Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Perth, 5th day December 21, 2008

Ponting ponders Hilfenhaus or Bollinger for Melbourne

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Australia could call up Ben Hilfenhaus for the Melbourne Test © Getty Images
 

Australia's inability to defend 414 in Perth has left Ricky Ponting considering bowling changes for next week's Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Mitchell Johnson collected 11 wickets for the match but Brett Lee, Peter Siddle and Jason Krejza managed only one each and their lack of penetration allowed South Africa to record the second-highest run chase in Test history.

"We have to look at that," Ponting said after the defeat. "We have to think about the style of bowlers we've got in the side at the moment, with the conditions that we're going to be confronted with in Melbourne and Sydney work out if we think they're the best guys to win us the next two games. If they're not then we have to make some changes."

The left-armer Doug Bollinger, who went on this year's tours of West Indies and India, is a chance to be promoted after completing a perfectly-timed six-wicket haul for New South Wales just as Australia lost the Test. Ponting was also keen to chat with the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch about the Tasmanian swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus.

"Maybe a Hilfenhaus or someone like that who can definitely use a new ball," Ponting said. "I think he'll come into calculations. Bollinger will definitely come into calculations because he was so impressive with all the work he did in India and I believe he's got wickets today. We'll talk about all those guys."

Neither Siddle nor Lee produced any swing of note and it left too heavy a burden on the dangerous Johnson. Lee was also down on pace, although he is not in immediate danger and has credits in the bank for his 310 Test wickets, including nine against New Zealand in Adelaide this month.

"He'll be in the squad," Ponting said. "There's no doubt he's under a little bit of pressure at the moment. I think if you asked him he'd probably be a little bit disappointed with only taking one wicket this week as well. I'm sure he'll be in the squad."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo