While the Tasmanian coach stopped just short of declaring there would be batsmen in fear of the two quicks who regularly touch speeds of more than 145km/h, it’s clear Australia know how intimidating they can be.
«At this level, batters are all world class but they do bowl fast. I think any batter, there is a little bit — the heart rate goes up when there is a fast bowler — that is a great part of our game,» Griffith said.
«That is what the fans love to see and what we love to see — a bowler bowling fast and a batter challenging him. That’s the exciting part of our attack — we have got some guys that can get into the mid 140s, which is good.»
Griffith knows Archer very well from their time together with the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, and he watched how the Barbados-born Englishman left Afghanistan reeling.
«‘Arch’ took some wickets the other day against them in a practice match. We’ll look at that and we’ll look at some other footage of them and work out where we can get into them,» he said.
«They [Afghanistan] wouldn’t have faced a lot of pace and we’ve got height as well, which is a real positive for us. Hopefully, those guys [Starc and Cummins] can do the job for us.»
Cummins has detailed his concerns about conditions not being conducive to swing bowling outside of the opening overs but Griffith does not think that is a major issue.
«Sometimes we can get caught up a lot in swinging the ball big all the time, but if we’re getting the ball in the right spot and challenging the batter every time, as long as it swings a little bit, then I think we’re OK,» he said.
If Afghanistan can survive an initial burst, such is the small size of the Bristol County Ground that a total in the 400 region could be possible. This was highlighted when the West Indies thumped 421 against New Zealand (330) in a warm-up clash on Tuesday.
It is one of the more unusual grounds in world cricket — of the eight key strike zones, there are not even two that are the same in length to the boundary, according to a diagram the Black Caps left behind.
They found the straight boundaries from the batting crease were of 67 metres and the other of 70m, while the square-leg boundary from the pavilion end was only 54m, compared to 68m when batting at the other end. The boundaries through mid-wicket and cover also differed.
Australia last played at this venue in 2005, when Kevin Pietersen’s thumping knock delivered the home side a three-wicket win. One man capable of reprising that dynamic knock is Glenn Maxwell, who hopes to benefit from a long series of throw downs in the indoor nets from Ricky Ponting, the batting great turned World Cup whisperer. One area of focus had been Maxwell’s cover drives.
«Thanks Bud,» Maxwell said when it was all done, and gave Ponting a playful hug around the waist.
Steve Smith worked in the net next door, with coach Justin Langer acting as a human bowling machine.
That Ponting, one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game, and Langer, an Australian great, are prepared to do the dirty work has highlighted the intense level of preparation that has gone into this tournament.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.