Australia in India 2012-13 March 9, 2013

Siddle enjoying his toil in India


Fast bowlers who tour India could be forgiven for uttering the occasional f-word. Futile. Fruitless. Frustrating. Not many would call the job fun. Peter Siddle does. On a chronically unhelpful Chennai pitch, Siddle managed only the wicket of India's No.10 batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar. In Hyderabad he had the struggling Virender Sehwag caught behind. Two wickets at the average of 81.00. Fun? Yeah, like a dentist's appointment.

But Siddle is always up for a challenge. He thrives on it. Naturally, things don't always work out, like when he bowled himself to near delirium on the final afternoon in Adelaide in November searching for the last few wickets Australia needed for victory against South Africa. In India, things haven't worked out either. Two losses and his series figures so far attest to that. But in the lead-up to the third Test in Mohali, where Siddle made his debut in 2008, he remained upbeat.

"I don't think you go out there thinking 'it's going to be a long day' or 'it's going to be hot out there, it's going to be hard work'," Siddle said of bowling in India. "It's going to be a challenge and that's what's fun about it. It's always hard work but you know it's going to be tough and you know you have to try different tricks to get the results over here and I think that's the challenge.

"It's probably a bit more mental over here. You have to do a bit more thinking about where you want to set fields and work with the captain on where you want to place fields, the areas you want to bowl to certain batsmen. It does take a little bit more thinking to go about it. It's good, it's fun, it's enjoyable. It is hard work but that's India."

James Pattinson found a way to have an impact during the first match in Chennai and collected six wickets, using his pace to great effect in short, sharp spells. Others over the years have managed to have success in India as well, notably Jason Gillespie, who collected 33 wickets at 21.72 there, and Glenn McGrath, who took 33 wickets at 21.30.

Like Siddle has in the past two Tests, they often toiled without the regular line-up of slips, instead working on forcing the batsmen into other false strokes. It is a strange feeling for a fast man to run in with no cordon during a Test match, but Siddle said apart from the occasional period when swing is available, as it was on the second morning in Hyderabad, edges were not the order of the day.

"You do miss that a little bit but you've got to play the conditions," Siddle said. "I think the past success, you look back to '04 and that's the way they went about it. They didn't go out there and try to nick off the top order, they knew they had to work hard and try to restrict boundaries and build pressure. That's the plan they went with.

"Any batter feels comfortable when they know they're scoring runs, or they know they can sit back and wait for that one loose ball an over that we're going to give them. We've just got to restrict that. We've got to make sure that one loose ball is every four or five overs, not every over. We know there's a lot of work to be done. But it does come down to the basics."

Australia will enter the Mohali Test down 2-0 but they can still retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy if they win the next two matches to create a 2-2 result. Siddle said such an outcome would be a remarkable effort given Australia's struggles in Chennai and Hyderabad.

"It would be a massive achievement," Siddle said. "We've let ourselves down in the first two matches. If we could get back to a level series and finish off like that I think it would be a great place to be after where we are at the moment. We'll be working hard to do whatever we can. If we level the series, we retain the trophy, and that's what it's all about. The boys are ready to fight for that and hopefully starting Mohali we can start on a good note and put the pressure on them straight away and go from there."

Now that would be fun.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simon on March 10, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    Siddle is a great No 4 fast bowler, occasionly No 3. If he's your number one man the team is going nowhere. He doesn't challenge good batsmen. Like Geoff Lawson a while back he fills a gap well but doesn't win you anything.

  • Mashuq on March 9, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    @azzaman333, Harris doesn't want to play short form yet. If you look at SA, the key to their success is the differences among their quality quicks. Likewise a skidder (Harris) a bouncer (Pattinson) and a left armer (Starc) would be more effective than 3 quicks who bowled similarly. By rotating him with Siddle Harris could play 3 tests. Likewise with others who may be susceptible to breaking down. Just ensure quality AND variety!

