Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 3rd day

Hilfenhaus side injury exposes Australia again

Daniel Brettig at Bellerive Oval

December 16, 2012

Comments: 57 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke checks on the injured Ben Hilfenhaus, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 3rd day, December 16, 2012
Ben Hilfenhaus left the field after indicating soreness in his side © Getty Images
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Australia face the grim prospect of trying to win a Test with only three specialist bowlers for the second time in three matches after Ben Hilfenhaus shuffled off Bellerive Oval with a left side strain that has placed him in doubt for the rest of the Sri Lanka series.

After bowling the second ball of his 13th over to Sri Lanka's vice-captain Angelo Mathews, Hilfenhaus grimaced, felt for his hip or side, spoke briefly to his captain Michael Clarke and left the field, leaving Shane Watson to complete the over.

He later left the ground for further medical examination, and the team physio Alex Kountouris said Hilfenhaus was now doubtful for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The New Year's Test in Sydney follows only three days after the end of the MCG match, a tight timeframe for fit bowlers, let alone those recovering from injury.

"With Ben, we'll probably know more in 24 hours. But it's probably doubtful, the fact that he's not bowling right now, you'd think there's going to be considerable doubt [for Melbourne]," Kountouris said. "It's on the milder side but not mild enough to be able to bowl in the second innings.

"These sorts of things, if you miss a week then you miss two weeks because they're not like batsmen who in a week's time they can get back and play. Bowlers need to come back, bowl a few times, prove that they're fit, make sure they've got through some sessions because we obviously can't put them in a Test match with any doubt."

Hilfenhaus had been considered alongside Peter Siddle one of the two durable, senior bowlers to be relied upon across the summer. They were outlined as critical to Australia's planning as the youthful group including Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood could be rotated around them.

Of that quartet, only Starc has reached this point of the summer without being sidelined, while John Hastings, called up when both Siddle and Hilfenhaus missed the Perth Test against South Africa, is recovering from a back injury.

Siddle and Hilfenhaus were unable to be considered for the WACA match as a direct result of Pattinson's withdrawal midway through the draining Adelaide Test due to a side/rib injury, which left the older duo with a heavy workload across the second innings.

Nathan Lyon was also leaned on heavily in Pattinson's absence, and he, Siddle and Starc and can now expect another hefty shift while Hilfenhaus convalesces. Watson's return to the team in the interim as an allrounder will be of some help to Clarke's bowling options, but Australia's captain is reluctant to overbowl his deputy out of fear it will both detract from his batting and also cause another round of injury.

Pattinson, meanwhile, had exrpessed hope while watching the Melbourne Stars' BBL match at the MCG on Saturday evening that he might recover in time to be considered for the latter Sri Lanka Tests. Kountouris ruled out that possibility.

"When it comes to James, he's going to start bowling next week or this week sometime," Koutnouris said. "But I don't think he's going to have enough time to build up his workloads enough to be able to play on Boxing Day and probably the New Year's Test. The original plan for him was not to play those Tests and it's probably looking like that's what's going to happen."

Hilfenhaus' bowling has been the subject of considerable scrutiny so far this summer, as he appeared to lapse into the bad habits that bedevilled him during the 2010-11 Ashes series following a year punctuated by lots of Twenty20 assignments and precious little first-class cricket.

When Hilfenhaus was recalled after missing the Perth Test, having picked up a slight knee niggle in Adelaide while wrestling with his bowling action, the national selector John Inverarity described his halting progress, which has required plenty of time with Australia's bowling coach Ali de Winter.

"The history with Ben, he was doing well then the last series against England in Australia [in 2010-11] he didn't bowl to his highest level," Inverarity said. "He got things sorted out, a few niggles were sorted out and he got his bowling action right, and his bowling last summer was superb. He bowled at good pace and very well.

