Injured Siddle confident of playing in Perth
Peter Siddle is hopeful he will be fit to take his place for the third Test in Perth after struggling with a strained left hamstring during the draw with West Indies in Adelaide. Siddle was named in an unchanged 12-man squad for the WACA Test, which starts on Wednesday, despite sending down only eight overs in the second innings in Adelaide.
Before he ran in for his first ball in the second innings, Siddle tentatively rubbed the problem area and he was clearly hampered in the field throughout the 99.5 overs that West Indies batted. Siddle will spend the next two days at home in Melbourne, working on the injury with the team physio Alex Kountouris before flying to Perth on Saturday.
"I think I'm a good chance," Siddle said. "I'll do everything over the next few days with Alex here in Victoria and then when we head over to Perth do everything I can to make sure I'm in that eleven. I'll just rest up. It's handy having the physio in your home state. We live close by so I'll spend a lot of time with him over the next few days and doing everything I can to get it all right."
The hamstring troubled Siddle in the first innings at Adelaide Oval, where he toiled for 25 overs as West Indies built up a hefty total across one and a half days. He said doing only a small amount of bowling in the second innings and then having a couple of days of rest had helped, and was feeling good six days out from the WACA Test.
"It's just something that's been there for a little bit, probably the last week, and just got a bit worse in that first innings," Siddle said. "We obviously had a lot of overs to bowl there and it just crept up on me. It's eased up in the last few days and it's starting to feel a bit better and there's a lot more movement."
Should Siddle fail to prove his fitness, it will mean a Test debut for his Victoria team-mate Clint McKay, who was the 12th man in Adelaide. McKay was retained in the squad for Perth and Siddle said there had been some good-natured banter between the pair of them over who would take the field at the WACA.
"We spend a lot of time together, we're close mates," Siddle said. "We went out for lunch yesterday and over lunch he was always querying me ... 'You right? How's it all going? You gonna be right to play?' Obviously I want to be right and I think I am going to be right so it's disappointing for him but … no doubt he'll get his chance."
If McKay plays instead of Siddle it will be one of the least experience pace attacks Australia has fielded in recent times, with Doug Bollinger set to play in his third match. The West Indies coach David Williams has said his men felt Australia's still-learning attack "could be taken apart", but Siddle wasn't concerned about the bowlers' lack of experience.
"That's what every team has said about is in the last year - South Africa, England ... it's just something you've got to come to grips with," he said. "We're all developing as players and I think their attack [West Indies] has probably got less experience than us.
"If you had that superstar there, a Glenn McGrath, you can just get on the back of his coat-tail and be dragged along with him. It's just made us all work that little bit harder and as you've seen, Mitchell Johnson, the rise he's had in the short time just by being the leader and being the one out there doing the job. He's turned into a great player and he's bowling well."
Johnson will be a man to watch in Perth, where last year he produced a brutal display to take 8 for 61 against South Africa. Whether he has Siddle as his second-in-command this year, only time will tell.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo