Australia v India, 1st Test, MCG, 3rd day December 28, 2011

Hilfenhaus learns some new tricks

From a bowler who swung the ball but did little else, Ben Hilfenhaus has transformed into one with subtle variations that will test the best batsmen
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Earlier this year, the former Australia fast bowler Max Walker noted, when reflecting on Australia's bowling struggles during last summer's Ashes, that against a good batsman a bowler might only get one or two chances in an innings. "Once you've shown him what you're going to do, it's all over," Walker said. "You have to come up with something else."

That might seem obvious, but it wasn't to Australia's attack last season. Nor was it apparent to their coaching staff. The prime swing bowler in Australia's line-up against England was Ben Hilfenhaus, who had become as predictable as Jonathan Trott's batting rituals. It took Hilfenhaus being dropped from the Test team and returning to Tasmania for his flaws to be rectified.

In his first 17 Tests, Hilfenhaus didn't manage a five-wicket haul. He was often described as unlucky. Too often, he was unvarying. In his first Test back in the side, he was unpredictable. That's why Hilfenhaus finally picked up his maiden five-for, in his 18th Test. He finished the first innings against India with 5 for 75. He led Australia off the MCG and raised the ball to the crowd. He was a new man.

The old Hilfenhaus swung the ball. He curved it away from the right-handers on a consistent basis. But he always seemed like a bowler who should have found more edges than he did. Gradually, as knee tendinitis took hold, his action shifted subtly. He lost pace, delivered the ball from too close to the umpire and swung it straight out of his hand.

That meant that, during the Ashes especially, batsmen were able to pick the line with ease and leave many outswingers alone, while other balls curved too much to touch the edge if they did play. Often he also pitched too short. He finished the series with seven wickets at 59.28.

The comparison between Hilfenhaus and James Anderson, arguably the best swing bowler in the world, was stark. Anderson hooped the ball late, just before it reached the batsman, moved it just enough in both directions and collected 24 wickets at 26.04.

There were times against India in Melbourne when Hilfenhaus again looked predictable, but that was when the ball had stopped swinging, during the middle overs. When it did move in the air, conventionally and with reverse-swing, he was difficult for the India batsmen to handle, for the ball curved later, less and in both directions.

His pace was also up, regularly in the low to mid 140kph region. He varied his length, tending to the fuller to encourage the batsmen to drive, and he used the crease more effectively, sometimes delivering from wider positions, sometimes from straighter spots. As a result he was rewarded.

On the second day, with the new ball, he moved the ball both ways, here a little bit, there a lot. He came from wider of the crease to help him swing it late. Gautam Gambhir edged behind when he didn't know what was coming. A quieter afternoon followed, and it was hard to tell if Hilfenhaus would be a threat again.

In the first over of the third day, he answered that question. Rahul Dravid was bowled by a peach, a delivery that was full enough to entice Dravid to play and nibbled just enough and late enough to beat the bat and rattle the off stump. It was the perfect start for Australia.

And when Michael Clarke asked Hilfenhaus to bowl the last over before the arrival of the second new ball, Hilfenhaus moved the old one away from the bat of Virat Kohli, who edged behind. As soon as the new ball was taken, Hilfenhaus accounted for MS Dhoni with a ball that was slightly different, a fraction shorter than those that preceded it, and Dhoni edged to gully.

The fifth came when Ishant Sharma drove hard and edged behind. Hilfenhaus pumped his arms in delight. His work had paid off. He had his five-for and he had bowled Australia into a strong position.

Most importantly, he had realised that against good batsmen - and India have a line-up full of them - subtle variations are key. He might still find it difficult when the ball doesn't move, but his new style should ensure that he makes the most of the times when it does.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zenboomerang on December 29, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas... Yes - Swann was also just average in Aust last summer... Except 1 good innings, he averaged only 2 wkts per match in the other 4 Tests... Swann world ranking has dropped since peaking 16 mths ago... Noticed this coincided with playing Bangladesh & Pakistan when both were very weak... His ranking has been dropping since playing Aust, Sri Lanka, India... He's turning 33 early next year, so not a young pup coming through... Anderson only does well on tracks that suit him, mainly England & did well in Aust during an unusually rare wet summer... NZ bowlers did better in India, so shows his lack of adaptability...

