Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne

Starc lifted by 'heart and soul' Siddle

Daniel Brettig

December 21, 2012

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Peter Siddle is congratulated by his team-mates for his five-wicket haul, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 3rd day, December 16, 2012
"Guys like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey bring so much energy and a different feel to the group. I think Sidds is well on the way to being someone like that" © Getty Images
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Peter Siddle is taking on the mantle of leadership and example among Australia's bowlers that - until recently - Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey held for the batsmen.

Mitchell Starc attributed his much improved display on the final day of the Hobart Test against Sri Lanka to being lifted by Siddle's efforts, which matched his Herculean display against South Africa in Adelaide.

A prodigious talent, Starc is pleasing Australia's selectors, coaches and the captain Michael Clarke by gathering in consistency and nous each time he bowls in a Test, and also by staying fit when so many around him are falling prey to injury.

His fiendish burst of reverse swing on an uneven final day surface at Bellerive Oval was arguably Starc's best display to for his country to date, and he put much of it down to watching Siddle give his all in the spell that preceded it.

"Sidds was outstanding again in Hobart and was pretty much the heart and soul of the attack," Starc said. "For me just to follow on from him, I played pretty much a supporting role with Sidds there probably deserving 10 wickets. Not just the bowlers [are lifted by Siddle], the whole team is.

"Having him around the squad he's full of energy and he's always giving 100% whether it be in the nets or in the field and that drags the whole squad along. As he's shown in Adelaide, though unfortunately not getting over the line there, but again in Hobart pretty similar performances where he's given absolutely everything he's had. He's sat down and had nothing left after the game. It was great for him we got that result after what happened in Adelaide.

"When you have guys like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey in the squad they bring so much energy and a different feel to the group. I think Sidds is well on the way to being someone like that, who just lifts everyone up. When he's on bowling you know something most likely is going to happen."

Starc's progress has been helped greatly by his developing durability, which has allowed him to be fit for selection whenever Australia's selectors have come calling over the past 12 months. By avoiding the treatment table, Starc is gathering in knowledge about his bowling, aided by advice from the likes of Wasim Akram, Jason Gillespie and the Australian bowling coaches past and present, Craig McDermott and Ali de Winter.

"That consistency is coming. I've got to find that balance between being over aggressive and containing one end. That will come, I'm still learning, I'm only 22," Starc said. "I'm taking it all in my stride and learning from each game. That's something we did from the game in Perth - I went for a few runs there.

"In Hobart we had 450 runs on the board so you can afford to be a bit aggressive there. As you saw I went for a couple of runs but we got the win in the end so we can take some confidence from that and being able to get that result even with a bowler down as well.

"Injuries are unfortunate, they seem to go hand in hand with fast bowling. I'm looking after myself doing all I can to stay on the park and make sure I'm recovering well and playing well. You can't worry too much about what the other guys are doing. Can't worry too much about what the others are doing but we're all preparing the way we can and stay on the park."

Despite his strong last-day form in Hobart, Starc may yet find himself carrying the drinks on Boxing Day in order to ensure he maintains his run of games without injury, the better to be fit for his home Test at the SCG from January 3. Mitchell Johnson and Jackson Bird are both a chance of being called into the Test side for the final match of 2012. However Starc is eager to bowl at the MCG, having also run the drinks in the corresponding match last year.

"It's always a big occasion the Boxing Day Test. If I get the nod to play for Australia again it's going to be a nice one to run out in front of a big crowd," Starc said. "Hopefully I can contribute again if I get the chance in Melbourne."

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

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Posted by vaibhavsharma100 on (December 24, 2012, 19:06 GMT)

@Pras_punter... And yeah the great team of yours has lost how mny ashes in last 5 yrs or so...how did it happen that the so called walkers and the players with the so called sportsman spirit claimed the catches which were not...and the excuse given was that they were not sure...why is it that all the conquering team of yours was hated somuch and why steve waugh had to come out with the spirit and the code your team followed amidst so much criticism of it......

Your team won the matches coz at that point of time you did have some amazing players but why has that cockiness disappeared..The point I am trying tomake is that time does not remain same...have some modesty and let me know if I need to refresh your memory of some other exploits of your team on the field other than the ricket?

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (December 23, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

India will bounce back and become a good team again.Best of luck India.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 23, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

Aus fans trying their best to justify whatever happened in Sydney, we complain? yes we do, why do we complain? Because we were in a postion to win that test, but instead it got completely reversed and resulted in a loss, if you remember right, even the third umpire made a wrong call after seeing the replays, and how about claiming bump catches? Fair play uh?

