India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 2nd day

Pattinson delivers in short bursts

To see him taken off after three-over spells was frustrating, but Pattinson, more than any other of Australia's current Test fast bowlers, needs to be managed conservatively

Brydon Coverdale

February 23, 2013

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

James Pattinson's workload on the second day in Chennai was a microcosm of his Test career. A short period of brilliance, then a long time out of action. Another brief and eventful display followed by another lengthy break. To see him rattle the stumps of both of India's openers in a new-ball spell of 18 deliveries and then be taken off for 20 overs was frustrating but Pattinson, more than any other of Australia's current Test fast bowlers, needs to be managed conservatively.

Dennis Lillee thinks Pattinson can be the spearhead for years to come. He possesses serious pace, swing and Lillee-like raw aggression. He is the most exciting of Australia's young fast men. Besides the nearly-forgotten Pat Cummins, he is also the most injury-prone. Since his debut in December 2011, Pattinson has played eight Tests and missed eight more through injury. It is not an encouraging ratio.

A foot stress fracture prematurely ended his first Test summer and Australia's selectors were left regretting their decision to ignore the advice of sports scientists, who correctly predicted he would break down during the Sydney Test against India. A back problem affected his trip to the West Indies last April, an abdominal strain prevented him touring England with Australia A in July and a side injury stopped him mid-Test against South Africa in Adelaide in November.

During Pattinson's Sheffield Shield comeback a month ago, Victoria's captain Cameron White was told by Cricket Australia not to bowl him for any more than 12 overs per innings as his workload was gradually increased. There were no such constraints on Pattinson in Chennai, but under the circumstances it was easy to see why Michael Clarke handled him as gently as he would a priceless and fragile possession. Because that's what he is.

Twice in his first three Tests he was Man of the Match. The only time he has gone wicketless in an innings was when he broke down after 9.1 overs in Adelaide. His average of 20.88 since his Test debut is better than Dale Steyn's during the same period. Steyn is precisely the type of bowler Australia hope Pattinson can become. He has the tools. But at 22, his body hasn't reached the point of maturity at which fast-bowling injuries usually drop away.

And so for the time being, Pattinson will be used in short, strong spells. By picking five bowlers Australia afforded themselves that luxury in Chennai, although they didn't anticipate that he would be the only wicket taker. His first spell of three overs was sharp. The ball that swung in and bowled M Vijay was 150kph, far quicker than anything the Indian bowlers could deliver. And by going for his yorkers he took the slow pitch out of the equation.

Pattinson's speed was also too much for Virender Sehwag, who played on. But his dismissal was followed by three boundaries from Sachin Tendulkar and Clarke, sensing that Pattinson's new-ball work had been done, put his strike bowler on hold for the next 20 overs. On a Chennai day that was hot but not oppressive, perhaps Pattinson could have come back sooner, especially given the way Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara became set.

But the long rest meant that when Pattinson did return he was as fresh as he had been at ball one. Again he bowled quick and although it was an offcutter that bowled Pujara, it still reached 140kph. His first spell was 3-1-16-2. His second was 3-1-9-1. He will certainly be well rested for day three. Pattinson was to come back for another spell before stumps, but Clarke was happy with the way Mitchell Starc was bowling.

Of course, there is a fine line between managing Pattinson for maximum impact and simply under-bowling him. At some point during the tour, perhaps at some stage during this match, Australia will need more from Pattinson. But if fit he will be Clarke's most valuable bowling resource during the Ashes, just as he already is on this tour. If fit. Australia can't afford for their best bowler to keep missing a Test for every one that he plays.

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

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Posted by zenboomerang on (February 26, 2013, 3:41 GMT)

This article is now defunct... Pattinson was the most used fast bowler - makes a mockery of Clarkes tactics when saving the Ind batters from our most potent bowler...

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 24, 2013, 4:55 GMT)

@Harry Hussain, I think Eng's winless A Tour casts a lot of doubt over the real degree of Eng depth and that it's highly unlikely we'll see tandem spin in Eng, thus negating that avenue of advantage. Lyon will improve over this tour and so will the Aussies technique against spin, Eng certainly came good after a very poor year against spin. No sizeable advantage either way, this will be a great Ashes contest.

Posted by jasonmad on (February 24, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

Great captaincy from Clarke. Hold back Patto for short bursts at the middle and lower orders, with a license to go flat-out at 150km/h.

It would be tempting to over-bowl him in search of Tendulkar's wicket, only to watch his pace drop and risk losing him for the series to injury.

Nerves of steel, Mr Clarke!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

@ front foot lunge....I don't know that you understand the meaning of a "whitewash"....A whitewash is when one team wins every game in a series.. Do you remember the 2006-7 series in Australia....5-0.. That my friend is a whitewash. Do they call your team England, or are they still known as "rest of the world" outside of England.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 24, 2013, 2:14 GMT)

I'd agree Clarke under bowled Patto by a spell but support his tactic of holding back until there's evidence of movement through the air. What I thought went wrong for Aust was the tactics/execution of Sids, Starc & Lyon, regularly too much width or drifting onto the pads in all 3 cases. It's a very fine line and I thought Moises was finding it pretty consistently, would like to see him partner Patto for a stint today.