  • zenboomerang on December 29, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    @5wombats :- "We're not so sure Hilfenhaus has improved - he's just up against less good opposition"... lol... Perhaps you need new glasses... I've been a critic of Hilfy in the past, but this Test he has shown himself to be an improved bowler... Also India have 4 batters in the top 25 ranking... SA we drew against has 4... SL we beat have 3... After Englands paltry few months at top of the Test rankings, we are on the rise & you peaked & are going down... See you on the way past...

  • aa61761 on December 29, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    One down, three more to go. Well done Australia. Lyon will not work against India. Four fast men many be a better choice.

  • Naresh28 on December 29, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    IDIA HAVE LOST FAIR AND SQUARE. POOR BATTING. PATTISON THE TAIL ENDER SCORED MORE THAN ANY INDIAN BATSMAN. CHANGE THE INDIAN TEAM ESPECIALLY THE FAMED BATTING LINEUP.

  • East_West on December 29, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    As I mentioned before the series - in Laxman's interview piece, Laxman is going to fail....guess what, see the result! hmmm...aussies are too fast for our indian greats!!! hahaha! Gambhir has no clue how to bat..and is overrated!! to my fellow indians - less talk and more mettle on the field:!!!

  • KK_Cricket on December 29, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Come on guys... He has played only one test and everyone is saying he is good and all.. The bowling is ok but the batting and the shots which got the wickets were ordinary.. India can do much better then this... Please do not give too much credit too early... Watch out.. its not over yet...

  • straight_drive4 on December 29, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    anderson?? haha youre kidding me, right? what about steyn?

  • Wozza-CY on December 29, 2011, 2:22 GMT

    I have to say I raised an eyebrow when Hilf was selected again, but the selection has paid off hansomely, a super effort. Whilst McDermott may have the praise heaped on him, possibly rightly so, I think Clarke must take plenty of plaudits as well. It was hard to put the finger on with Siddle & Hilf. Both very successful bowlers domestically & started their international careers well, then dropped off. I remember seeing Punters bowling plans change mid-over last summer, which not only showed a lack of patience but is asking a lot from a bowler. So McDermott is telling them to bowl full but Clarke must have better plans and more convictions to stick with these guys. The bowling is certainly looking stronger, but the batting needs some urgent attention!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 29, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, I too thought Swann is the best spinner in the world. But, he didn't do anything of note in the English summer (on spin unfriendly conditions) barring a good performance in the last inning of the last test, I guess. And after noting his ineffectiveness just a few weeks back, and fresh from those delightful memories in India, where he had to run for cover, I began to feel that he is over-rated. Let us give him another chance and provide him the best conditions for spinners, I mean India, and see how he does. Anderson is the BEST swing bowler in the world? You can't be so serious when we have Steyn and Zaheer still playing. Anderson is a greatly improved bowler now, just like Broad. I saw how Anderson struggled in pace unfriendly conditions in the World Cup when Zaheer was giving a hard time to the opponents. Anderson is a world class bowler but not in the league of Zaheer and Steyn IMO.

  • 5wombats on December 28, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge; spot on. We're not so sure Hilfenhaus has improved - he's just up against less good opposition, that's all. Against England a year ago he couldn't buy a wicket because he was up against Cook, Trott, Prior, KP, Bell, etc. Now Hilfenhaus is only bowling against people like Dhoni - who is not Test class batsman (out today to yet another terrible shot....). For India bowling the position is the same; India bowlers are not great; They are not bowling against England now - they are only bowling against Australia. Anyway, seam bowling is not indias strength, so we are reliably informed. Harris would make a big difference to this Australia bowling line up. With Harris there we would say Aus will win the match from here. But without - not so sure.... But we are not seeing "injuries" mentioned by Aus fans at all. How very refreshing!

  • zenboomerang on December 29, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas... Yes - Swann was also just average in Aust last summer... Except 1 good innings, he averaged only 2 wkts per match in the other 4 Tests... Swann world ranking has dropped since peaking 16 mths ago... Noticed this coincided with playing Bangladesh & Pakistan when both were very weak... His ranking has been dropping since playing Aust, Sri Lanka, India... He's turning 33 early next year, so not a young pup coming through... Anderson only does well on tracks that suit him, mainly England & did well in Aust during an unusually rare wet summer... NZ bowlers did better in India, so shows his lack of adaptability...

  • zenboomerang on December 29, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    @5wombats :- "We're not so sure Hilfenhaus has improved - he's just up against less good opposition"... lol... Perhaps you need new glasses... I've been a critic of Hilfy in the past, but this Test he has shown himself to be an improved bowler... Also India have 4 batters in the top 25 ranking... SA we drew against has 4... SL we beat have 3... After Englands paltry few months at top of the Test rankings, we are on the rise & you peaked & are going down... See you on the way past...

  • aa61761 on December 29, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    One down, three more to go. Well done Australia. Lyon will not work against India. Four fast men many be a better choice.

  • Naresh28 on December 29, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    IDIA HAVE LOST FAIR AND SQUARE. POOR BATTING. PATTISON THE TAIL ENDER SCORED MORE THAN ANY INDIAN BATSMAN. CHANGE THE INDIAN TEAM ESPECIALLY THE FAMED BATTING LINEUP.

  • East_West on December 29, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    As I mentioned before the series - in Laxman's interview piece, Laxman is going to fail....guess what, see the result! hmmm...aussies are too fast for our indian greats!!! hahaha! Gambhir has no clue how to bat..and is overrated!! to my fellow indians - less talk and more mettle on the field:!!!

  • KK_Cricket on December 29, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Come on guys... He has played only one test and everyone is saying he is good and all.. The bowling is ok but the batting and the shots which got the wickets were ordinary.. India can do much better then this... Please do not give too much credit too early... Watch out.. its not over yet...

  • straight_drive4 on December 29, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    anderson?? haha youre kidding me, right? what about steyn?

  • Wozza-CY on December 29, 2011, 2:22 GMT

    I have to say I raised an eyebrow when Hilf was selected again, but the selection has paid off hansomely, a super effort. Whilst McDermott may have the praise heaped on him, possibly rightly so, I think Clarke must take plenty of plaudits as well. It was hard to put the finger on with Siddle & Hilf. Both very successful bowlers domestically & started their international careers well, then dropped off. I remember seeing Punters bowling plans change mid-over last summer, which not only showed a lack of patience but is asking a lot from a bowler. So McDermott is telling them to bowl full but Clarke must have better plans and more convictions to stick with these guys. The bowling is certainly looking stronger, but the batting needs some urgent attention!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 29, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, I too thought Swann is the best spinner in the world. But, he didn't do anything of note in the English summer (on spin unfriendly conditions) barring a good performance in the last inning of the last test, I guess. And after noting his ineffectiveness just a few weeks back, and fresh from those delightful memories in India, where he had to run for cover, I began to feel that he is over-rated. Let us give him another chance and provide him the best conditions for spinners, I mean India, and see how he does. Anderson is the BEST swing bowler in the world? You can't be so serious when we have Steyn and Zaheer still playing. Anderson is a greatly improved bowler now, just like Broad. I saw how Anderson struggled in pace unfriendly conditions in the World Cup when Zaheer was giving a hard time to the opponents. Anderson is a world class bowler but not in the league of Zaheer and Steyn IMO.