Posted by Dashgar on (December 22, 2012, 23:00 GMT)

Well Nabarvi at least now we can rest easy in the knowledge that a test like the Sydney one will never happen again. And I'm sure it's the only test in history that has had poor umpiring in it. At least India were able to return to Australia last year when the Aussies were at a low point and get some revenge with the DRS to help them out.

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 22, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

I have to say I am impressed by how much he has developed.during the last ashes he looked totally useless and he has come back very well. Being vegetarian has obviously done something for him. How come it does not work on Indian bowlers?

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 22, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

@OzWally. , spot-on Sir. That's pretty much my thought on what had happened in Sydney 2008. Surprisingly, indians are the ones who complain ( as usual as always ) about bad-umpiring. Here is a solution that has certainly improved decision-making - that is there for all to see - and again, indians are the ones who complain about that as well. Ah - i figured this out - they always need something to complain about !! Great stuff from them isn't it ?

Posted by OzWally on (December 22, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

@Pras-Punter - good reply, I was still trying to translate. And isn't it funny that it takes just 1 home series win against Australia to equal the achievements of one of the best teams ever.

And @Narbavi - what I remember about Sydney was an incredibly close finish with a few decisions that could have gone either way made by NEUTRAL umpires, then afterwards the Indian team threatening to pack up and go home (like spoilt little kids). Finally, you do remember why we have neutral umpires don't you? And if that is true about DRS, why is India the sole hold out?

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 22, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

@ vaibhavsharma100 , yes the miserable team beat SL 1-0 away, drew 1-1 with SA away, hammered your so-called greatest team on the planet 4-0 and beat WI 2-0 away ( Yes the same WI team against whom your "greatest" team couldn't chase down 85 runs in 15 overs with 7 wickets in hand ) in the last couple of years. And what have your team done in about the same time ? Got thrashed 0-8 away and 1-2 at home as well. And surprising to see the talk about sportsmanship coming from a supporter of a team that hardly respects the umpires, assume themselves as above the game.. and what not ? Enough said ?

Posted by Narbavi on (December 22, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

@Chris_P: You won the sydney test fair? Do u even know that the sydney test was the prime reason behind the introduction of the DRS?

Posted by   on (December 22, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

The Australian cricket watching public has every right to expect that the national team is comprised of our best available players. Currently our best two bowlers, and by a huge margin, are Siddle and Starc. For CA to 'rotate' Starc out of the Boxing Day Test is a betrayal of supporters at a time when cricket attendances in this country appear to be on the slide. It's the same wooly-headed thinking that sees CA handle confidence players by kicking the confidence out of them (Phil Hughes in England). Starc must be extremely pissed off at the prospect of missing Boxing Day, which is always the biggest Test of the year for our cricketers. If CA is so worried about Starc's workload then cut down on his work off the field. I often think that modern sportspersons overtrain anyway, and cricket is a glaring example of training regimens put in place simply to justify the pay packets of the myriads of coaches and trainers.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 22, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

@OzWally: I agree, batting has been strength and the mighty line up collapsed, and the team looked lost in the field during those tests in aus and eng, we deserved to lose and no one's denying that now!!

Posted by   on (December 22, 2012, 1:40 GMT)

How did an article about Siddle turn into a "where better then you are battle between Sri Lanka and India"............... How does the result of a Test Series from 10 years ago have anything to do with who Siddle is bowling at the moment.

I wonder if I went over and looked at the comments about the England V India series If I would find comments by Aussies about how much better they are then New Zealand?

Posted by Hammond on (December 22, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

OzWally- I agree with you on the Anderson front, I've never made the claim that he was much chop, but a rarity these days with his ability to swing the ball. That said, his record in the last 5 years is better than any current Aussie pace bowler. Just face the facts, Australia is about to be hammered twice by a far better team. Get ready.