Posted by whydidistart on (February 24, 2013, 1:20 GMT)

I take on board your very valued comments Harry Hussain however i do not agree entirely, however on the spin front i do concur. finn is in the form of his life, and has bowled some unplayable balls and is arguably as good as any fast bowler in the world atm. I do believe however that Aus pace bowling attack very close to Englands atm and in 1-2 years will be slightly stronger as injuries reduce with messrs pattinson/cummings/starc all developing well. note fyi atm in response re depth there are 8-9 other bowlers in aus that could play test cricket today if req'd (more than i can remember). also apart from Finn are Eng developing any new clear matchwinners? remember also that mr Finn has and will continue to get injuries bowling the pace he does. I have followed intently both he and pattinsons careers and i could not argue either was a better test bowler, and after watching much of cummings bowl i am sure he will become as good as either of these 2 bowlers(barring 22 yo injuries)

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

@FFL, there's a lot of difference between Patto hitting 145-150 in his first over than Finn topping out at 142km or so which is the fastest he bowled yesterday, when he tries to bowl faster, he just ends up knocking the bails off anyway, Starc, Patto & Cummins are all quicker than your little finny boy....

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (February 24, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

Now then, 6 overs in the first innings of a series, in a whole day pretty much?

The bookies are taking bets on who will be the next aussie to break down & my fiver is on Pattinson.

Posted by whocareswhatyouthink on (February 23, 2013, 23:08 GMT)

Pretty sure I haven't seen England on the field during this test match. Don't know why their fans are commenting on this page.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 23, 2013, 22:48 GMT)

@HarryHussain, thanks for the 'warning' but we don't need the trash talk because all will be revealed when the Ashes come around later this year.

Posted by LewisDuckworth on (February 23, 2013, 22:21 GMT)

@HarryHussain Sorry mate but while I agree with you re: Swann & Panesar being streets ahead of Lyon, you're totally off the money re Finn ahead of Pattinson. Australia's best strength at the moment is our fast bowling stocks. Pattinson, Cummins, Starc, Siddle, Bird, Harris are all quality fast men. Anderson & Finn are impressive, but the rest of Englands fast bowling stocks don't come close to those 6 Aussie quicks, we then also have Mitchell Johnson as insurance and we haven't even unleashed Josh Hazlewood yet. That said England's batting line up is far superior to Australia's.

But back onto Nathan Lyon, that may not be an issue when the Ashes come around. Looks like Fawad Ahmed's citizenship may be rushed through and we'll have the Pakistani refugee playing as an Australian citizen bowling his leg breaks and causing all sorts of havoc on wearing pitches. Would be a great story also given he had to flee the Taliban.

Posted by Mitcher on (February 23, 2013, 22:21 GMT)

Aahhh, gotta love an England fan referencing ODI cricket. Lets haves partay. We'll bring the World Cups (4). You guys bring the...I dunno... cheese? Thanks for contributing.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

Pattinson bowls overs 2, 4 & 6 taking 2-wickets. In this amazing spell .... it's 2/12 in the 6th over .... Clarke decides to NOT SUPPORT THE BOWLER, dropping from 2SL & a G to 1SL & a G.

Pattinson is 'RESTED' for 21 OVERS!!! Not one wicket falls.

Pattinson bowls overs 27, 29 & 31 taking 1-wicket.

Pattinson is then 'RESTED' for the rest of the day .... 21-overs .... and doesn't bowl again on Day 2!!!

Starc and Lyon bowl out the last 8-overs ..... the latter is going for 4-runs/over.

Good bowler management?? Really?!?!?

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 20:49 GMT)

To any person that thinks that Pattison taking 3 wickets in chennai as a sign of Englands impending destruction at the hands of Australia, i give you this warning.

There is so much more strength and depth in bowling and batting in the England ranks then there is in Australia, a fact shown by the fact that Australia can only play one spinner (without me being too childish i would rather have swann or pannesar in my team then Nathan Lyon). on wickets that have been shown to be raging turners. Pattison will take wickets, so will starc, but Finn is in the form of his career much better then when he helped England whitewash Australia last year and he will show himself to be absolutely unplayable.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 23, 2013, 20:33 GMT)

This is obviously a question of quality vs quantity and, on this day at least, Pattinson's quality appears to have improved with the reduction in quantity. That said though, if his quantity needs to be halved in order to obtain that quality then it's debatable whether the net result is positive. Only time will tell I suppose but I do find it strange that Clarke didn't think it a good idea to bring Pattinson back for a third spell at the end of the day. He'd had a good rest since his second spell and another wicket could have really put Australia in the box seat. Also, he cannot do it all on his own so the other bowlers will need to step up. As an England fan, I'm actually thinking that Starc may be the bigger threat come the Ashes.

