Australia have intimidated India's batsmen with the quality of their bowling, capitalising on the visitors' haste to get started with a relentless line and full length, James Pattinson has said. Pattinson, the fast bowler, maintained a compelling start to his Test career with 4 for 43, including four of the top five, on day one of the second Test in Sydney.
Each of Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar were defeated by full deliveries moving away from them, the first three edging into the cordon before Tendulkar dragged an attempted drive onto the stumps. Pattinson said he, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus had hounded India into error with their discipline.
"I think they're probably intimidated about the way we're bowling, the areas we're bowling, we're not giving them any loose balls," Pattinson said. "For them they've probably got it in their mind 'where are we going to score', because they're not getting any loose balls at the moment. Intimidation comes with us bowling really well."
Laxman has been the chief example of Australia's intelligent and hostile bowling, having made only five runs in three innings. This from the man who has tormented Australian teams for more than a decade with a string of sparkling and match-turning displays. This success had been discussed in the team room, Pattinson said.
"He's had great success against Australia in the past and that's something we've looked at, but if you bowl good balls it doesn't matter how good they are," he said. "On your day you can get them out, and I think early on they're coming pretty hard at us, looks like they want to score.
"That's even better from a bowlers' point of view to have them trying to score early on, try to drive you through the covers to a ball that probably wasn't quite there today. So it is great for us to see them wanting to do that, and if we can keep doing the right thing we'll keep going with success.
"The bubble around our bowling attack is amazing for the fact we're playing against such high-class opposition. We're just up for the challenge even more. If you come out on the day and don't bowl so well they can put you right on the back foot, therefore the day travels away from you a little bit."
In contrast to the full deliveries aimed at the batsmen, India's tail-enders have been peppered around the head with short stuff. It is not a pretty method, but has so far been quite effective.
"If you bowl a good enough short ball I think most tail-enders are pretty suspect. To be honest I don't like the short ball at my head," Pattinson said. "But it's just a credit to our bowlers, we're bowling really well. If you pitch the ball up [or short], you've still got to bowl in the right areas, you've got to bowl nice and straight. It is something the bowlers have done really well over the last month or two months that we've been playing."
Reflecting on his remarkable first three Tests and one innings, Pattinson said he had surpassed all his own expectations, and gave credit for that to his grounding with Australia's bowling coach Craig McDermott over the preceding six months.
"I don't think anyone would have thought [I'd have such a good start]," he said. "You hope for it, but saying that, if you do all the right things, you bowl well, then you never know what might come your way. It has been a credit to Craig McDermott over the last six months that I've worked with him day in, day out, it is great I can work hard with him and see the results.
"My expectations were just to perform well. If I could go out there and take wickets, that's what I was trying to do, and try to get a regular spot in the Australian cricket team."