the nets on Monday but is also aware of the role technology can play in getting up to speed with new faces.
“No matter who you play against you do your preparation and everything is on offer for us,” he added.
“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.”
Stanlake is just one among a handful of relative rookies in the Australian ranks, with the hosts having withdrawn all but David Warner from their Test squad ahead the trip to South Africa.
Among the other call-ups are Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short, two rollicking batsmen who have excelled in the Big Bash to win their spots.
Team-mate Ashton Agar said: “They are three really unique players. Billy started the series beautifully, he bowls 150kmph from about 11ft 2in, ‘Lynny’ hits the ball everywhere and D’Arcy is in the form of his life.
“They’re three great new faces to have. They’d get in any side in the world I reckon.
“They’ll be excited to take on England for the first time and England will certainly be wary of them knowing they’re in good touch. It’ll be a really, really good contest.”
Jason Roy (back), Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan (both hamstring) all took part in nets as they look to shrug off fitness doubts. Alex Hales is likely to be fit after hurting his hand dropping a catch in the final ODI at Perth.