"His bowling in the first Test was a bit like against England, it wasn't as good as he'd hoped. So he needs to get 100% fit to perform, and his action so that he bowls like he did against India last summer, and we're hopefully that during this little break he'll be back to that sort of form."

In Hobart, Hilfenhaus did not generate his customary outswing, and struggled early on for his line as he drifted too often into the pads of Tillakaratne Dilshan. This angle proved more profitable against Dimuth Karunaratne, as a ball running across the left-hander caught an outside edge on the way through to Matthew Wade. As things stand, it will be his last major contribution to this match, and possibly the series.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Buckers410 on (December 18, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Bowling attack in Melbourne should be Peter Siddle obviously, Mitchell Starc and Ben Cutting or Nacthan Coulter-Nile. NEED DIFFERENT SPINNER (Lyon does not take wickets.)Cowan needs to be dropped. Khawaja to replace Clarke and Steve Smith to bat at 5 and everybody slide up one. 1.Warner 2.Hughes 3.Khawaja 4.Watson 5.Smith 6.Hussey 7. Wade (wk)

Posted by Looch on (December 18, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

Hilfy has been badly underperforming this season and I see this as almost a blessing in disguise, I say almost because there is noboy left to take his place! @reddawn1975 Don't feed the troll! He's the type that only shows up when his team has won and to outdo the other regular trolls, don't waste your time.

Posted by jimbirchall on (December 17, 2012, 22:00 GMT)

As a neutral, this can only be good for Aus. From what i have seen there is 10 bowlers in aus better than Hilfenhaus. Same goes for Lyon.

Is Hilfy's dadd the coach or something?

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 17, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

@reddawn1975: "Australian cricket is on the verge of so big moves and changes and some very exciting talent"

The sad thing is that Australian fans have been saying that for years, ever since the retirement of Warne&Mcgrath. And every time Australia remain stagnant or go backwards. Remember Phil Hughes, the 'next Bradman'? lol. If you missed them, check out the DVD for the 2009 Ashes. England have just been far superior to Australia for so many years, not even your most brainless fans would deny that. Meanwhile, whilst Australia remain minnows, England ride high and set new records in places like India.

Posted by reddawn1975 on (December 17, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Why is Hilfenhaus still playing Front foot Lunge and i reckon that's your only shot.Its because he is a dam good bowler his lines are great hey keeps it tight and mate he can bowl and bowl and bowl until well finally cops a nasty injury.There are plenty of quicks running around Australia at the moment i think the guy to watch out for and i am not from WA is Nathan Coulter Nile and Kane Richardson and Mitch Johnson correct me if im wrong bowled very very well in Perth and he's not exactly old so i think Australian cricket is on the verge of so big moves and changes and some very exciting talent

Posted by swauzzie on (December 17, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

@johntycodes : "Can't believe lyon gets a game". He gets a game 'caus he's the best test bowler in Aus! Have you SEEN him bowl? Or are you just regurgitating comments from others? He was Oz's LEADING wicket taker againt SA! You know - the Saffers - the nr 1 team in the world. The team that Aus nearly knocked over but for Du Plessis - he was the trumfcard. Back to Lyon - Granted he has very little experience, but he's still the best Oz has to offer & for once since Warnie/McGillie retired they seem to be sticking with one guy & giving him a fair go.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 17, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Question to @johntycodes: who would you have to replace Lyon atm?

Posted by johntycodes on (December 17, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

Well obviously the managinf workload and the sport science that australia employ into all the bowlers to get 100% use of equipment and everything else is not working. So don't do it, get out there and train hard every day and run these bowlers into the ground to get the fitness base up instead of wrapping them in cotton wool like kids. Well for this match lyon will no doubt fail again just like he has done in every second innings bowling performance from us this year and we won't win. Can't believe lyon gets a game.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Surely Jackson Bird deserves a chance and why in the world has Trent Copeland been forgotten?

Posted by jeauxx on (December 17, 2012, 1:45 GMT)

@maf17 "Is it too much to hope he'll also get a side strain from carrying the drinks?" It is, considering he's not carrying the drinks! He left on the first day of the Hobart Test to play some Big Bash, I believe. That's why Jordan Silk was fielding all day yesterday for Australia. That said, maybe 4 overs in T20 is a bit of a better chance of injury - you're not out of luck!

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

Maybe India have the right idea. Prepare dust bowls, pick 4 spinners. Not a big deal if your only paceman gets injured, and spinners hardly ever get injured.

More seriously, one injury is bad luck, but 6+ in the last year (Hilfenhaus, Pattinson (x2), Cummins (x2), Harris) is an indication of a systemic issue. Surely someone on the fitness staff should be worried about their job?

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

@Aussie fans: If you even want your team to get anywhere close to #1, then make sure they are fit as a fiddle and not like walking chop sticks. They are falling quicker than a pack of cards on a Vegas poker table.

Posted by MenFromMarts on (December 16, 2012, 21:03 GMT)

Injury List: Harris, Cummins, Pattinson, Hilfenhaus, Copeland, Hastings, George, Hazlewood. So Boxing Day will be Johnson, McKay, Siddle. Oooh - scary.

Posted by Buggsy on (December 16, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

A blessing in disguise. Hilfenhaus has lost the plot for some time now. Too short, too wide, see ya.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 16, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

Why is Hilfenhaus still playing? Isn't he one of the long list of Australian cricketers who have had their careers ended by England? For Australia, there is no one else to pick.

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 16, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

I just wonder how many more of these bowlers will get injured.It is becoming worrying how many times this is happening in world cricket.We all want to see the best players play and this is getting silly now.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 16, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Insnae as these endless injuries to Aus fast bowlers seem, it would be a cruel twist if in the process of covering for Hilfy and help Aus bowl out, Watson were to get injured. There is a strong possibility of Watson having to bowl a lot more overs than he anticipated,specially if Siddle and Starc dont get alot of wickets up front.

Posted by maf17 on (December 16, 2012, 14:15 GMT)

No cloud without a silver lining, as they say. Hilfenhaus is utterly useless, but since he appears to have compromising pictures of the selectors in his possession, still keeps getting picked. Now they will have no choice but to pick someone new - Oh No!, just realised Johnson is still in the picture! Is it too much to hope he'll also get a side strain from carrying the drinks?

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

@WeFinishThis. I think you are quite correct in saying that Hilfenhaus seems too defensive with the new ball. He seems unwilling to be driven, in contrast to Siddle who keeps throwing the ball up onto a good length...... Johnson should still be nowhere near the Aussie team, he is still not able to shape the ball back in to right handed batsmen, yes he got a pass in Perth but as with Hilfenhaus, the Australian team is not going to get any better with him in it. I'm more than willing to persist with Starc, he just needs someone good behind him in the coaching dept. and some more experience, he has all the talent, just isn't getting the best out of it. Siddle, Bird and Starc for mine at the MCG. Bird has been consistently the best bowler over the last two shield seasons and takes 5 wickets per match which shows he doesn't waste opportunites and can get through plenty of bowling, he's also 25/26 I think so a little more matured than many of the other young hopefuls.

Posted by Marcio on (December 16, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

You can't just keep throwing guys in and out of the team after one bad day. Get real. The young bowlers need to be persevered with. Throwing Starc out of the team would just be dumb. Wouldn't mind betting he gets a few in the second innings. Are people really that dim that they think that a 22 year old bowler who has played a few tests can't learn and get better? Or that he is defined by his worst display? Throw Starc out for someone else and then you'll be moaning about the fact that he can't bowl either in his first game. It takes time and experience to become good at this level. Period.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

What does Jackson Bird have to do to get picked really, best bowler in sheild by a mile - Mitchell Johnson is a toon covered wayward joke.

Posted by jeauxx on (December 16, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

There's been mountains of talk in the last year or so about Australia's fast bowling stocks, but now that the chance to use it has actually come around, I'm finding it difficult to pick a name! My gut feeling is that the selectors will go with Johnson, 12th man in Hobart and a strong recent Test performance, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's now Jackson Bird's turn. Leading wicket-taker this season AND last makes him hard to ignore. I feel hesitant to pick another medium-ish pacer after Hastings' WACA game, but Bird's numbers are just too good. I wouldn't put my money on Butterworth - played in the CACXI game and didn't trouble SL. But I reckon the selectors ought to think about QLD"s young Cam Gannon - only played a handful of games but has the best bowling average and strike rate in Shield AND Ryobi Cup! Better pedigree than Hazlewood or Cummins have ever had.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

I had hoped that a stable team could have been settled upon by now to proceed and regain the Ashes. Over the last several months there has been much talk about our depth of bowling, fast men in particular. And how brittle our batting is. Almost seems to have reversed itself!!! I like the quality of our top seven, on paper at least. I'd actually stick with that top 7 ... Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Captain MJ Clarke, Hussey, Wade for the the next 12 months. Absolutely no changes. Let the top 4 grow and learn. We MUST have a stable team for the Ashes. That 7 may not be the best, but I think they are good enough if given security of selection.

Posted by fazald on (December 16, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

This must be a blessing in disguise for the aussies as Hilfenhaus is a pretty ordinary bowler and the least effective of all the bowlers that have played test cricket this summer.But the selectors keep picking him saying what a fine bowler he is although he has hardly taken any wickets. If the selectors keep playing games Australia would hardly win a test match this summer.If our fast bowlers both young and old keep breaking down with every game we might need to take atleast a dozen fast bowlers for the ashes series in England next year. Surely this is not contact sport like rugby league or AFl. If we are really serious we might have to get a physio from American Baseball League to put a stop to this ridiculous spate of injuries suffered by our fast bowlers just like we used to have a fielding coach from American Baseball about three years ago. Australia has never been able to field their best team for atleast the last three years or so due to the spate of injuries to our cricketers.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 16, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

This is a golden opportunity for the NSP to widen the base going into 2013. Cutting and Bird to debut alongside Siddle for the G if we win this game. That way we can see who has the temperament for test cricket and build up our reserves. But when Invers went for Hazlewood ahead of these guys he showed his hand - looking for another Cummins-like 'miracle' bowler. Please try and be consistent if nothing else! You identified them for the A team to England, and they are performing atm so pick them now. They don't have to go to India or even England, but when the guys picked for these tours next break down, they may be better prepared to step up.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 16, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa, Indeed, but one forgets how desperate Australia are in this 'Ultimate Battle of the Minnows' to field someone who might limit the Sri Lankan scoring rate to less than six runs an over.

Posted by oval77 on (December 16, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Ten years ago, Australia used to watch visiting teams 'mentally disintegrate'. Now visiting teams can just sit back and watch Australia 'physically disintegrate'.

Posted by brusselslion on (December 16, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

Please tell me that he will still be on the plane to England!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 16, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

How can someone who bowls 130kph get a side strain?

Posted by Moppa on (December 16, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

@HatsforBats, I'd be cautious about speed guns, the calibration seems different for every match. Further, the same guy bowling with a white ball always seems about 5km/h faster than with red - something to do with the lacquer I think. More importantly, in terms of length, I think it is harder to consistently hit a full length than 'back of a length'. IMO this is because the angle between the ball's trajectory and the pitch is smaller for fuller deliveries, so a smaller difference in angles results in a greater variation in length than for shorter deliveries. This is probably why most bowlers feel more comfortable just pulling the ball in short of a length when its not quite coming out right. @Sir.Ivor - Ryan Harris is recovering from shoulder surgery and a long way from international cricket.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (December 16, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

