South Africa in Australia 2012-13 November 28, 2012

Siddle hopeful of recovering for Perth


Peter Siddle expects he will be fit for the Perth Test, but won't know for sure until he bowls and fields at training on Thursday. Siddle's extreme workload during the Adelaide Test - he felt "a little bit delirious" by the time he sent down the last over of the match - was one of the reasons the Australia selectors named six fast bowlers in the squad for the third Test at the WACA, where a four-man pace attack is a strong possibility.

Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus shouldered heavy burdens at Adelaide Oval due to James Pattinson breaking down in South Africa's first innings, and while Hilfenhaus bowled 53.3 overs, it was Siddle's 63.5 overs that drew the most attention. It was not surprising that Siddle was squatting on his haunches between overs as the fifth day drew to a close, for he delivered more overs than any other Australia fast bowler has in a Test in the past 13 years.

The last to send down that many was Glenn McGrath, who bowled a remarkable 77 overs in Barbados in 1999 and backed it up with 63.1 when the Antigua Test started only three days later. But McGrath was freakishly indefatigable. The only other Australian quick to bowl as many in a Test as Siddle in the past 20 years was Craig McDermott, who sent down 68 overs in Adelaide in 1995 and strained his back in the next Test, although he returned later in the match and bowled Australia to victory.

Knowing the expectations that were placed on him and Hilfenhaus when Pattinson was injured, Siddle said he would not want to enter the Perth Test with any queries over his fitness. He will do some bowling at training on Thursday, the day before the match, but will work more on fielding and running and will discuss his readiness with the captain, Michael Clarke and the coach, Mickey Arthur, after that.

"I'll have to wait until tomorrow but at the moment I'm feeling good," Siddle said in Perth on Wednesday. "You never want to [pull out] but you've still got to think of the end result as well. Obviously I don't want to miss any Test matches but in the end if I'm struggling through tomorrow or If I don't feel 100% I've got to talk to the captain, the selectors and work out what's the best.

"You see the hard work we went through in the last match with someone breaking down after nine overs and the efforts Hilfy and myself had to go through to bowl those massive amount of overs. You don't want that happening again here, where it's such a big game and so much riding on the line of it. You want everyone to be right. So I just have to wait and see how I'm feeling and make a judgment after training tomorrow."

Should Australia decide not to risk Siddle, they have plenty of options in the squad. Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson provide left-arm variety and Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings will also come into consideration as steady right-armers. Australia must also see how Hilfenhaus recovers after Adelaide, although Siddle was the bigger worry after he fought through exhaustion on Monday evening to give Australia everything he could to deliver victory.

"It was a weird frame of mind. I was a little bit delirious," Siddle said of his last few overs. "I knew I just had to get back to the mark and charge in, bowl as fast as I could and try and get something out of it. That's what I knew I had to keep doing. I didn't really think about it too much, I just got back to the mark and kept going. It was a weird sort of feeling. Very tired and draining after the game, that's for sure.

"That's probably the most I've felt it out on the field. The heat was a lot warmer than we probably thought, out in the middle. It was very dry and very hard to get your breath in and very hot. It did take a lot out of us. Short, sharp spells and only having the two quicks that we had to bowl continually from one end, it did make it hard."

At least Siddle's enormous effort showed that his switch to a vegetarian diet hasn't affected his endurance. He might occasionally cop some grief from his team-mates for his new lifestyle but Siddle firmly believes his body has thanked him over the past couple of days.

"I've actually recovered a lot better than I thought I would," he said. "Everything's moving a lot better and I'm feeling a lot healthier. That's probably a massive part, being vegetarian is playing a big part and no alcohol has topped that off nicely. It's all working well at the moment and hopefully I can keep performing well and keep the body fit and strong."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simon on November 29, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Seems we're going to see an all new pace attack for Perth as I expected. Siddle and Hilfenhaus are stuffed after Adelaide and I expect Hazelwood will be 12th man.

  • disco on November 29, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    @Marcio meat does not convert to energy. Energy is ultimately distributed by atp molecules. When one of the phosphate molecules is cleaved off the adenosine, the energy released is stored in the atomic bonds. Glucose is converted to water and carbon just by rearranging the atomic bonds. That's where all the energy that the body uses is happening. Proteins are used to do tricky stuff and build the body. It takes energy to break down the protein into it's constituent amino acids.

  • Geoff on November 28, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    There's all sorts of reasons why Peter Siddle should play at Perth. Alas none of them would be putting his own recovery first. For goodness sake give him a break on full money. It might take him 2-3 weeks to properly recover and risking long-term injury would be very shortsighted when there's plenty of depth.

  • S on November 28, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    LOL @ all the expert nutritionists who happen to post here. His diet is irrelevant. As mentioned in the article, McGrath bowled as many over in back to back tests whilst being a carnivore. This was due to his bowling action, rather than what he was eating. Siddle's action looks much more powerful and I suspect he expends more energy in each delivery that McGrath did. Hence, why he was knackered after 60 of them.

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2012, 21:14 GMT

    @Robin Benger. I don't think so. Australia had 148 overs at South Africa, and had 4 wickets after 20 overs, which means we had 128 overs to take 6 wickets. I wouldn't blame Siddle not getting back to his mark for costing us an over and the game, especially as Australia bowled 98 overs on the final day, including 17 in the last hour - 2 more than the required 15. No - it was a mix of disciplined batting from the best team in the world, missed chances (see Matthew Wade), a lifeless wicket, and a spinner still learning his craft. Positive signs for Australia though - regardless of the series result.

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    I actually think that while there was no question Siddle performed bravely once Pattinson was gone, his regular pauses, kneelings and slow returns to his mark probably cost the Australians an extra over. May have cost Oz the match.

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Of course he did bowl brilliantly but you are there for it Sid, you have to bowl and Hilfy did bowl an over more than peter in this innings but he didn't broke down as Siddle, of course he has his pace lower than Siddle but its Siddle's job to bowl fast and long. I think converting into vegetarian had put him in this state, if he had been taking a lot of proteins, he could have bowled these overs a lot easily. He did it brilliantly, there is no taking away from him, he put in a herculean effort and tried till his last to win it for Australia but unfortunately Du Plessis was standing there like a wall and kept it to a draw by his great batting. In addition to this Lyon must be given credit as he bowled his heart out with the bowling figures of 50-31-49-3, bowling the last 11 overs as maiden....................:)

  • Ray on November 28, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Well he's a workhorse, you've got to give him that!

  • Marcio on November 28, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Meat is protein, @PFEL, so should affect his energy levels: more his weight and strength. There might be an issue with iron levels, but team management would be well aware of that. It does seem he has lostpace since last year. He was clocked over 150 in one game, and was usually well into the 140s. But he seems to be getting faster with each spell, and he was into the 140s again in that last fantastic spell. In that heat the loss of Pattinson placed a massive burden on our bowlers (given that Watson was already out), but they really gave it their best. Full cudos to them, and of course to SA for battling to save the game.

  • Johan on November 28, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    I hope that Siddle and Kallis are both fit to play. We want to see the best of the best out there scrapping for top honours.

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