The Ashes 2005 August 16, 2005

Poor form puts Gillespie's place under review

Cricinfo staff

Jason Gillespie spent most of his time on the boundary line at Old Trafford © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, has said that Jason Gillespie's place in the team will be closely scrutinised before the fourth Test against England gets underway at Trent Bridge on August 25. Gillespie has been in poor bowling form since the tour of England started in June.

Ponting, whose vital 156 was instrumental in securing a draw at Old Trafford, said that Gillespie's performance during the match did not live up to expectations. "He only bowled four overs in the second innings of the game and it was a pretty crucial time for us," said Ponting according to an ABC Sport report. "We needed guys to be able to bowl, and bowl well for us there, to slow the scoring down. Unfortunately Jason couldn't do that in the second innings, but that's one of the things that we've got to look at."

Trevor Hohns, the chariman of selectors, said Gillespie's bad run was a mystery since he had ample oppurtunity to find his form. "He's obviously not doing what he'd like to be doing," Hohns said in The Australian. "Why? Who knows? He's played nearly every game on tour including the one-dayers. Everyone was hoping his form would return but unfortunately it doesn't look as though it has done."

The problem caused by Gillespie's poor bowling is magnified because Australia play just four specialist bowlers. He had match figures of 1 for 137 off 23 overs at Old Trafford. He struggled in the first two Tests at Lord's and Edgbaston and in this series has bowled 67 overs, conceded 300 runs and taken just three wickets at an average of 100.

The poor form of the Australian top order is another cause for concern. "We haven't made many runs either," Ponting said. "We've had a chance to bat on a couple of very good wickets and have just managed to get to 300 twice. The reason we did that here [Old Trafford] was because of our tailenders in the first innings. So we've got to start scoring some more runs and that'll take some pressure off some of our bowlers."