Posted by Dashgar on (December 21, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

@Punjabi Munda, is that the same tactic that worked so well against the English? Siddles rejuvenation has made this team ten times better. Loving watching every spell he bowls. For next test I hope it's either Starc or Johnson left out. Both capable of fiery spells but also struggle to maintain pressure when the game slows down. Give Bird a chance, he could be the Aus answer to Philander.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 22:48 GMT)

Siddle is an inspiration in the current side. Blooding youngsters at this time also seems to be the right way to go about it. Starc has really come leaps and bounds. What I really fear for the not so earmarked for the future Australian cricketers is that getting dropped after one or two chances might really affect them. A bowler of Stuart Clark was a casualty of the 2009 Ashes. Trent Copeland was a victim of some emerging future candidates and I feel the same might happen with Jackson Bird. The main concentration must be a balance of attack so that the entire workload is not on Siddle at the end and he gets the opportunity to do what he does best that is ATTACK. A steady Bird with attacking Starc and can allow Siddle to play both roles and be the best bowler he can be and as we have seen, that role will win Australia more matches.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 22:40 GMT)

well said Starc, Sidds is sure a great bowler. Just too much for Sri Lanka, even without Hilfenhaus and the others!

Posted by samincolumbia on (December 21, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

@ColomboSL - BCCI will arrange a quick tour of SL and after yet another thrashing by India, BCCI will claim that the losses to England/Australia was an aberration and all is well now.

Posted by vaibhavsharma100 on (December 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

@Ozwally Indians dint give their best coz they tht dat they wd reap out d best by giving der best in 20s. I dunt justify that . but they ve just lost one home series against english side n u ve lost ashes and a home series against sa side as well...first look at urself and then comment abt others eben wen u were no1 side u cudnt beat indians under waugh...i dint brag abt team india but was shocked dat an aussie wid such a miserable state of an aussie's team cud brag somethg abt it....no wonder aussies were never kknown for sportsman spirits

Posted by landl47 on (December 21, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

I find this article a bit puzzling. As anyone who has read my comments will know, I've been saying for a long time that I really rate Starc. I think he's a great talent, tall, quick and extremely awkward to face. The one thing he hasn't shown so far is consistency, so I'm not sure how the author thinks it is that quality which is pleasing the coaches, selectors and captain. He was flogged by the saffers and again by the Sri Lankans, but showed real class in coming back to take a 6fer and 5fer later in those games. As he says, he's only 22 and inexperienced, but man is he talented. Once he does develop consistency he'll be a great bowler.

Siddle seems to have lifted his game to another level. He always had the heart, but now he's added a bit more fire and become a more dangerous bowler. I'm looking forward to seeing the Australian bowlers in England next year- it should be a great contest.

Posted by BlueyCollar on (December 21, 2012, 19:23 GMT)

I reckon fast bowlers get injured so often these days for 2 reasons. As kids, they don't spend half as much time playing sport as previous generations did. Gone are the days that in every suburban street do you see a bunch of kids involved in a scratch match. The bowling action does become "natural" if you do it 100,000 times from the age of 6. Additionally I think bowling coaches try to change actions too much which puts pressure on different muscles or different parts of a muscle that have not developed through that 100,000 deliveries. I remember, at the age of 20, a coach instructed me to bowl either side on or front on not the imbetween that had been doing all my life. The first delivery I tore my bicep and it has never been the same since. So my advise to kids is to bowl often and fast and for coaches to concentrate on everything but the delivery action.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

When will I get to see this attitude in Indian cricketers. Nothng motivates them to excel. India has produced some of the most talented bunch of cricketers in the last 25 yrs, that the world has seen. They are just not inherently motivated enough to achieve greatnesses they are capable of. They achieve great things in spurts. But rulling world cricket needs consistency, and motiviation. There performance in the last two years shows a lack of motivation

Posted by OzWally on (December 21, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

@Hammond - Oh, one more thing. Siddle 135 wickets @ 28.67 SR of 57.1 Anderson 288 wickets @ 30.39 SR of 58.8 But at least Anderson was born in England, that's a step up for you guys that you can actually have someone home grown make the team.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 21, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Siddle is an honest trier but eventually I think will be carrying drinks if aus can get Cummins, Pattinson and Starc fit at the same time.

Posted by grizzle on (December 21, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Ozwally: Spot on regarding this Indian team. They have lost the spine they once had and having never had anything but the most meagre bowling talent, they are now being shown up for the average team that they are. Back to the SL-Aus series, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the Lankans competed. A cracking test match, I thought. Looking forward to Boxing Day.

Posted by nilb on (December 21, 2012, 16:41 GMT)

@Narabavi Why did you conviniently forgot 4-0 shameless defeats in three days in back to back test in more recent times? Even zimbabwe and bangladesh are better than 8-0 in two test series friend. Take your comments elsewhere because this is a page where serious test playing cricketing nations play.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 21, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

Only injuries can prevent Oz being very competitive in the next Ashes, @Hammond on (December 21 2012, 11:19 AM GMT). If England lose KP and Swann, Oz will likely be able to win (after all it was McGrath's absence at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge in 2005 that gifted you that Ashes as much as it was Flintoff's X-factor). Harris, Pattinson and Starc will be a match for Anderson, Finn and Broad. This is not to say Siddle won't play a big role, but mixing and matching different kinds of quicks is the way to go (judging from the Saffers' example). I'd pick one spinner short and add Holland to the squad as soon as he proves his match fitness playing for the A team which will be shadowing the Ashes squad.

Posted by OzWally on (December 21, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

@Hammond - that's funny, I've heard James Anderson being called the "heart & soul" of England's attack for years by the commentators. But don't get me wrong, I think he bowled unbelievably well in India and deserves that moniker. Nothing "bog average" about either bowler in my mind.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

Im not sure Aus will need better than that to beat England Hammond. Englands bowling depth is looking thinner and thinner while Australias is getting better and better. Siddle is a workman for sure -that doesnt make him 'Bog average' as you so insultingly put it. From a Saffas point of view, im looking forward to seeing 'England' run scared in their own backyard. Again.

Posted by OzWally on (December 21, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

@Narbavi - you just described the difference between Australians and Indians perfectly. Australians fight like hell and give their all to win every day, Indians give it a half-hearted effort and if it isn't happening for them today, oh well, there'll be another day. It's further highlighted in your fielding, running between the wickets, etc. That's how you get 0-8 in 2 successive tours and total denial that anything is wrong. It's why we stayed #1 for close to a decade and only slipped when 9 of the 11 retired, and why you stayed at #1 for about 25 minutes.

Posted by vaibhavsharma100 on (December 21, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

@Chris_P you will do well to remember how did you win that Sydney test and all the drama which followed it. " Only one team played in true spirits."

I hate to agree with you though that India's transition phase is worse than Australia"s.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 21, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

@Narbavi. What happened in Sydney? We won that, & did it fairly easy. Not as easy as the 4 tests llast season. India's trasnstion plan has been woeful with rankings due to pluumet before it turns around.

Posted by vaibhavsharma100 on (December 21, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

@colombo_SL.... INdia is in pathetic state by their own standards....reason may be attributed to nethg...transition, lack of skills, lack of motivation but stay assured of one thing....India will win agasint Sri Lanka anywhere even today hands down...

@all apologies for commenting out of context but just couild not prevent myself when I read that comment.

Needless to say to all of us are happy to see the exciting talents( esp pace bowlers) in current australian team. For the benefit of world cricket ,I just hope that austrailian team completes its transition and comes back to its winning ways of old days.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 21, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

@Meety, nice to see the NSP thinking that way - yes fair thought that. I would like to see Bird in action, just to make sure we audition another of our fast bowlers at the international arena and take stock of our resources ahead of the Ashes. If the series is won at the G, Starc shall be rested for the SCG with Bird coming in. Anyway, just my thought.

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 21, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

he certainly has become an inspiration. almost single handely bowling australia to victory against the cricket boks to the point of complete and utter exhaustion and for a player who would be the fittest cricketer in the world that is quite something then backing it up and inspiring a win this time again with a bowler down. that sort of thing cant be measured. what a man and what a man to have leading the young crop of stars

Posted by Hammond on (December 21, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

"heart and soul" is just another euphemism for "bog average". No-one ever said that Lindwall or McGrath had a "big heart". Siddle is a honest trier and Australia will need better than that to beat England.

Posted by colombo_SL on (December 21, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

@Narbavi; Your team was no.1 in test rankings in a certain period of time. To maintain the consistency in the no.1 spot is the most difficult task. It requires, highly talented & energetic bowlers. That is the area India has to improve to be consistent. Anyway India is a good team & this cricket world is very beautiful due to Indian teams & their fans.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 21, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

@colombo_SL: Ofcourse we had a horrendous tour last year, no one denies that, my comments are not directed to people like you who make fair assessments, its more towards other people who make fun of us all the time either we win or lose

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 21, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

I agree with Jono Makim re. Sidds opening the bowling. He is the only one who can consistently pitch it up yet not get hit around too much. He nearly always get a bit of movement be it in or away off the seam or through the air. He's bowling new ball stuff for sure. .. Hilfy wasn't swinging it much this year (had that side strain all summer I'd say) so why not give Pete a crack. I don't think he'll waste the new cherry. ... I don't think Starc should be rotated out either. .. he's just started to show some form for god's sake. I can understand why they are scared of breaking him but who's to say that he's not one of those bowlers that need to keep bowling to stay fit.

Posted by Meety on (December 21, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

@colombo_SL on (December 21 2012, 09:32 AM GMT) - well said. I feel sorry for Narvabi, he is obviously an unhappy little man. I wonder if he watched the Eng v India Test series???

Posted by colombo_SL on (December 21, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

@Narbavi; Even in our transition period, we haven't got 0-8 result. But with your all greats were in the team, your performance are admirable.

Posted by colombo_SL on (December 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

@Narbavi; All your records are more than 5 years away in the past. It tells about your team's current performance. Come on mate, live in the present & enjoy the life.

Posted by colombo_SL on (December 21, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

@Narbavi; We can understand your situation. Just enjoying the past. Do it untill you will find a bright present.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Big Sidds has certainly stepped it up several notches, great to see he hasn't forgotten the lessons learnt from Australia's previous bowling coach. I'd actually like to see him taking the new ball now. He bowls the best length for it, gets that late movement and makes the batsmen play and he always has his intensity ratcheted up to maximum.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

@Pras_Punter, i'm with you on this one, I don't really see the need to leave Starc out of this match. I'd much rather see Australia go in with its best attack here and make sure of the series win. Particularly with Watto back in the team it eases the burden on the core seam attack.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

hope this weak lankan side put some fight, indians will extract revenge to aussies by preparing flat tracks in india, hope india wins 4-0

Posted by Meety on (December 21, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

@HatsforBats on (December 21 2012, 05:27 AM GMT) - good call, particularly re: Aamir. Great shame that. @Pras_Punter on (December 21 2012, 06:16 AM GMT) - I think it is not so much about the recovery time. In theory you are right, the problem is, with the spate of injuries mainly affecting younger bowlers, the NSP/Howard talked about having 2 seasoned veterans & one youngster per Test, with the younger bowler being rotated. The injury to Hilfy - almost certainly means MJ gets a cap. Should MJ play, I would say that Starc will be rested for Bird (given Starc has played 2 tests in a row). @Narbavi on (December 21 2012, 06:40 AM GMT) - you are right- IF, you are talking about India.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 21, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

@nilb: Really funny how you guys despite not winning a single test in australia come and talk trash about a team which dominated the 1-1 series in 2003-04 and again dominated the series which they lost 1-2 in 2007-08, everyone knows what happened in the sydney test that year, infact we have won a test in perth, that tells u something about aussie conditions doesn't it?

Posted by nilb on (December 21, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

@Narbavi Sri Lanka played way better than Indian batsmen can ever dream of playing in Aussie conditions and gave a good fight.. Yeah, Aussie bowlers needed their heart and soul to bowl them out You obviously haven't seen the match & the deliveries that got SL batsmen out on the last day.

Posted by HowdyRowdy on (December 21, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Peter Siddle's current leadership role is the culmination of working tremendously hard to comeback from a whole range of injuries, improve his fitness and strength, and to improve his bowling methods so that he constantly threatens Test class batsmen. Well done Sidds.

It must be a real plus for the young quicks to have a senior player to inspire and encourage them.

Starc is improving nicely. Assuming that Pattinson, Cummins, etc can come back in a realistic timeframe, Australia's pace attack should develop nicely.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 21, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Sorry but i don't think you need to bowl your heart out to dismiss this lankan team twice, you can keep things simple!! Reserve your best for the future!!

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 21, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

"Despite his strong last-day form in Hobart, Starc may yet find himself carrying the drinks on Boxing Day in order to ensure he maintains his run of games without injury, the better to be fit for his home Test at the SCG" - what sort of management is this ? There is a gap of almost 8 days between tests 1 and 2 - long enough to rest and recover. A must-win test and Starc is among his wickets. His inclusion in the team has to be a no-brainer. Set aside the so-called workload,injury and all sorts of management for now. Bird for Hilfy should be the only change ( assuming Pup recovers ).

Posted by AnujitKM on (December 21, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

Peter Siddle deserves all the credit, no doubt. It is also a good idea to give credit to the management of Australian cricket. This management is providing the right processes, methods and tools to the players. They have provided good governance. They have ensured too much T20 cricket does not pose problem for players like Siddle. The coaches and selectors have been frank and honest with Siddle when he did not do very well. That honesty only helps the professional performers like Siddle. So, Kudos not only to Siddle, but to Cricket Australia as well.

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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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