Perseverance in Siddle pays off
It is no coincidence that Australia's Ashes resurgence has coincided with that of Peter Siddle. Thirteen wickets at 17.15 at Edgbaston, Headingley and The Oval have taken the Victorian pace man from a precarious position within the Australian attack to the leading wicket-taker in the series (20).
After Lord's, Siddle's place in the Australian line-up was a major discussion point, with many calling for the dependable Stuart Clark to take his place. Ricky Ponting and Tim Nielsen, however, argued otherwise, and their faith has been rewarded with a series of aggressive, relentless performances for which Siddle is fast growing a reputation.
His four wickets on Thursday owed much to persistence, and a little to fortune. Alastair Cook again proved susceptible to the ball angled across his body, pushing meekly at a delivery he might well have left, while Paul Collingwood chased a wider ball he will surely regret. Siddle's dismissals of Ian Bell and Graeme Swann were more authoritative affairs, however, and set Australia on course for a late day revival.
"I'm just happy to be able to go out there with how I started series, I was a little disappointed personally," Siddle said. "To now be back on track... and getting a bit of success [is satisfying]. I don't think I had to change natural aggression. I'm feeling comfortable now and more at ease in an Ashes series."
Siddle sent a scare through the Australian camp in the first session when he fell heavily in the field. He spent several minutes flexing his left knee, but bowled relatively unhindered for the remainder of the day.
"I don't know about the box seat, but pretty we're in good position, having been asked to bowl first and go out there on a decent wicket," he said. "To get eight wickets and they're 300, it's a pretty even day.
"It started off well with the new ball, carried through and plenty of pace. It soon flattened out and as the ball got older, it became deader and you had to work a bit harder. I don't know about them capitulating. They worked hard and after lunch we tried to be patient and we won every hour after lunch."
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo