South Africa in Australia, 2012-13

Starc, Johnson in contention for Adelaide

Brydon Coverdale

November 14, 2012

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Starc sends one down, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day, January 13, 2012
Mitchell Starc was 12th man for the Gabba Test © Getty Images

The left-armers Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson could come into consideration for the Adelaide Test, despite Australia's strong performance in the draw at the Gabba. The selectors must decide on the most effective attack for the Adelaide Test, which starts in eight days, with James Pattinson and Peter Siddle expected to lead the bowling group again having impressed at the Gabba.

However, Ben Hilfenhaus appeared below his best, having had a lead-up dominated by short-form cricket, and should the left-armer Starc perform well in the ongoing Sheffield Shield match in Sydney, he will give the selectors another option. There is even a chance Mitchell Johnson, who troubled the South Africans in 2008-09, could come into calculations following some fiery spells for Western Australia over the past few weeks.

On his return home to Perth, Australia's coach Mickey Arthur went straight to the WACA ground to watch Johnson in action for the Warriors against South Australia. The inclusion of a left-armer, either Starc or Johnson, would also have the benefit of creating some rough footmarks that could make the offspinner Nathan Lyon a more dangerous weapon in Adelaide.

"It's a good question and certainly worth some consideration going in to Adelaide. With the rough that might be created it could be quite good," Arthur said. "But Starcy is also on song at the moment, he's swinging it nicely, he's bowling with good pace. It's another option for us and a nice one for us bearing in mind he's a left-armer.

"I was happy with the work that all our bowlers did [at the Gabba]. After day one I was really happy. I thought their speeds were definitely up, I thought our lines were a lot better, I thought we built a lot more pressure. I'm content with the way we went. Mitchell [Starc] is playing a Shield game at the moment. Let's see how he goes in that one and it might give us another option come Adelaide."

One thing that is certain is that neither side will consider an all-pace attack in Adelaide. Lyon was the only specialist spinner who played at the Gabba and he was asked to do a huge amount of bowling - including a marathon 25-over spell across three sessions in South Africa's first innings - and Arthur was pleased with the way Lyon continued to flight the ball and tempt the batsmen despite being attacked early.

"Nathan bowled 50 overs in the game and it was probably clear that they were going to go quite hard at Nathan early on," Arthur said. "They did that but he stuck to his guns. I thought his variation in his pace was good. I thought he built some pressure. I'm happy where Nathan is. He goes back to Adelaide, goes back to his home pitch and I'm comfortable that he's in a good enough space for us."

Australia's selectors must also decide on whether to risk the inclusion of the vice-captain Shane Watson, who missed the Gabba Test due to a calf injury. Watson will bowl for the first time on Friday and his chances of appearing at Adelaide Oval appear slim, unless he can convince the selectors and team management that he is capable of more than a few overs.

"Watto has had two nets and he's come through them very well," Arthur said. "He did a bit of running [on Tuesday] and came through that well. He's having a bowl on Friday and we'll see late in the week or into next week exactly where Watto is. We'll have to sit down and consider what we think is the best XI going in to the Adelaide Test and Shane would come in for a huge amount of consideration."

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

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by NotU on (November 16, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

So Starc fails to take a wicket with the new ball when it mattered and that improves his chances of a baggy green? Man they should just hand out baggy greens in the N.S.W. dressing shed.

Posted by Meety on (November 16, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

@MarcOD on (November 15 2012, 05:50 AM GMT) - I was a big fan of MJ, but don't have the confidence in him atm. That said - should the NSP select him, I would hope they would do so based on something other than he played well against the Saffas before!

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 15, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Please God not Johnson - he's the Australian version of Finn - good to win one test a year, leaks runs like a busted tap in all of the others. If he'd ever consistently lived up to his promise we'd be a couple of hundred points ahead of everyone else in the test rankings, but he never did & he drags the team down with him and we end up losing to the likes of 'England'. We're doing just fine without him thanks.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

my team for stralia 1.Warner 2.Cowan 3.Ponting 4.Clarke 5.Hussey 6.Forrest 7.Wade 8.Starc 9.Pattinson 10.Siddle 11.Lyon

Posted by Moppa on (November 15, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

Fair point, @MarcOD, I for one haven't seen Johnson bowl this season. But Johnson is a confidence player and I'm not convinced that his Shield form wouldn't disappear in a puff of smoke if Amla and Kallis dug in and made life tough for him. In particular, he rarely fights back from a poor first spell to deliver the goods later. Harsh to judge a man on the past without considering the present, but it's too much of a risk that he'll have an off day in a crucial Test match - why take the chance?

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

So they are debatin which left arm swing bowler to use... haha what a delimer indeed!! Hmmm who do you go for, the more expierenced or the young which has some experience.. I guess it all comes down to current form...

Poor Australia for having to worry about whot o select

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (November 15, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

The problem with selecting Johnson is that it's akin to rolling dice on the test match. Roll two sixes and you win. Roll anything else, you lose.

Posted by featurewriter on (November 15, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

I'd have Johnson in the team in a heartbeat. Anyone who has played cricket at any decent level understands the value of this guy. He may be erratic at times, but he is also the kind of guy who can grab three or four wickets in succession and turn a game on its head (as well as doing similar things with the bat). I've never been a fan of Hilfenhaus; pressure is applied by taking wickets, not by bowling restrictive deliveries (that's so English!). I'd also bring back Watson if he's recovered from injury. I'd go Warner, Cowan, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Pattinson and Lyon. That gives us seven batsmen and two very useful lower order bats (Johnson and Siddle); as well as four pace bowlers, two off-spinners, a leggy and a medium pacer.

Posted by MarcOD on (November 15, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

I was happy to see Johnson move back to domestic cricket and make way for some of our current test bowlers and I was hoping that he wouldnt make it back to the test team. But I dont know how many of you that are currently bagging him and saying he shouldnt be close to consideration have seen him bowl this summer for WA? It pains me to say it but he is possibly the form fast bowler in domestic cricket at the moment. He is bowling as fast as I have ever seen him bowl in the past and he is swinging the ball in to the right handers consistently and with control. I encourage people to try and have a look at some video footage of his current form, he looks in scary good form and I think he would actually be a good addition to the team at the moment. I wonder how many people are making comments on his past form and havnt seen any recent footage of him

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 2:37 GMT)

Dropping Hilfenhaus would be a massive mistake. Don't forget that he was actually more effective than Philander and Steyn - the world's highest ranked test bowlers - on a very flat Gabba wicket. His patient, economical bowling allowed Pattinson and Siddle to push for wickets and not be worried about going for 4+ per over.

As for his pace - either everyone was slower than usual or there has been a change to the equipment setup for measuring the speed of deliveries. Steyn was rarely recorded over140 and Pattinson seemed to hover around 135.

I like Starc but he doesn't have Hilf's 4-day pedigree and needs to prove himself with consistent shield bowling first. And Johnson? Would be surprised if he played test cricket for Aus again but stranger things have happened.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (November 15, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

Hilfy out, Starc in. Leave the rest of the team as it is. That would be our best XI for Adelaide. Consider Johnson and Watto for the WACA if they're fit/playing alright. Anyone remember last time Johnson bowled to South Africans at the WACA?

Posted by morriarty on (November 15, 2012, 1:06 GMT)

hi all

the thing johnson has that no other australian bowler at the moment has is the ability to consistently bowl every ball at 145 - 150 .The Brisbane test highlighted how slow the fast bowlers of australia are and as such don't scare anyone.

Tait was our last hope but like a lot of aussies he imploded from lack of mental toughness.

Johnson I am sure was ordered to bowl flat out at the expense of direction and line and length. All world champion teams have had scary fast bowlers or uncanny skillfullness of a wasim akram a michael holding joel garner jeff thompson or a shane warne.

Australia needs a fast bowler to scare the bejeesus out of people I am not sure johnson is the right man though as he will only get wickets occasionally and has always been used by ponting the wrong way.Johnson should have been used like steyne is- sparingly and as a wicket taker and not used as fodder on flat tarcks- I am not a big fan of ponting as a captain.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (November 15, 2012, 0:06 GMT)

Starc is man for australia. he is better bowler than even pattison.

Posted by dsig3 on (November 14, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

Hilfy was a big dissapointment. The guy has so much talent but is so inconsistent. He is in his prime and should be firing more consistently. I have not seen Johnson recently but I have seen alot of him over the last 5 years and I am not interested. Starc is a bit of a risk but I think he could do very well against SA.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (November 14, 2012, 23:44 GMT)

Hilfenhaus and siddle can handle high work loads and give us the flexibility of playing 6 batsmen. Without Watson we have no genuine all-rounder available who can bat in the top orde and our low order batting is settled. I would stick with the same team unless Watson was fit.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (November 14, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

Gilly4ever - I'm so glad you are not a selector. (1) Starc is the form bowler in the country- his only form is T20 cricket which hilfenhaus has been critised for. Least Hilfenhaus has 12 months of test performance to back him up. (2) Bollinger hasnt played much 4 day cricket of late and his record isnt that great. Was outbowled by HIlfenhaus in the 20/20. (3) Quiney has had two years of great shield performances to put his name up. Much more than Warners two good shield performances then crying to the media for a test game. (4) Maxwell as a spinner - he is a handy bat but in the current shield game Cameron White has preferred himself as the main spinner. After day 1 we took 12/350 including Amla and Kallis twice. Our first bowling day against India last series was ordinary as well. The current bowling unit has taken us to victory in numerous times in the last 12 months and personally I would stick with the same side.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 14, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

This discussion had reminded me of how tough it is being a bowler. I agree with the comments that Hillfy was well below his best at the GABBA and was reminiscent of the Ashes where he was tight and bowled all day but not at all threatening. Then I look at his record in 2012 and he has 32 wickets in 7 tests at 20 which is very, very good. He was also far from the only bowler at the GABBA below his best. If a batsmen had say 600 runs over seven tests at an average of 45 there is no way they would be dropped after one bad test. But bowlers need to take wickets and you need to pick an attack that will do the job. The Aus attack did look a little one dimensional with 3 right arm fast medium bowlers. Having a lefty for Adelaide has two big advantages in that it provides variety and will create the perfect foot marks for Lyon to bowl at the SA right handed batsmen. Having said that neither of the two left handed candidates are kicking the door down.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 22:54 GMT)

For those that dont follow 1st class domestic cricket. Johnson has been bowling extremely well and fast. i wouldnt pick him for the adelaide test though. i would let him keep doing what he is doing for WA. Starc i dont rate in the longer format of the game, he is good in the short form when batsman have to try and hit him. I thought Lyon bowled quite average at the gabba. Definately missed Watson.

Posted by MinusZero on (November 14, 2012, 22:45 GMT)

Oh come on! Johnson! He had his chance and failed. Hilfenhaus may not be a big wicket taker but he is reliable for creating pressure by bowling tightly. Something Johnson knows nothing about. How about giving our youth a try. Johnson is far too hit and miss, 1 good game in 10 is not good enough for the national team.

Posted by CoorparooMaverick on (November 14, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

Aaaargh noooo, how does Mitchell Johnson get his name back in selection circles? i thought we were finally rid of his inconsistent and poor performances. if he is selected i'm following the Saffers.