Posted by BG4cricket on (February 23, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

I think Clarke has the right approach for Patto but I think he erred in not giving him a little more of a shot at Sachin & Kohli before they got set, or perhaps another short spell - either way he MUST be bowling first up for us on day 3 to grab a breakthrough as these bats could take a win out of the equation for us very quickly. Some good points were made re the rest of the attack, but in my opinion most were OK. Lyon, however, is a problem and a key because if he is not bowling well (even if not taking wickets) the balance of the attack is severely impacted. He needs to slow his pace a touch & toss it up a little more & wouldn't hurt him to maybe bowl a little further outside off

Posted by t20-2007 on (February 23, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

Australia do have set of ..high speedster...true quality bowlers.....India doesnt hav those luxury ..those who can bowl at some speed are down with injury...only left over r some trundlers...who wont get a chance in playing XI for anothr country(not even in Afghanistan)...the speed with which Ishant sharma bowls ..i just want to beg...him to lend his height to some oneelse who can atleast throw at 140+....n BK is anew guy cant say much abt him but doesnt look promising...they shd watch the videos from SA vs pak match and learn from Dale Steyn n Vernon Phil how to deliver new ball...i dont understand wat they do..when all these guys come to IPL n bowl they must give them sm tuition's on fast bowling ...BCCI ll reimburse them easily...:P

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 18:51 GMT)

If Pattinson can't do his fair share of the bowling, why is he there???

Posted by on (February 23, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

am a big fan of two things in this new Australian team , a fantastic fast bowling group ,which if fit i would say even better than South african or English fast bowlers, and probably the best captain in world cricket today Michael clarke , but not enough impressive new batsmen , exactly the opposite of the problems faced by Indian team

Posted by MakersName on (February 23, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Point taken. The acuteness of his spells (far shorter and fewer than what other paceman are doing at the moment) appears to have distracted many people from the fact that the rest of the side took 0 for 157 from 46 overs. Therein lies the reason why the game is so tantalizingly poised; failure of the bowling unit to maintain pressure.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 23, 2013, 18:20 GMT)

Pattison's not quite as quick as as firing Steven Finn, as those that witnessed Eng's whitewash of Australia last year will attest. India have been set up on a plate by England for Australia to take, just like in 2011 when they destroyed a then great side, demoralising them so much to the extent that when they toured Aus they were already a broken team. Given the thrashing they just received from England in their own back yard, India have proved a more resliient this time, as surely even they realise when they look at hopeless Aussie cricketers like Lyon and Wade, to name just a couple, that they have a chance of whitewashing Australia in this series.

Posted by SnowSnake on (February 23, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

I think Australia managed Patinson well given the circumstances. For fast bowlers to be effective in India they need to bowl fuller or yorkers at high speeds. There are no more fast bowlers in cricket today. So making a fast medium bowler bowl fast in short spells was a good strategy. In India, you cannot bowl short and expect wicket. Pattinson has done well. I think Australia needs to conserve his energy until the next new ball becomes due.

Posted by Mr_Ronan on (February 23, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

GOD HELP ENGLAND if Patto is fit and firing for the Ashes! A skilful, aggressive 6'4 paceman sending down 150kmh+ thunderbolts...good luck!! If he can stay fit he'll quickly be up there with Steyn, Philander and Anderson. To rip out 3 top order wickets for just 25 on a pitch as slow as Chennai is a huge effort. He needs the other bowlers to step up though if Australia are to win this. Starc bowled too short, Siddle was solid but unspectacular and Lyon was too flat. Henriques bowled very well on debut and did his job to a tee - strangled the Indian batsmen from one end.

Posted by NaniIndCri on (February 23, 2013, 15:39 GMT)

With this rotation and player management, Australia can never get back to their glory days as they cannot field their 11 best and even if they do, they cannot bowl their best.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:54 GMT)

Disagree entirely. 4 overs minimum. For me it seems very strange to keep him out of the attack for 20 overs. We need to win this test not draw it, and it seems all we have done is let India off the ropes. Disappointed.

Posted by DC75 on (February 23, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

The one bowler that India has who can bowl above 140 KPH is injured and we are still waiting for Umesh to come back. It is quite telling that when he played in the first test against England, he was able to get critical breakthroughs when spinners were negated by English batsmen. India lost Umesh Yadav after test test to injury and then duly lost the series, because we did not have plan B when spinners fail to get a breakhrough. I think Clarke is being very good in handling Pattinson, having said that he could have bowled him for 4 overs each spell instead of 3, I felt he was tad bit under utilized giving breathing space first to Tendulkar and then to Kohli.

Posted by Dhanvanth on (February 23, 2013, 14:28 GMT)

Good writing by coverdale! Patto workload should be maintained properly.. He can be Australia's dale steyn one day! Full credits to the team management for their maintenance of workloads... Injuries and form are the two most threatening ones for a cricketer.

Posted by YogifromNY on (February 23, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

Michael Clarke has shown himself to be a fine judge of men. He is also results-oriented and sharp, unlike Dhoni. So he is not under-bowling Pattinson, I feel, just managing him with a view to a longer plan. Cut him some slack, guys!

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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