Hogg is at his best - Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist believes Brad Hogg is bowling better than ever before, giving the selectors something to ponder ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka. Hogg destroyed Victoria and Stuart MacGill had little impact against Queensland in this week's Pura Cup matches as they vie to replace Shane Warne in the national attack.
Gilchrist was wicketkeeping for Western Australia as Hogg earned match figures of 8 for 83 in addition to a blistering 58 not out in a Man-of-the-Match performance at the MCG. "He had a terrific game, terrific tour of India," Gilchrist said.
"He himself says he's bowling as well as he has at any point in his career and I'd probably have to back him up in that regard and say that his consistency is what's coming through. He's in the mix."
Hogg barely bowled a loose ball in his 31 overs in Melbourne while at the SCG, MacGill was one of several bowlers brutalised by Matthew Hayden, finishing with first-innings figures of 3 for 183 from 36 overs. However, Gilchrist said he could not split the pair in predicting Warne's successor and MacGill would benefit from the lengthy spell after his minor knee surgery.
"He's never let Australia down in my memory," Gilchrist said of MacGill. "He can have mixed results in grade cricket, in state cricket, but when he fronts up with the green cap on he's always produced very, very well. He's bowled 30-odd overs. I wouldn't look too much at the figures, you look at the workload with Stu and I'm sure he'll be better for that."
Gilchrist said after a ten-month lay-off from Test cricket and a year dominated by limited-overs formats, it was "brilliant" for Australia's key players to have a Pura Cup hit-out. As well as the Melbourne and Sydney games, Tasmania are hosting South Australia in a four-day match that features Ricky Ponting and Shaun Tait.
"Not every Australian player is going to necessarily be Man of the Match in that state game but definitely we'll benefit from that this week," Gilchrist said. "We saw in the first game of the Twenty20 comp after a four-month lay-off we were a bit rusty and we lost to Zimbabwe. [Now] we've played two months of solid cricket."
Sri Lanka are warming up with a three-day game against a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in Adelaide ahead of the first Test, which starts in Brisbane next Thursday.
Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo