Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day

Pattinson picks up simple mantra

Daniel Brettig at the Gabba

December 4, 2011

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James Pattinson celebrates the wicket of Kane Williamson, Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day, December 4, 2011
James Pattinson's pre-season training began in Sri Lanka and South Africa © Getty Images

In his own words, James Pattinson has been "smashing" a full length at every opportunity for the past four months. Given the chance to make his debut for Australia in Brisbane, he duly used that length to smash New Zealand.

Pattinson's second-innings heroics at the Gabba, which at one point reaped three wickets in four balls, and at another gave him the figures of 5-7, were a reward for speed, swing and perseverance.

"We spoke about it before the game we wanted to try to bowl nice and full," Pattinson said. "Pup [Clarke] supported me there and said it doesn't matter if you get driven a couple of times, which I kept at the back of my head and tried to just keep doing the same thing and it paid off for me in the second innings."

More significantly, Pattinson's performance confirmed that Australia are building a formidable bowling attack, mixing pace and spin under the agile captaincy of Michael Clarke. All this has developed under the watch of the bowling coach Craig McDermott, whose simple, "get it up there" mantra was in Pattinson's mind every time he sent a rapid away swinger hurtling towards the New Zealand batsmen.

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and South Africa have all been part of Pattinson's elongated preparation for the Gabba, and he has spent as much time bowling in the nets as any member of the Australian attack. McDermott was never far away, and the development of Pattinson's bowling had him ideally tuned for Brisbane.

"That's been really valuable for me," Pattinson said. "Having that sort of pre-season over there in tough conditions for me and getting my length right as well has paid dividends for the right length to bowl out there. I've been smashing that area over in Sri Lanka and South Africa every time I bowl and Billy's (McDermott) been right on my case. So it is great to get the rewards for some hard work."

Michael Clarke, basking in victory at home, said he had known for some time that the likes of Pattinson were on course to take up the attack for Australia.

"I've probably seen that for a while now that there's some young players that have been around first-class cricket who are now involved in the Australian set-up that have had a lot of talent," Clarke said. "It is just about giving them an opportunity to see how they go, and then trying to get better.

"Patto's been around the group for a while now in regard to one-day cricket, we've always known he's had a lot of talent, it was just about getting him as fit and strong as we could, him biding his time, going back to first-class cricket and taking wickets and waiting for an opportunity.

"I said before the start of this Test match I was confident we could take 20 wickets and we could win the game. That's because I've seen Sidds (Peter Siddle) bowl for a while now, I've seen Patto bowl in one-day cricket and first-class cricket, I've known Starcy (Mitchell Starc) for a while. I know we've got the talent, it is just a matter now of continuing to improve the consistency, that is probably the most important thing for us, as a team, not just as a bowling unit."

As the younger brother of Darren Pattinson, who played one Test for England, James Pattinson has had a family background in the experience of Test cricket. But observers have always felt the younger brother would develop into a more piercing bowler, and in one Test he has already put his brother in the shade.

"Um, how many Test five-fors have you taken?" Pattinson joked about asking his brother. "Nah, I might not say that. I probably won't say anything because he might whack me across the ear. I'll have a couple of beers with him and talk about things. He's been a great supporter of mine."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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