Terrible news... for Sri Lanka. He's the one Aussie bowler who is inept at taking regular top order wickets, wastes the new ball with his focus on economy and has been the common factor and major influence in almost every 400+ score against Australia since McGrath retired, along with home losses to England and South Africa. We will never be no.1 again with him around. The selectors will likely waste their time with Johnson again for Melbourne, despite the fact that although Harris, Pattinson and Cummins are all injured, Bird, McDermott, Butterworth and Faulkner are the best options. I've never rated Starc. Faulkner is the best left-arm option for me, even accounting for all of that Hobart assistance, he's been good all around the country. I'd be going with Harris, Pattinson and Cummins if fit, but failing that I'd go with Siddle, Bird and Faulkner for Melbourne. I'd possibly also leave Lyon out for another pace bowler, since I'd be tempted to drop Watson as well along with team doctor.

Posted by katandthat3 on (December 16, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

Rotten luck for Hilf, would love to see Butterworth given an opportunity especially with UK in mind next year. His record is excellent over a long period, regarded highly by other 1st class peers, can bat, field anywhere including slips and open the bowling, the time is right (I still can't believe Hastings was considered in front of him). Amazing that as soon as guys go train in the Aussie squad all manner of injuries happen, can't recall to many other times like it. Had guys like Reid, McDermott, Fleming etc get injured here and there but so many all at once?

Posted by Meety on (December 16, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

@ Gilly4ever on (December 16 2012, 06:35 AM GMT) "Alistair McDermott should have been in the side years ago..." - whilst Ali Mac debuted in 2009, at the start of last year he had played about TWO FC games, so there is NO WAY on Earth he could (or should) be selected for a Baggy Green prior to the end of last season. That said, I think he should of at least debuted for the ODI side, & would be happy for him to score a Baggy Green as long as the other TWO specialist seamers were seasoned pro's!

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 16, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

Hilfy hasn't been fit all summer I reckon. Down on pace, swing and wickets. ..Next!!

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

With so many injuries to side, time for newbies to step up to the plate.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 16, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

@Meety, good thoughts indeed. I doubt if Hilfenhaus's presence would have had an impact on our innings. Mind you many times before teams have lost key bowlers during games due to injury. Good example was in the CB series final round robin match between Australia and SL where SL won by 9 runs, we lost both Angelo and Thisara Perera. Surprising that Aussie bowlers with a good physique are injury prone.

Posted by bobagorof on (December 16, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Alistair McDermott and Jackson Bird would probably be next in line in the (now long) list of bowlers. Unfortunately though, I think Johnson will be called upon for Boxing Day if Hilfenhaus isn't fit. It will be interesting to see if he actually has learnt to play away from the WACA.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 16, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

*10 men - please edit my previous comment and replace "10 matches" with "10 men" (last 2 words)

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 16, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

While it sucks to lose a player mid game, it is not like Australia lacks quality fast bowlers. Alistair McDermott should have been in the side years ago, Doug Bollinger succeeded at test level in all but 1 test and should be given another shot, and it wouldn't be a terrible idea to give Jackson Bird a go either. Not to mention that Mitchell Johnson did very well in Perth yet wasn't given another go. Hilfenhaus was very lucky to get to play in this test and, while I can't be sure who is the one that should replace him (my pick is Alistair McDermott), it is not like losing him will hurt Australia. It will for this test though, as we are down to 10 matches.

Posted by landl47 on (December 16, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

With Hilf gone, Watson unable to bowl much for fear of injury and Starc wayward in this game, a lot of the burden will fall on Siddle and Lyon again. Sids has just taken 5 in the first innings, but can he do it again or will this be like the 2nd test v. SA? At least Aus will have a big lead by the time SL bats again, so losing the game isn't much of a danger. Winning, however, just got a lot harder.