Posted by Moppa on (November 14, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

Errr, @xylo, I'm pretty sure if Starc plays he'll bowl left-handed, no conditions required (see photo with article). For those defending Johnson, fair enough, you don't take 190 wickets by being a muppet, but he really lost it for quite a while. Since mid-2010 he played 13 Tests for 35 wickets at 46 (I hate to think what it would be if you took out the Perth Ashes Test!). His batting was also unreliable in that period: averaging 16.5 with 2 fifties and 6 ducks (career average 21.8). In better news, a closer reading of the article this morning suggests to me that the "Johnson in contention" headline is pure speculation based only on the fact that Mickey Arthur went to the WACA when he arrived home. If Arthur didn't live in Perth we wouldn't be having this silly discussion about Johnson playing Test cricket again. In fact, if Arthur hadn't gone to the WACA, he would not have been properly fulfilling his role as Aust team coach!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 14, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

If Mitchell Starc doesn't play in Adelaide, we should line the Australian selectors up on the streets and throw rotten tomatoes at them, for there is no justification for him to miss out, given that he is the most in-form bowler in the country, if not the world. As for Johnson, he isn't the worst option, and is certainly better than the idea of playing Josh Hazlewood; but Starc is a fair way ahead of him, and if you want a left armer, I'd think that Doug Bollinger is a fair bit ahead of Johnson too - unless you want to play Johnson as an all-rounder, of course. Johnson does have a great record against South Africa though, it should be noted. Nathan Lyon averages over 50 this year. I have no idea how he got a game in Brisbane but if he gets a game in Adelaide, then those selectors really need to be replaced. As for Quiney, dumb selection, and if he plays, well, you know the gist. I'd be picking Glenn Maxwell to replace Quiney, with Mitchell Starc and Doug Bollinger in the side as well.

Posted by Chris_P on (November 14, 2012, 20:21 GMT)

For all his talents, MJ hasn't got the form on the board to deserve selection for Adelaide & after all, this is the recommendation of the Argus report. I like Hilfy as a bowler, but he has to stop bowling this one day rubbish length. That doesn't take wickets in real cricket, (Hilfy, go back & look at your stats last Ashes). Starc gives a point of difference, Lyon bowled better as the test went further & Quiney showed enough to persist with.

Posted by Kimi2014 on (November 14, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

Please no going back to Johnson. Once in a blue moon is not good enough. If they feel the need to change, Aus has enough younger guys to choose from. On another note, as entertaining as Warner can be on his day, I don't think he can be a considered a long term test opener prospect. ODI and t20 sure...but not tests.

Posted by xylo on (November 14, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson? Seriously? Because he is left-handed? I would rather get Starc on the condition that he bowl with his left hand rather than get Mitchell Johnson.

Posted by SpadeaSpade on (November 14, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

I'd stick with the current bowling line-up for the next test, although having a left armer in teh attack gives it great balance and it must be very tempting to have given Starc a run in QLD.

Thats said surely the heading that Johnson was in the mix , refers to his talents at making the cordial for drinks breaks. Johnson greatest assest that is undeniable is his stamina, its proven and well suited for test cricket. But until the bloke can bowl 6 deliveries with the seem up , its ridiculous even mentioning his name in the same breath as Starc who is much more Skillful in a bowling sense.

Posted by TrevorHickman on (November 14, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

PLEASE bring back Johnson I need a good laugh. While you're at it throw in Phil Hughes and Shaun Marsh as well and together with Ricky they can complete a joke line up. There's a lot still wrong with the Australian squad and a good performance at Brisbane (where they hadn't lost for a zillion years) doesn't really mask it.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 14, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

johnson should come in as an allrounder and bat at 7 have both him and starc, the rotation needs to keep up such is australia's ridiculous depth in world class superstar bowlers in particular

Posted by wellrounded87 on (November 14, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

@peeeeet you don't win international cricketer of the year by being "absolute rubbish" Johnson at his best is one of the top bowlers in the world. The problem is he is inconsistent and mentally weak... two undesirable traits in a test bowler

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (November 14, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

@VivGilchrist...... because he is a much better bowler than 27 FC games ago, even at 4 overs at a time. sometimes its better to watch than look at the stats book.

