Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 5th day January 28, 2012

Eight maidens to victory


In a series speckled with Indian wickets, the spell Peter Siddle remembered most fondly was one that passed without reward. On the third evening of the SCG Test, he and Ben Hilfenhaus delivered eight consecutive maidens between them, squeezing Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir with precision pace bowling of the highest standard on the same pitch Michael Clarke had used to construct his 329.

While no wickets were forthcoming during the spell, Siddle remembered it as emblematic of Australia's bowling across the series, which at times reached heights not even the bowlers themselves might have thought possible. The bowling coach Craig McDermott has moulded the attack in his own image, and its combination of speed, swing and stamina has been a rare sight.

"Just the way individually everyone has stuck to their guns and played their role perfectly at each end when bowling has been superb," Siddle said after claiming the match award in Adelaide. "The batters have set us up at times as well and we just knew we had to go out there and be patient.

"I think the best bowling spell we had was probably in Sydney when me and Hilfy bowled a partnership, we didn't get any wickets but we bowled [eight] overs straight of maidens. I think that just summed up the summer and what we wanted to achieve. In every match that we bowled, that is what we wanted to go about it. That was perfect and showed what we were all about."

Siddle proved himself to be the rugged heart of the Australian attack, a position never more evident than on another late afternoon earlier in the series. Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid had pushed India into a position of power when Siddle burst one through Dravid's defences, then stood crestfallen when replays revealed a no-ball. Redoubling his efforts, he proceeded to puncture Tendulkar's defence before stumps, a mighty blow for India and source of a surge of confidence among the hosts.

"I had to turn it around or else the bowling coach and captain would have really been on my back," Siddle said, grinning. "Getting a wicket off a no ball and then getting one quickly around the corner is always pleasing, it makes everyone a little bit happier.

"But I think any wicket, it doesn't matter who you get, any Test wicket is obviously a good achievement it doesn't matter if it's Sachin or a Yadav at No.11, you want to get all 10 and you need to get 20 for the match, it doesn't matter which one you get, as long as you get all 20 like we have been."

Siddle said the partnerships established by the bowlers had been a major part of the attack's improvement on last summer, when England's batsmen made both he and Hilfenhaus look ordinary by comparison.

"There is always a lot of emphasis on batting partnerships and our big emphasis coming into this summer was bowling partnerships," he said. "We went about that spot on and no matter what attack we had, we stuck to our guns, we did the job, and that was our plan, we didn't steer away from that.

"We knew every morning we rocked up and had to bowl in partnerships and be consistent and be patient and I think it showed in the performances. Everyone that bowled got the job done and lucky enough a few of us got the rewards."

Well as they bowled, however, Australia's pacemen know there is room to excel further. Aiding this will be the return to fitness of James Pattinson and Pat Cummins, which would allow the national selectors choice of a fearsome arsenal for their next Test assignment in the West Indies.

"The way we are going as a unit definitely but we still have room for improvement," Siddle said. "We are going in the right direction. The good thing about the whole summer was the number of guys who played from [Mitchell] Starc and Jimmy Patto. There was a big turn around from the start of the summer to now but we never changed, we always stuck to the same game plan which was to be patient, bowl in good partnerships and we would get the rewards.

"That showed no matter which line-up we put forward on game day we got the job done. At different times each individual got the rewards."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on January 30, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    @HatsforBats... Re: Hilfy - interesting to see him occasionally lose his bowling action in Adelaide & looked like he was bowling like last summer... Hopefully just tiredness... Also George Bailey encouraged him to use the crease more for Tassie (which seems to have dissappeared) & is one of the reasons for his improved Shield stats along with the tendon issues which seem to have dissappeared... Could be an issue with him playing 6 Tests like Siddle has just managed...

  • Andrew on January 29, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    @ ajayrcs - keep thinking of Faulkner as an allrounder, & Bird is way too early in his career. If he continues the season the way he started it over the next 4 games he'll make the top 15. As for Starc, I believe he is nowhere near the level he eventually will reach, I think other bowlers are currently better. Starc IMO is still a WIP - albeit very good already! @Mo Saleh, we will be heading their soon enough. Given most of the damage Oz inflicted on India was thr the AIR, the pitches won't play as a big of a part for the bowlers. Just on unhelpful pitches, what was HELPFUL about Adelaide Oval?

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Don't take seriously to the player who has performed good against India. Against this Indian team anybody can perform. See England bowlers & Batsmen.. they were brilliant against India but what has happened to them against Pak.. Before India Oz team could not handle the kiwis. & remember in future also its players will not be able to perform so brilliantly against any other team (except India). See after two next series, Ponting will again be pressurized for retirement. So in my opinion performance against India, has no guarantee to the form of any player.

  • Rajaram on January 29, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Peter Siddle rightly said," We have strangled India".

  • Alex on January 29, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @Meety - Add to that list the all-rounders Faulkner, M Marsh, Christian and Watson. Even our spinner stocks have improved over the last few years, Holland took 6 wickets at Manuka against the Indian team (a feat somewhat tarnished given the Indian batting perfomances over the summer, but still...), O'Keefe - while being overlooked is still performing, Smith is doing more to improve batting than bowling but is still a likely prospect, Maxwell has opened the bowling for Vic on a number of occassions, Doherty and Kreja have been consistently taking wickets, Beer has taken wickets and also opened the bowling fo WA. Now we need reliable batsmen to follow and we're golden. Personally I still thnk Ferguson is the right man to start that trend again, I hope he returns to form with a vengeance for the remainder of the shield and ODI's

  • Nick on January 29, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    Meety - I agre with your list (but not with the order). Bollinger should be pushing the test team - 12 tests, average 25.92 (and 23.90 in ODI from 39 games). Nothing wrong with those stats - a better record than Siddle and Hilfenhaus. He was dropped because he was selected for a test with no match practice after injury and then got accused of being too unfit, never to be selected again. I'm looking forward to seeing if McKay gets picked for ODIs - 15 games, average 21.06. He was going to the World cup and got injured at the wrong time and has not played since. Selectors (and fans) have short memories and are not necessarily loyal to guys who play well. Yet guys like Mitchell Johnson, Marcus North etc get an extended run on the back of average performances at test and first class level.

  • Rusty on January 29, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    Insipid India, outside the offstump....the cry goes on and on and on..... Do not try to take away anything from the aussie bowlers.....just agree that the whole of India is insipid and let the aussies enjoy their victory. Swallow that price with a chapati.

  • Peter on January 29, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    @Mohamed Saleh. That;s the point of the artice! They bowled consirtently, on their intended line moving the ball both in & away ffrm the batsmen, hence why they tied up the batsmen! That is the sort of discipline you want from pace bowlers, that is the way to get on top of a strong batting outfit. This also reinforces my thoughts that the Indian batsmen didn't play undisciplined shots, but were worked over by a thinking pace bowling group. I think too many were far too harsh on the Indians & not giving enough credit to the bowling attack.

  • seb on January 29, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    I hate how these Indian "fans" are so utterly unwilling to acknowledge that the Aussie out-thought, out-muscled and out-fought the Indian team - they beat them mentally before they bowled the ball. Is it just sour grapes or are they just ignorant about how cricket is actually played?

  • Andrew on January 29, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    @HatsforBats - I just hope the injuries ease up on the blokes you named!!!!

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