Posted by Meety on (December 16, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Great fight by Sri Lanka today. If Dilshan had converted half of his cover drives that he got off the middle, he would of made 300. It seemed like he hit about 100 coverdrives out of the middle. Angelo Matthews was very good, & he has a pretty good record now against Oz, home & away & in all 3 formats. Great effort Siddle, - imagine what he could do if he ate meat! LOL! I think Starc is in need of another a chat with Wasim, this was his worst bowling since playing Tests for Oz IMO. This is the perfect situation for Warner to open a chance for a result a 20/20 style innings whilst the rest of the side goes about its Test match innings - could have OZ 400 ahead around Tea tomorrow. Oz will need a lot of time to bowl out a side that has Sanga, MJ & Samaweera in it. Unlikely those guys will easily get rolled a 2nd time. Interesting, that the "2nd ier" of Sri Lanka's batting is what held the team together. Good fight, Oz on top, but a draw is about as likely as an Oz win, SL have a chance!

Posted by Moppa on (December 16, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

@Chris_P, sadly, I agree re Hilf. It may be a blessing in disguise to get Cutting or someone else in for Boxing Day. Poor old Hilf might be stranded on 99 Test wickets for a long while. @skkh, sadly, I also agree with you - Starc has been poor and Johnson would be a huge chance for an MCG recall. @The_Cube - Siddle is making your comment look pretty dumb as I write. How you can bag a guy who busts his gut for Australia every time he's picked? @featurewriter, Harris has to tour if fit, but we might actually need an extra quick and hope that Paine or Hartley find a county spot so they're available if needed, rather than taking a spare keeper. In that case we could have Pattinson, Siddle, Johnson, Starc, Harris, Cutting and Butterworth - looks like overkill, but not given our recent injury record!

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Often I ask myself "Why on earth are Jackson Bird and Ben Cutting not playing ? " Hilfenhaus's injury might be a blessing in disguise, and Jackson Bird might make his Test debut soon. Hopefully !

Posted by Arrow011 on (December 16, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

It is time all bowlers turn to Vegetarianism like Peter Siddle & last all 5 days of all matches. Peter Siddle has started this trend & kudos to the great man.

Posted by SICHO on (December 16, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

Another Aussie bowler breaks up, this is becoming more of a habit. I think from now on after every 3 test matches we should expect an injury to an Aussie bowler.

Posted by HatsforBats on (December 16, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

So I just finish giving Starc a serve and he bowls Dilshan with a 143kph yorker!

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 16, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

@Marcio, hey pal, u made some pretty unfair accusations last time round. I certainly do not rubbish everything Australian- in fact quite the opposite. I had expressed my admiration for the truly great, allconquering sides of Taylor,Waugh and the early years of Ponting but that doesnt mean I cant call a spade a spade. The remark was in response to Hitwicket99 who ridiculed the SL team conveniently forgetting the ordinariness of ur own current team. Dont let patriotism cloud the facts.

Posted by HatsforBats on (December 16, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

@Chris_P, spot on about the length he's bowling (about 2m too short judging by the pitch match graphic). Even Siddle is a bit too short. I can't figure out if they aren't aware or are just unable to execute. Starc has been poor and was lucky to be selected in front of Johnson (who out-bowled him in Perth). I also don't know why he's not bowling at full pace? I saw him hit 153kph in the BBL the other night and yet he's content to operate in the high 130's in two/three over spells? Not enough mongrel. Watson again our best bowler.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (December 16, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

I am surprised that Australia is not giving chances to the many well performed fast bowlers who are available. All of them are quick. What happened to Ryan Harris a proven customer. Is it that youngsters in Australia ,so tough otherwise, have become so fragile physically. Much as I admire Hilfy for the way he carries himself, quite apart from his bowling skills, and Siddle for his Ox like stamina, you have many who can come through. They should create a decent bench like England has done.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 16, 2012, 2:00 GMT)

To be honest, while being a fan of his, his length in this match, & the series against the Boks has shortened back to the Ashes time with the expected results. If he doesn't revert back to the length he showed last season, the team is better off without him. Channel 9 showed the difference of length between he & Siddle & provided a poor picture.