  • 5wombats on December 28, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge; spot on. We're not so sure Hilfenhaus has improved - he's just up against less good opposition, that's all. Against England a year ago he couldn't buy a wicket because he was up against Cook, Trott, Prior, KP, Bell, etc. Now Hilfenhaus is only bowling against people like Dhoni - who is not Test class batsman (out today to yet another terrible shot....). For India bowling the position is the same; India bowlers are not great; They are not bowling against England now - they are only bowling against Australia. Anyway, seam bowling is not indias strength, so we are reliably informed. Harris would make a big difference to this Australia bowling line up. With Harris there we would say Aus will win the match from here. But without - not so sure.... But we are not seeing "injuries" mentioned by Aus fans at all. How very refreshing!

  • on December 28, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    hopefully, Australia'll win this test

  • kenishah on December 28, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    anderson the best swing bowler in the world. nope, nowher near, luk at steyn , morkel, philander, pattinson n many more. i wonder wats rong wit people these days

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 28, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    Very well bowled Hilfenhaus. Very good comeback. Brilliant in fact!

  • kiranphy on December 28, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    Mr. Coverdale will now write that till end of indias second inning the pitch was flat like roti and during aus inning the the grass on pitch come by some magic is it so?

  • breathecricket on December 28, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    Hey Indians are not great players of seam bowling. Besides Sachin, Dravid and Lakshman there are not many who have proved their mettle under testing conditions. And these great three guys have continued to amaze us by still scoring well. But taking a 5 for in Melbourne under helpful conditions and against India does not prove anything. More such performances are needed consistently to tell if Hilfenhaus is an improved bowler or not.

  • on December 28, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    I often think he is not lucky enough to get wickets even though he bowled very well on different occasions. Glad he had his first five-wicket haul!

    Well bowled Hilfy.

  • AidanFX on December 28, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge Congrats your team is doing well - but how long has this success been a couple yrs; lets see how long it lasts - I think to reckon your team is a so far ahead of the world is an big overstatement - Anderson is great - but no where near as good as Stein. SA have arguably the best attack. Aus are developing a very strong line up - come Ashes time - a settled line up will be a big threat to them. Harris (when fit) is as good as Anderson. Watson is better than Bresnan. If Swan is number 1 (the most average #1 spinner in history) than Lyon could easily become as good as him. Pattinson is already on the way to matching it with Stein - then Cummins and others remain on the fringe.

  • popcorn on December 28, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    The selectioon of Ed Cowan and Ben Hilfenhaus by the Selectors would tell all cricketers,young, and old, that they have a chance of getting picked to play for the Test Team.The Argus Review is working!

  • on December 28, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    England on seaming wickets are a class above every other team at the moment. Their bowlers are the best in such conditions and their batsmen are well equipped to handle good bowlers. Their last struggle was against M. Aamir and Asif in English conditions but after that, they were hardly tested.

    This test is certainly among the two teams who are at par on Austrailian wickets. Had the test been played in India, India would have eased over Austrailia. Hoping for a good next day tomorrow too.

    A good finish for Test cricket in 2011 is on the cards. A classic game on hand in MCG and a huge upset is expected in Durban.

  • on December 28, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    As iis rightly said, Its a BOXING COUNTER all the way....Gr8 treat to all round the world..The balance swings as the new and old ball often does....Most probably Oz wil win from here...

  • KingofRedLions on December 28, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    Don't bother talking about pace Brydon, Nine's speed guns are inaccurate.

  • debatable on December 28, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 Coverdale is employed to write an analysis of Australia's performance after each day's play. Sidharth Monga does the equivalent for the Indian team.

  • on December 28, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    To the world of cricket, the state of Australia is the most interesting. Last year they hit rock bottom but have already recovered, in spite of hiccups along the road, to the extent that Australia again have the greatest number of test quality fast bowlers to call upon, albeit the recovery in that department is far from complete. Mr Coverdale is exploring this recovery and explaining it us in an intelligent and erudite manner. Please continue to do so and take the adverse Indian comments as a back-handed sort of praise that you're doing such a good job of it that they'd love your analysis of their own.

