Pakistan v Australia, 1st MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Lord's, 4th day July 16, 2010

Australia sweat on Hilfenhaus fitness


Australia are sweating on the fitness of Ben Hilfenhaus ahead of the second Test in Leeds, after the fast bowler hurt his left shoulder diving to save a boundary on the fourth day at Lord's. Hilfenhaus was in obvious pain after the front-on lunge, although he remained on the field and sent down the next over to see how the problem affected his bowling.

However, straight after that over Hilfenhaus left the field to receive treatment, and while he returned to the action, he didn't bowl again in the innings. The captain Ricky Ponting said Hilfenhaus could have bowled again later in the day if required, but the real test will be how he recovers over the next couple of days.

"You won't stop him bowling, it doesn't matter what he does," Ponting said. "He would have been fine. He is a bit sore in his shoulder. They will probably have a look at it tomorrow once it has cooled down and will know a bit more about it then. We don't really know the extent of it today and we just keep our fingers crossed and hope it's not too bad."

Hilfenhaus was without doubt the best of Australia's three fast men, as he used the cloudy conditions to curl the ball sharply back in to the left-handers and away from the right-handers. He finished with match figures of 3 for 74, more wickets than either Doug Bollinger or Mitchell Johnson managed for the game.

Johnson bowled well in the first innings but started to lose his radar in the second, often bowling too straight, and he struggled to 0 for 74 from 18 overs. Bollinger's battle with English conditions continued - he was disappointing in his only season of county cricket in 2007 - as he battled to find any swing and collected two wickets, both in the first innings.

"I really think it was a fact of both those guys really trying too hard, knowing the conditions offered quite a bit for the faster bowlers," Ponting said. "I think they just tried to exploit a bit too much from the wicket rather than just being patient and hitting the areas long enough and waiting for the wicket to do something for them."

The only other fast man in the squad is the two-metre-tall Peter George, from South Australia, who will be keeping a close eye on Hilfenhaus in the next few days. George played in the tour match in Derby but didn't pick up a wicket.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rooboy on July 20, 2010, 2:16 GMT

    Spot on @Taz786. Australia were very lucky to win, geez all they did was score more than the opposition. In fact, I think you can extrapolate that out to all of Australia's performances. If the Australian batsmen didn't consistently score more runs than the opposition, and if the Australian bowlers didn't regularly take wickets at a cheaper rate than their oppenents, Australia would hardly have ever won a game. It happens so often, clearly it is a fluke ... Australia are SO fortunate.

  • tick on July 19, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    just to correct..muhammad asif is now 2nd in ranking and mitchel has gone down the ranking..

  • Ozcricketwriter on July 18, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Dunno about Peter George but there are plenty of other good bowlers sitting home in Australia who could fill the void. McKay for one. I know Ryan Harris is injured but he would be one too. Same as Siddle. And I don't think that Stuart Clark or Nathan Bracken are so far off the pace either. There's a whole range of test quality pacemen about.

  • hamxi on July 18, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    never the less....aussies have this great thing abt managing cricket of the players...they'll be sure up to the task to get a newbie....................and for Pakistan I just wish they win this One.....InshAllah

  • _Australian_ on July 17, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    Anyone who has half a clue about cricket would understand that Johnson clearly has an issue bowling with the Dukes ball. Just like Harmison does with the kookaburra. Mitch is ranked 2nd in the world currently and has always peformed well anywhere but in England. Seeing he will only play in England in possibly 1 or 2 test series it is hardly worth worrying about. Dougy seems to me that he is trying to bowl too fast. He was much more effective in the Australian summer with being more accurate and not as quick.

  • Taz786 on July 17, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    I think Aussies got out of Jail in that match. Had the Pakistani bowlers finished off the Aussie 1st innings at 220 and then not let the last 2 wickets of the 2nd innings put on 120 odd runs, that is about the margin they won by.

    Pak batsmen didn't do themselves any favours by getting out to part time bowlers like Watson and North. Credit to Ponting for pulling that genius masterstroke off.

  • dummy4fb on July 17, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    @dsig. You are talking about fast bowlers. They always break down, no matter who it is. Unless they have an action like McGrath and bowl about 120 km/h all day, and let's be honest McGrath is one of the very few who can bowl that low a speed and manage to pull it off.

    Who are the alternatives? Siddle is injured, the third time in his career... and he's only 22. Bollinger has just been injured. McKay has been injured in the past. Johnson is the only one able to stay away from injury, and even then he just came away from an infection.

    Fast bowlers always get injured. It's more a case of making sure that there are suitable replacements in the case one does get injured. At the moment Australia can go pretty deep. Even if you have to go back to Clark he will definitely do more than enough, get a few wickets and possibly get back his Test spot as he should.

    They are able to bowl deep enough to cover for any injuries. It's now a matter of suitable rehabilitation.

  • Vindaliew on July 17, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    On current form, Hilfenhaus is probably the second most important pace bowler in the Aussie lineup - Bollinger is arguably the most consistent, although he seems to be struggling in the English conditions (thankfully for him the Ashes are Down under this year). Johnson, like many other fast bowlers, can be devastating one day and completely off the next, while Ponting or Clarke might not want to risk bowling Tait too much in Tests even if he returned - otherwise he might end up like Shane Bond. Watto has always been looked upon as a 5th seamer, probably 4th if they play a spinner, and while he did really well here it wouldn't be fair to expect such returns on a regular basis. So yes, it'd be great for Australia if Hilfenhaus was back as soon as possible, firing on all cylinders.

  • dummy4fb on July 17, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    i was kinda worried abt mitch in the 2nd innings. hopefully lords 2009 didnt repeat. hopefully mitch and dougy can get their rhythm back at headingley which is good track for pace.

  • dummy4fb on July 17, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Its ok, we can afford to not have Hilfenhaus. As we saw in the first test, we have now found the replacements for Warne and McGrath with North and Watson :-P

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