Posted by featurewriter on (December 16, 2012, 2:00 GMT)

I've never really been a fan of Hilfenhaus. Siddle is a workhorse, so his place is always guaranteed, in my opinion. I would have selected Johnson over Starc in this Test as well. There's plenty of bowling talent in this country right now that's not getting the recognition it deserves: Cutting, McDermott, Butterworth. I rate those three higher than Hilfhenhaus and Starc (and how Hazlewood still gets a look in is beyond me). My Ashes squad of 16, for what it's worth, would look like this: Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon, Starc, Cutting, Butterworth, Paine, Khawaja. That gives them two backup bowlers, a backup all-rounder, a spare bat and a spare keeper.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 16, 2012, 1:51 GMT)

If Australia aren't careful they will have to call Ponting out of retirement for his bowling. They seem to be the worst hit but there is just an epidemic of fast bowler injuries all over. That's bad enough but to lose a bowler mid-game again is another blow. Will Australia choose to enforce the follow-on this time if they get the chance? I wonder whether Siddle will have to miss the next game again. Maybe he should have a word with Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar, who had to carry the India bowling against England a year and a half ago after Zaheer Khan went down on the first morning of a Test.

Posted by Marcio on (December 16, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

Oh well, there goes another test match that was pretty much in the bag. Let's hope we don't lose the series because of it, as with the SA series. At least we have Watson to cover this time. Anyway, Starc, Siddle and Watson will now be rested for the next game, so they will be feeling pretty good about it.

Posted by skkh on (December 16, 2012, 0:58 GMT)

Why have our bowlers turned so fragile of late? Yes fast bowlers do get these strains but the frequency with which our pace bowlers are breaking down is a mystery. We do not hear of such break downs from other cricket playing countries and it is worthwhile that CA looks into this. Including Starc in the playing XI looked to me a little strange. At WACA too he was wayward yet was lucky to bag the six wickets. Whereas Johnson was one bowler who looked menacing all through at WACA and troubled all the batsmen yet he was not selected. Strange selection and they are paying for that here at Hobart where Starc is all over the place and he seems to have taken over the Johnson of yesteryears. Sad.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 16, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Sad to hear this indeed. I thought Aussies once upon a time were the least injury prone. McGrath, Warne, Fleming, Gillespie and Kasprowicz etc hardly got injured. Australia has the best depth in pace bowling among all the test playing nations. I believe Australia will have the best pace bowling attack by 2016 when Hilfenhaus and Siddle would be gone and by then, Cummins, Pattinson, Starc and Hazlewood could well form a combination like what the awesome West Indies had.

Posted by bonobo on (December 16, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

It is interesting, we saw under Clarke and Craih McDermott an attempt to really get their fast bowlers maximising their pace. It was very notable, how Siddle and Hlifenhous in particular came bakc last summer, physcially looking stronger an dbolwing much faster. It was a clear part of Clarkes strategy, even when he had 5 bowlers (with Watson), he was using himself, Hussey, Ponting, Quiney, Warner etc...so he could keep the pace bowlers going at full tilt in short spells. Even if they were taking wickets, he would withdraw them to save energy....But maybe all these injuries are the costs as the Aussie bowlers trying to go at full tilt all the time. I think it is important Lyon can bowl long spells tight spells, but am not sure, Clarke seems that confident in him at this stage...

Posted by The_Cube on (December 16, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

No loss. It will work to the Aussies advantage to have Watson bowling more. If only Siddle could get a long term injury and we could get some quality bowlers in the team.

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Daniel BrettigClose
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.
Tour Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Melbourne - Jan 28, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 2 runs (D/L method)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Jan 26, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Hobart - Jan 23, 2013
Australia won by 32 runs
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Jan 20, 2013
No result
Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Jan 18, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets (with 180 balls remaining)
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days