  • Rahul on March 9, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    I don't know y people always talk abt ponting. Batting at number 3 when u have Hayden langer as opener gilcrist at number 7 is always easy. I am not mentioning other greats in the team. He struggled when greats retire. Clark is far better batsman than ponting. I would rate players like dravid ahead of him any day who bats when team is 10-1 with mediore bowlers in the team. Ponting was good batsman no doubt but not in the league of tendulkar or lara.

  • Sunil on March 9, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Australians have chance to square the series and retain Border Gavasker trophy. Indian test team is vulnerable to consistent pace attack on Off and middle stump at wicket height and that is the place to bowl as Tendulkar, Kohali, Vijay, Dhoni are susceptible to that line by spear head Starc , Pattinson & Johnson. Aussie go for kill. Indian team is not as strong as it is looking they are certainly playing out of their skin. Who can believe that Dhoni can make his first double century just a fluke. Common Aussies.

  • Aaron on March 9, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter; Unless you're playing at WACA, Johnson does not get picked. Batsmen around the world have worked out that he does nothing with the ball in the air or off the pitch, it's only the angle they have to contend with. Without the Fremantle Doctor, he's toothless.

    @Beertjie; Harris can not be consistently relied upon to get through a test match, and so he shouldn't be picked. End of story. As good as he is, his body has been proven to be unable to handle the rigours of test cricket. Pick him in short form cricket, but not in tests.

  • Mashuq on March 9, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Great attitude as always Sidds but where was the reverse swing? Sorry mate Harris to take your place in England although he won't last 5 tests so be better prepared to fill in then. Here in India agree with you @bumble23 on (March 9, 2013, 10:37 GMT) about Starc. Johnson and Pattinson together with Lyon would provide the plan with the latter bowling into the rough if Starc bowls over the wicket. I wish Bird were here but I fear he won't make the Ashes and I hope they don't take Cummins. He needs the A tour to get some experience before getting a show end of the year.

  • Alex on March 9, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    At least Siddle has a wicket in the series, Bresnan and Broad played 4 tests between them and picked up 0 wickets. You have to remember that all this England have two quality spinners talk is a little out of context, Swann and Panesar did great IN INDIA.

    Panesar's style of bowling is less suited to pitches outside the sub-continent, as seen in NZ he is bowling 95kph every ball. And finally spin won't be much of an issue in England, many people thought England had the edge over South Africa last year because of Swann. However Swann was dropped and Tahir outbowled him, and Lyon is a far better bowler than Tahir.

  • Adrian on March 9, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Siddle is having fun because there is no way in hell that he should be in the side ahead of Mitchell Johnson, who, unlike Siddle, has a great record in India...

  • hemanth on March 9, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    As we all know siddle is a lion-hearted bowler, who gives 200% on the field. Unfortunately in the last two test matches he has bowled within himself and it showed in his wicket column. Although mitchell starc bowled far better than siddle he had to sit out in hyderabad. Hopefully the aussie selectors recognize this and pick starc again for the third test. England were brave enough to drop stuart broad for the third test after two mediocre bowling performances. Hopefully the aussie selectors get it right this time and choose horses for courses and not pick siddle based on previous performances.

  • hari on March 9, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    Siddle is no doubt a trier. However, in India he has failed to cut the run flow. Before the start of the India-England series, I remember the Aussies telling England how to win in India. The main point raised was to stop free flow of runs on the flat tracks. Aussies themselves have failed to do so and are paying a heavy price for it. They are setting defensive fields from the first over itself yet it is not working. I think they should go back to their attacking approach atleast when the new ball is on. They will definitely add one seamer to the attack in Mohali but should support him with attacking fields. Siddle did toil very hard but could not even remove the tail. India's tail is not very long and the 2 to 3 batsmen should not pose big problems for Siddle & co. If Pattinson had not got the early wkts Aussies would have struggled even more with Sehwag firing. Lucky for them he is in poor form and Gambhir is absent. Aussies have their best chance in Mohali with 2 new faces to open.

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