Posted by bobagorof on (November 14, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

@ VivGilchrist: Because the selectors and other members of the team saw him bowling well in Twenty20 matches. Personally I don't think Twenty20 form should be considered when selecting a Test side, but apparently I'm in the minority. Hopefully Starc can get a few wickets in the Shield match and warrant his inclusion, if he is in fact picked.

@Dirk_L: Hifenhaus may have been keeping it tight, but taking 2 tailend wickets does not a strike bowler make. If South Africa had declared 4 runs earlier he would have been wicketless for the whole match. With the little I saw him bowl he didn't look threatening at all.

Posted by Mervo on (November 14, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

Johnson is under-rated. You don't get 190 test wickets by being rubbish and an average batting of 25 the same way. There are some famous all rounders who have played extensively for Australia with similar or lesser stats.

Posted by Mervo on (November 14, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

Hilfenhaus is not at his best and back to his old predictable ways. he threatened no batsman in the test. Starc or Johnson is the choice. The letter's speed and batting are bonuses.

Posted by Dirk_L on (November 14, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

"Ben Hilfenhaus appeared below his best". Crikey. He still had the best economy rate among bowlers who got wickets, and got them more cheaply than anyone else except Pattinson. He beat the bat often too, and at least in the second innings was hitting the high 130's. If that is not his best, it merely means there is still room for improvement. There is a spot in the team for a fiery young fast bowler, and the present incumbent is doing very well, thanks. Starc and Cummins (once he's fit again) will not find it easy to shift Pattinson. But you don't drop a wily old campaigner from a team that had the upper hand simply because he has in the past occasionally been even better.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (November 14, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Starc FC record - 27 matches, 74 wickets (yes, less than 3 per match) at an average of just under 33. Why is he all of a sudden jumping the queue and demanding selection?

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (November 14, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

starc all the way, he can swing it back in to the right handers unlike mitchell johnson

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (November 14, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

I would get Starc in, he is in good form.

Posted by RoJayao on (November 14, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

South Africa would pretty much be the only side who wouldn't want Johnson in the Aussie side but come on, does everyone really have memories that short?? Bring him back and you may as well get Neilson back as coach, Cox and his daft selection panel back and maybe Marcus North as the number 1 spinner again!! Move forward, don't look back Australia.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 14, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

Just to add fuel to the fire on Mitchell Johnson his record at the WACA is 4 tests for 30 wickets at 18. They are pretty compelling figures if he can show some decent form between now and the Perth test. As a nice little bonus he has made 198 runs at 33 there as well. Just saying.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (November 14, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

Watson shouldnt need to bowl to be picked. Yes his last 12 months of test cricket hasnt been flash but prior to that he averaged 50 as an opener for the previous 3 years even though he was regularly out before scoring a century. He is a class player and should be the second batsman picked behind Clarke and I believe he must open with Cowan. As for the bowlers after the first day we took 12 wickets for around 350 runs including Amla and Kallis twice. Was a tardy start but they worked together so well as a group after that. Holfenhaus and Siddle have a lot of credits for there performances in the last 12 months and reckon they should be retained. Those bagging Johnson should remember at his best he was brilliant and if he can recapture that he should be picked. He has won us a lot of test matches against South Africa.

Posted by Buggsy on (November 14, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

Have to agree with others, I would love to see Starc come in for Hilfenhaus who just doesn't seem to have the menace he showed last summer. Quite frankly, he looked rather bored out there.

