Heading into India, Scott Boland wouldn’t have dreamt of playing in the first Test in Nagpur, especially with Josh Hazlewood in the squad. But further injuries forced Australia’s hands, as the right-arm pacer Boland was roped straight into the playing XI.
Whilst the scoreboard won’t paint the right picture, Boland had a spell that put India under the pump with some testing line and length. In that 17 overs, the right-arm seamer conceded just 34 runs, and at one point in that session was conceding at under run an over. But with Mitchell Starc set to return for the Delhi Test, Boland hoped that he made the selectors job a little tougher.
"I felt like I bowled well, but when you are bringing in someone like Mitchell Starc, who is a gun in these conditions and has bowled really well in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, hopefully I made the selectors job a little bit tougher than what it originally was," Boland said.
"In places like here, it is tough to judge [how you went] as a fast bowler but I think I contributed to our game plan and I played my role pretty well. I think I had a pretty good spell in conjunction with Toddy a couple of times so I was happy with how the ball came out,” he added.
It is a big headache for the Australian selectors, especially with the form of their skipper, Pat Cummins. Boland remained coy of his chances, stating that it will be close to impossible for Australia to feature three pacers in Delhi, a venue that is notoriously known to aid spinners.
"We don't know. I'm not sure. I haven't seen Starcy bowl. I'm not sure if he's going to be right to play. I assume he is if he's over here. I don't think we're going to play three fast bowlers. There's only going to be two spots up for grabs, I reckon."
During that phase where Boland was at his best, Alex Carey was keeping very close to the stumps. The seamer recalls the incident, opining that Carey was perhaps too close, and it would have been close to impossible for him to catch if the batters had a nick.
"I felt running in that they looked real close," Boland said. "I think I bowled a couple of overs from the other end with the second new ball and I asked Pete [Handscomb] to come as close as he could and I was running in and I was like 'he's too close', even if they nick it he's not going to catch it. He was happy to do that and I just said stand where you're comfortable. If you do get an edge you want him to have a chance to catch it."