  • on December 28, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    I am quite impressed by young Pattinson. Hilfs and Siddle are honest triers and one can't fault them for the 100% plus effort they put in every time the ball is entrusted to them. As for claims of English world dominance, an a Brit myself, I find it premature. Swanny is a good bowler, but mainly overhyped as usual by the jingoistic English media. The Indians showed him his rightful place last summer. England is definitely more balanced at present but only time will tell how long for & whether they could do an Aus and win around the world. For me the jury is out. As for Indian demolition in England, I am afraid that was mainly a combination of hubris, wretched luck& mediocre bowling. The current attack looks far more potent and I dare say would have provided a far better test to the English batsmen. Any case, this series will be far closer than any of the previous ones between India and Australia. I doubt if the game of musical chairs for world#1 will end anytime soon. Best to savour!

  • TheMasterpiece on December 28, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - Yeah, we cant think of a test match without the dominance of England in one series.. at the same time, we cant even forget how bad they were in India, this tour, and the previous few tours.. This is what called as Champions - only at home.. Australia was weekest when England toured down under for Ashes.. and am sure Aussies would return the favour with this bowling attack in the next series...

  • Shrekk on December 28, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    Whoa! "Anderson the best swing bowler in the world" - excuse me??

  • on December 28, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Just one more proof that line and length with subte variations is a more potent weapon than raw pace. Any pace above 135k is good enough. Bowling withing 135-140k marks is likely to yield more variations, less runs to the batting team, less injuries to the bowlers. Recent history is replete with these examples.

  • sonicattack on December 28, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Well, congratulations to Hilfenhaus, thought he bowled really well. I thought that we would see no more of him after his ineffective Ashes, just shows that shouldn't write anyone off too soon.

  • on December 28, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    on ya hilfy swinging the new and old ball hopefully theres some cloud cover tomorrow so he can tear through this great batting line-up again..

  • RandyOZ on December 28, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    @jkaussie not a bad shout, although I don't think he can play both of them. Coulter-Nile also coming good but injured.

  • AidanFX on December 28, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    Clearly the Aus bowlers are prospering under McDermott - Since SL tour(and I guess under Clarke's captaincy) there has been a lack of continuity in line up - Right now there is Siddle, Pattinson, Hiff and Lyon; prior there has been Harris (in and out of team), Cummins, Copeland, Starc and the all-rounder Watson (although thankfully the selectors haven't messed around trialling news guys as the spin option to the detriment of another spin bowler unlike previously - keeping Lyon in since then). All the bowlers who have been in the squad have thus far contributed in some measure. It is a real plus they have been able to do it with ongoing changes - something I think explains in part the lack of consistency in the Aus batting line-up. However is it not pointedly clear now with CM success with his bowlers that on the the other-hand Langer IS NOT THE RIGHT batting coach?

  • AidanFX on December 28, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    @ mskachwala - have you seem or the comic strips on "Page 2" - you'd swear Team India were the only cricket nation.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 28, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    You can't watch a test like this without thinking of the superiority of England's bowlers over any one else in the world. With Swann the undisputed best spinner and Anderson without doubt the best swing bowler in the world with Steyn, the facts and stats certainly don't lie, do they? Who can forget this time last year? ....... Oh, and the the 4-0 a few months back: What dominance!

  • shuvo_bba on December 28, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    I even wonder if Lyon could have dropped from the sydney squad as i hear SCG is going to help seamers a lot rather than the spinners. So can it be a 4 man line up for Aussies including being-back Ryan Harris??