Posted by peeeeet on (November 14, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Going to Johnson would be a step backwards. The only time I'd consider picking him is at the WACA where he has bowled his two best spells - against SA and Eng. But I still wouldn't pick him then because I think he is absolute rubbish.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 14, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

I would also support the views that if Watson is not fit to bowl he should probably not be picked. If that is the case Quiney should get another chance. If Quiney makes a decent score and Warner fails again it would give selectors another option at the top when Watson comes back. I know Johnson has let us down a lot in the past but if he can grab a bag between now and the WACA test and the pitch is conducive to an all out pace attack it would be tempting to bring him back. Just watch the YouTube video of him bowling at the WACA against both SA and the Poms - he was basically unplayable. So my team for Adelaide would be: Warner Cowan Quiney/Watson Ponting Clarke Hussey Wade Starc Siddle Pattinson Lyon For the WACA Watson could come in for Quiney or Warner and potentially MJ for Lyon if it is a super fast deck.

Posted by azzaman333 on (November 14, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

Hilfenhaus showed the danger of picking someone who has been playing nothing but T20 in the lead up to a test. Picking Starc would be the exact same mistake. If Hilfy must go for anyone, it should be for Cutting, Butterworth or Hastings, who are in great 4 day form, and have significantly better first class records than Starc.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 14, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

@Gilly4ever continues to make the most ill informed comments on this site. Seriously Bollinger and McKay? Bollinger will never play test cricket again and McKay is out injured and not really a test quality bowler. Four quicks for Adelaide a pitch that always takes spin on days 4 & 5? And an all rounder should only ever be picked if they justify selection as either a bowler or batsmen. Mitchell Starc hasn't really proven himself in first class cricket and only took one today against the Vics. Having said that I think it is worth selecting him in place of Hillfy who didn't bowl that well at the Gabba. Even if it is 50/50 Starc gives you the variation of a tall left armer and will make great foot marks outside off of the right handers which will be perfect for Lyon to bowl into. Given four of the SA top six will be right handers this is important. Lyon's last spell at the GABBA was excellent and he will really benefit from the 50 overs & Adelaide will suit him far better.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 14, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

Well Johnson certainly isn't in the mix, but I believe Starc should replace Hilfenhaus, who has had one good summer in a career of mediocrity.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 14, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Aus batting came out with flying colors in Gabba.Top 3 are a concern- not so much Punter with a single failure early in the innings. His form has been v good in FC recently tagged with the experience-has scored plenty of runs vs SA bowlers (esp Steyn and Morne) and no doubting his class which will come through sooner. Punter is due for a big score-possibly series defining- in the coming games.The real worry is Warner who has been scratchy so out of place with his tech vs new ball-more so when facing class opening bowlers. He has a couple of big ones in his career can be destructive when well set and playing at his best-problem is the very low odds of him actually seeing through that initial period vs quality SA opening bolers.Though Aus should stick to Warner in Adel'de hoping he comes good.Bowling was quality in tough conditions vs good players in Gabba TM.I still am at a loss what to make of Lyon- no ' mystery' nor perceived as big threat-the stats are thou not bad- shld play Tho...

Posted by Dangertroy on (November 14, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

I thought Johnson's name would come up for the Perth test, but not Adelaide. He could be included as the fourth quick if the conditions suit not including a spinner. I think Lyon should play, he did pretty well in Brisbane. I agree not to play Watson unless he is fit, I guess quiney gets another shot, make sure he knows its a test, not an odi. Hilfy did ok, but we could use a left armer. Bring in starc if he does ok in the shield match, rotate hilfy back in later in the season.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 14, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Awesome that Lyon (lol can't stop thinking Lion Nathan) got such a good hit out. He'd been short of overs.

Posted by unregisteredalien on (November 14, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

I strenuously agree with everyone who's said Starc and not Johnson. @Gilly4ever, this is a Test not a one-dayer!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (November 14, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

IMO ....if Quiney is going to play like Warner he should replace Warner, Watson at 6 for Quiney or Warner or even Khawaja at 3, Starc for Hilfi, Okeefe for Lyon. I know I know, we drew against the number 1 team and you should not change a drawing team.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

Lyon did really well, and his value to the team is much greater than another mediocre seamer, especially on pitches that aren't greentops. Johnson obviously has a long way to go before he gets selected. Watson should only play if he can bowl, because quiney deserves another chance, when watson is fit then quiney and warner should have to compete for the other openers spot with Cowan.

Posted by Meety on (November 14, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

@Rally_Windies on (November 14 2012, 07:05 AM GMT) - mate, did you see the marathon spell he bowled at the Gabba. Lyon took on a Saffa batting line up that wanted to crunch him into outer space. Early on it looked like he would get mauled, but he hung in there & culd of had 5 wickets for the match IF a catch wasn't dropped. Not a bad return!

Posted by LillianThomson on (November 14, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

I cannot stress strongly enough that I think Mitch Johnson should be one of the first few names on the Australian teamsheet. Firstly, there are very few guys who can bowl left-arm stuff at 150k. Secondly, he shortens the tail because he has an outstanding batting record against Steyn, Morkel and Kallis in Tests. The Aussie batting line-up is very "boom or bust" at present, and they desperately need a number eight who offers a decent threat as a bowler but can also bat stoutly and even score quick runs.

Posted by Moppa on (November 14, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

No, not Johnson! Anyone but Johnson! Although Siddle and Hilf (and Lyon) have had better games, the team collectively built pressure late on Day 1 and on Day 3 which actually arrested South Africa's momentum and started to turn the match around. If Johnson had played I dare say things would've gotten completely away from us, probably by stumps on Day 1 (exhibit A: Lords 2009). South Africa certainly wouldn't have scored at less than 3 an over with Johnson's regular pies on offer. What people seem to miss is that ever since Johnson got injured, the bowlers have bowled as a team, built pressure and had lots of success. The last thing we need is a bowler like Johnson to come and muck it all up. @Rally_Windies, yeah, 4 seamers worked really well for South Africa, didn't it! And you're saying 4 seamers at Adelaide! I agree with @Meety on Lyon's guts and loop - I like how he goes about it.

Posted by kangaroussy on (November 14, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

@dunger.bob, couldn't agree more. How many times has it been said "Mitch is a match winner on his day". But that day (singular) was, what, 4 years ago? If Mitch J puts together a summer of 140+kmh swinging fiery spells, and hits the pitch more often than not, then sure, take him to England next year. Otherwise, give Mitchell Starc a chance to prove himself.

Posted by kangaroussy on (November 14, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

@dunger.bob, couldn't agree more. How many times has it been said "Mitch is a match winner on his day". But that day (singular) was, what, 4 years ago? If Mitch J puts together a summer of 140+kmh swinging fiery spells, and hits the pitch more often than not, then sure, take him to England next year. Otherwise, give Mitchell Starc a chance to prove himself.

Posted by kensohatter on (November 14, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Johnson at his best is a force to be reckoned with and an extremly dangerous bowler I just dont think he has shown he is back to top form yet and would be a risk to take into the second test. The attack at the Gabba looked to similiar and Hilfy is probably the guy to make way for Starc. On the batting front if Watson is fit hes an automatic selection and id like to see him take the place of Warner. Quiney looked composed whilst at the crease and I really thing this is not the series for the flashy hit and miss warner. Do think Quiney should bat in between Ponting and Clarke. Also of note is Haddins hundred for NSW that may put pressure on Wade but wont force a change in this series. My XI for the second test. 1. Cowan 2. Watson 3. Ponting 4. Quiney 5. Clarke 6. HUssey 7. Wade 8. Pattinson 9. Siddle 10. Starc 11. Lyon

Posted by disco_bob on (November 14, 2012, 7:50 GMT)

@Wozza, we had similar comments last year about Hilf and Sid. Johnson bowled a lethal spell at Perth in our forgettable home Ashes series. I'm not sure I'd like Starc and Pattinson together against such a formidable batting lineup as SA just yet.