  • jkaussie on December 28, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    @ RandyOz, I know Harris has a great record but I really think it would be a backward step to pick him again. He hasn't had a lot of cricket lately and he simply is too big a risk to take into a 5 day game. I also think the younger quicks are showing the way - Cummings is a super find (tho injured I know), Pattinson = wow! and Starc, although lacking a little control does just enough at a decent pace to worry the batsman. With Siddle and Hilfenhaus plus Cutting and Cummins when fit, plus Copeland and even Peter George we have depth available that carries far less risk.

  • dunger.bob on December 28, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Yesterday afternoon I thought he was gone. A passenger. Tendulkar & Dravid made him look like a whipped dog for a spell.

    I fully expected a day of agony, Ashes style, where the opposition batsmen were going to going to blast us out of the way and set up a mountain to climb just to get even.

    The ball that bowled Dravid was glorious to watch in slow motion. It seemed to sidestep it's way through the flurry of bat and pad and body to casually doink the bail off the off stump. Something from hell from the batting point of view.

    On ya Hilf, gotta do some more tomorrow though or these guys will mow you down.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 28, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    brydon why don't you write article praising indian bowlers . did u know yadav was bowling consistently at 150 mark swinging the ball today.

  • crh8971 on December 28, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Watching the match yesterday afternoon I felt that Hilfenhaus bowled reasonably poorly. He was bowling too short and as a result the ball was going dead straight and was easy to play. I didn't see the whole session this morning but by looking at the repla of the wickets it did appear he pitched the ball up which helped generate the late movement. Siddle too looks like a far better bowler when he bowls a fuller length. I think Craig McDermott is right when he asserts that at state level bowlers are bowling too short. It seems like he is doing a good job with the bowlers.

  • jonesy2 on December 28, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    anderson best swing bowler in the world haha good one.

  • mskachwala on December 28, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    Mr. Coverdale. I hope you are not just hired by ESPN Cricinfo to write for the Aussie quicks. Because that's all I have read from you in the past three days, come up with something we don't know please!!!

  • v_singh on December 28, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    [am an India supporter] well bowled Hilfenhaus.. Hope you fail to trouble the Indian batsmen when they bat again in the 2nd innings :) ....

  • satish619chandar on December 28, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    It was a dream spell by Hilfy.. In fact, the whole set of Aussie quicks.. Never allowed any batsman to get away.. Relentless attack.. Indian fast bowlers too were awesome.. Hope both the attacks stay fit throughout the tour to provide quality cricket.. Getting injured will not only stop the team momentum but also the series momentum..

  • on December 28, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    i told u already friends that,IND need to survive MCG test which looks unlikely now as thanks to our 1st INNINGS 1ST AWAY TEST MATCH CURSE which is haunting IND for years now and no one has remedy to it,not even DHONI the SAVIOUR,IND should have taken 50 runs lead which they conceded and these 50 runs are going to haunt them,,in past 50 yrs no one has chased 200 runs in 4th INNINGS at MCG,HAD laxman ,kohli dhoni scored 30 each like ashwin IND should have had 50 runs LEAD but easier said than done, a magical knock form LAXMAN in 4ht INNINGS is the only hope now but how many times shall he do it,,Good to see ZAK and YADAV rattling AUS but OUR BATSMEN always let us down in 1st INNINGS,taht too a line up that has 4 8000+ batsmen there now,I f gambhir is not performing get ROHIT in,atleast he played well in practice match,KOHLI is a good ODI player,why is IRFAN not i the team at least he gives extra option to IND,WELL Lets hope IND can turn table at SCG now ,this match is fairly CONCEDED..

  • RandyOZ on December 28, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    Well done Hilfy but still not sold on him. I just can't see Siddle and Hilfy in the Ashes. He's done well but lets see if he can back it up in Sydney. Someone will have to make way for Harris. Personally I think it should be Hilfy. Siddle was still bowling well at the end of day 2 but Hilfy was very ineffective.