Posted by KeithMillersHair on (November 14, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

Gee @Gilly4ever, you sound pretty certain about what the selectors *MUST* do. Which is surprising given at least a couple of the players you've suggested come in are actually out injured for at least the duration of this series. Seriously though, what is with this Lyon knocking - he was the second highest wicket taker at the Gabba just quietly (bowlers he outclassed included Siddle and Hilfenhaus, plus Styne, Morkel, Phillander, etc). The guy has 46 wickets at under 30. He's not S.K. Warne, but he has more than filled his role in every match he's played. The simple fact is he is the best test spinner we have. The next simple fact is that his spot is just about the only position in the current line up that isn't under any scrutiny. Australia <i>will</i> play a spinner in Adelaide, and that spinner <i>will</i> be Nathan Lyon. So let's put that to rest. Picking Johnson is a folly not to be contemplated. There'll be one change, Starc for Hilf.

Posted by dunger.bob on (November 14, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

Watson and Starc I can understand, but Johnson ..... I think MJ needs a full season of fiery spells, not just the odd one now and again before he comes back into the mix. I like Hilfy, but I think Starc is the best man for the job for all the reasons spelled out in the article.

Posted by bridget01 on (November 14, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

without him bowling at full fitness, Watson should be left out of the side. His inability to convert starts into big scores is a liability. I also think he shoud not bat higher than 6...his aspirations to be a top order batsman are not being fulfilled.....better to see him come in at 6 or 7 and play his natural attacking game....then opposition would really fear him

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 14, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

The biggest mistake that the selectors could make is to play the same 11. Rob Quiney *MUST* go, and they *MUST* play an all rounder in his place. If Shane Watson is fit, he should play. Nathan Lyon *CANNOT* play and Mitchell Starc *MUST* play. Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle *SHOULD NOT* play either. The bowling attack should be: James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson/Doug Bollinger, Clint McKay/James Faulkner with either Watson or one of Christian/McDonald/Marsh/Maxwell to replace Quiney. If they go in with the same 11, they are bound to lose.

Posted by bridget01 on (November 14, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

either left armer would be a good choice Hilfy and Siddle continued their run of the mill standard performance we have seen over the last few years....ok stock bowlers, but not instilling any great fear in the opposition. Johnson is unpredicable but has decimated the Saffas with bat and ball before.....can be a match winner...and could be the difference.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (November 14, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

why austrailia plays Lyon in front of MUCH better seamers is a mystery to me ...

they are always 1 bowler short.... Lyon can be easily replaced by micheal clarke as a bowler .......

play 4 seamers ....

get a leftie in there for variation and give clarke a 5-10 overs ....

Posted by tintaman on (November 14, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

Would actually rather they left Watson out if he's not fit to bowl, give Quiney another shot at proving himself and ensure Watson doesn't end up out for the whole summer. If they play Johnson I will lose all faith in the selectors. 10 wickets at 33 when his home ground is the WACA does not demand selection.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

I wouldn't be too worried about Lyon. It would certainly be very handy to have Watson back and I think Starc could also be quite handy at Adelaide, given the extra bounce he can extract. He's not setting the world on fire in the shield match though. Tough call, but I don't see Australia getting to no.1 with Hilfy leading the attack, probably time to back Starc, I think.

Posted by Meety on (November 14, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Showed a lot of guts did Nathan. Particularly after being mauled at the Gabba earlier in the season by Cutting, & then straight up by Kallis & Amla. He really had them frothing at the mouth on Day 3, they wanted to belt him but couldn't take on his loop.

Posted by Wozza-CY on (November 14, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

If Johnson gets picked for Adelaide I'm going to start following lawn bowls.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
Australia v South Africa at Perth - Nov 30-Dec 3, 2012
South Africa won by 309 runs
Australia v South Africa at Adelaide - Nov 22-26, 2012
Match drawn
Australia v South Africa at Brisbane - Nov 9-13, 2012
Match drawn
Australia A v Sth Africans at Sydney - Nov 2-4, 2012
Match drawn
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days