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  • RandyOZ on December 28, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    Well done Hilfy but still not sold on him. I just can't see Siddle and Hilfy in the Ashes. He's done well but lets see if he can back it up in Sydney. Someone will have to make way for Harris. Personally I think it should be Hilfy. Siddle was still bowling well at the end of day 2 but Hilfy was very ineffective.

  • on December 28, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    i told u already friends that,IND need to survive MCG test which looks unlikely now as thanks to our 1st INNINGS 1ST AWAY TEST MATCH CURSE which is haunting IND for years now and no one has remedy to it,not even DHONI the SAVIOUR,IND should have taken 50 runs lead which they conceded and these 50 runs are going to haunt them,,in past 50 yrs no one has chased 200 runs in 4th INNINGS at MCG,HAD laxman ,kohli dhoni scored 30 each like ashwin IND should have had 50 runs LEAD but easier said than done, a magical knock form LAXMAN in 4ht INNINGS is the only hope now but how many times shall he do it,,Good to see ZAK and YADAV rattling AUS but OUR BATSMEN always let us down in 1st INNINGS,taht too a line up that has 4 8000+ batsmen there now,I f gambhir is not performing get ROHIT in,atleast he played well in practice match,KOHLI is a good ODI player,why is IRFAN not i the team at least he gives extra option to IND,WELL Lets hope IND can turn table at SCG now ,this match is fairly CONCEDED..

  • satish619chandar on December 28, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    It was a dream spell by Hilfy.. In fact, the whole set of Aussie quicks.. Never allowed any batsman to get away.. Relentless attack.. Indian fast bowlers too were awesome.. Hope both the attacks stay fit throughout the tour to provide quality cricket.. Getting injured will not only stop the team momentum but also the series momentum..

  • v_singh on December 28, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    [am an India supporter] well bowled Hilfenhaus.. Hope you fail to trouble the Indian batsmen when they bat again in the 2nd innings :) ....

  • mskachwala on December 28, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    Mr. Coverdale. I hope you are not just hired by ESPN Cricinfo to write for the Aussie quicks. Because that's all I have read from you in the past three days, come up with something we don't know please!!!

  • jonesy2 on December 28, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    anderson best swing bowler in the world haha good one.

  • crh8971 on December 28, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Watching the match yesterday afternoon I felt that Hilfenhaus bowled reasonably poorly. He was bowling too short and as a result the ball was going dead straight and was easy to play. I didn't see the whole session this morning but by looking at the repla of the wickets it did appear he pitched the ball up which helped generate the late movement. Siddle too looks like a far better bowler when he bowls a fuller length. I think Craig McDermott is right when he asserts that at state level bowlers are bowling too short. It seems like he is doing a good job with the bowlers.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 28, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    brydon why don't you write article praising indian bowlers . did u know yadav was bowling consistently at 150 mark swinging the ball today.

  • dunger.bob on December 28, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Yesterday afternoon I thought he was gone. A passenger. Tendulkar & Dravid made him look like a whipped dog for a spell.

    I fully expected a day of agony, Ashes style, where the opposition batsmen were going to going to blast us out of the way and set up a mountain to climb just to get even.

    The ball that bowled Dravid was glorious to watch in slow motion. It seemed to sidestep it's way through the flurry of bat and pad and body to casually doink the bail off the off stump. Something from hell from the batting point of view.

    On ya Hilf, gotta do some more tomorrow though or these guys will mow you down.

  • jkaussie on December 28, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    @ RandyOz, I know Harris has a great record but I really think it would be a backward step to pick him again. He hasn't had a lot of cricket lately and he simply is too big a risk to take into a 5 day game. I also think the younger quicks are showing the way - Cummings is a super find (tho injured I know), Pattinson = wow! and Starc, although lacking a little control does just enough at a decent pace to worry the batsman. With Siddle and Hilfenhaus plus Cutting and Cummins when fit, plus Copeland and even Peter George we have depth available that carries far less risk.