Australia in South Africa 2013-14

Ryan Harris battles knee and self-doubt

Daniel Brettig

February 27, 2014

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

Ryan Harris tests himself out in the nets, Sydney, January 2, 2014
The success Ryan Harris had in the Ashes has eluded him in South Africa © Getty Images
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Ryan Harris' wonky right knee has taken a battering in South Africa and so too has his self-confidence. Determined to squeeze one more Test series out of his 34-year-old frame before checking himself in for surgery, Harris has found himself struggling to claim wickets for the first time in his otherwise wonderfully late blooming career.

Between worrying about his knee, which has been locking up more frequently due to the bone fragments floating around its inner workings, and battling South Africa's batsmen, Harris has taken only three wickets at 74 in two Tests, opening up virtually the first questions about his place since his debut in 2010. Since then he has invariably played whenever fit, but now the selectors may be tempted to draft in the younger James Pattinson for Cape Town, and Harris knows it.

"It's getting to the stage where it's catching a lot more and clicking a lot more, there's all those fragments in there that are giving me the s***s," Harris said of his knee. "But I'll push through this game, hopefully bowl better and get it fixed it up in a week and a half or two weeks. I think I'll be fine to play body-wise, it's just whether or not form-wise I'm going alright. Three wickets at 74 is not great at the moment, and it's a big Test.

"So it's obviously up to Darren [Lehmann], Michael [Clarke] and John [Inverarity] to see what they do there. But I'm hoping I'll be alright. I guess I've been a little bit unlucky, but that's the way the game is. I haven't felt great to be honest. I've felt good in spells, the new ball has been good and a couple of spells with the old ball.

"But I think middle of day three in Port Elizabeth - we fielded for a lot of that game - when I was bowling to Amla he was just driving me for fun. I just felt like something wasn't right. So I've got a bit of work to do over the next few days. Day off and then I'll do some stuff with Craig [McDermott], and we'll go from there. But I know I'm not far away. My pace is still good. It's just a matter of consistency at the moment."

One of the issues seemingly caused by Harris' knee is a tendency to drop short at the start of each spell in South Africa, offering the hosts a ball to hit straight away and relaxing the pressure he has usually been able to exert on batsmen. Like a few other areas, including a lack of swing in this series and a variance in his accuracy from spell to spell, Harris is searching for a solution.

"I'm aware of it but it keeps happening," Harris said. "I keep asking Michael to put a deep point out because that seems to be where I get hit. It's just something I have to get better at I guess when I am told to start bowling. Whether I have got to do more run throughs or take more time to get right. It's not good enough, the first ball every time the batsman is sitting on the back foot waiting for a short ball and that's something I have got to get better at. On Thursday I will bowl a spell and then have a rest and work on having a break to rectify it."

Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson have all shouldered a heavy load over the first two Tests as the only three pace men in the attack. Shane Watson's looming recall as a No. 6 batsman and change bowler is something Harris hoped would provide the ideal balance for Newlands, where Australia are seeking a series-clinching win over South Africa to complete a highly successful summer.

"Having Watto back would be huge, having that extra bowler," he said. "We've seen when Davey [Warner] has to bowl a few here and there and Michael has to fill in, they're bowling Watto's overs so having him there is huge for our attack. South Africa have tried to do that with their attack but lost a bowler last game. Who he comes in for I don't know, the guys who are already in there, Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh, didn't go well last game but have done well. Who knows. But I think we need Watto playing."

Should Harris play, he has one personal goal ahead of him. Needing seven wickets for 100 in Test matches when he arrived in South Africa, he is still four away from the mark, something he did not expect to get anywhere near when he left the MCG during the 2010-11 Ashes with a foot fracture. A few wickets, a victory in Cape Town, and a date with the surgeon would allow Harris some peace of mind, and the chance to further prolong his unlikely career.

"It would've been great to have them [100 wickets] now, but if I get the opportunity . . . it'd be nice to get it here," he said. "I think back to the Ashes of three years ago when we lost in Australia . . . and [at the time] I thought that could be the end of me playing Test cricket, because of my knee. To think where I was back then to where I am now, even if I finished up . . . I'd take 95 wickets.

"It would be a nice little personal achievement to get to 100 but, as I've said all through the summer and with every Test I've played, you've got to treat [each match] as your last - you never know with this thing with my leg. In saying that - and I'm probably contradicting myself - getting it fixed up when I get home will, I think, give me a bit more time. The fragments that are loose are causing the swelling, so if they're not there hopefully the swelling stays down and it's easier for me to get through."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Jagger on (February 28, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

He is our third seamer. Last of three. His head was on the chopping block, there is no doubt about it. The Poms attacked him relentlessly last summer, especially Pietersen, and that's the only way Siddle gets wickets. By default. They didn't rate him. When they stopped attacking Siddle to conserve wickets two things happened: Cook gave away any hope of victory and Siddle couldn't buy a wicket. I think Bird, Pattinson, Sayers, and possibly Starc are better bowlers than Siddle, so he doesn't even come close for my money. The solution is we need to see more of Sayers before we can pick him, Pattinson leaks runs, and two left armers, much like two legspinners, robs Peter to pay Paul. So it has to be Bird. Harris, Johnson, Bird, Lyon and Watson - a sensational attack imo.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 28, 2014, 14:22 GMT)

Hi Giri. Thank you for contributing. I will just help you out with a few things. Firstly, sadly, James Faulkner is out injured and was withdrawn from this tour. Had he not been withdrawn, he almost certainly would have played in all 3 tests. There is no need to think of him as he is still injured and is still not a part of the tour. He is a good player though. As for the bowlers, Ryan Harris has a higher ranking right now than either Gillespie, Lee or Fleming ever had in test cricket, and Siddle has also been higher than any of them were at their peaks. Pattinson too is a mighty fine bowler. Australia right now has the best pace bowlers they have ever had in their entire history. The batting isn't particularly good and you are right that they haven't had a good spin bowler since Warne retired. Jackson Bird, who you didn't mention, has a FC and test average of under 20, though it is early days in his career. No need for extra bowlers. Extra bats would be good though.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

Harris is at this point in time a better bowler than Pattinson, but the issue of his knee makes the former somewhat of a risk in a five day game. Pattinson bowled well in Brisbane against SA and he is a very good lower order batsman. As a SA supporter, I would somehow want Harris to play, because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. I suspect Pattinson will play. Anyway, in my book Aus will make a mistake if they leave both Harris and Siddle out. Watson will no doubt ease the pressure on the rest of the attack. We lost a bowler in the second test and still manage to win, but a bowler short is always going to be difficult. In fact, I don't think one can in the long run win test matches without four front line bowlers and an allrounder. On the SA side, I hope Abbott plays.

Posted by tom120 on (February 28, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

Harris should be rested for the next test. There's no point in playing him and risking his career. Also, his hurt knee is the reason why he's not been able to bowl upto his standards in 2 previous matches against SA.

Posted by LillianThomson on (February 28, 2014, 8:36 GMT)

Don't forget, in three weeks it will be exactly 20 years since a tour of South Africa finished off the 32 year old Merv Hughes' knee, and his career.

Harris is a great bowler, but they would do better to play Pattinson and allow Harris to have his surgery.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 28, 2014, 7:39 GMT)

Thosar ; I think you will find 4 of those English batsman average higher than all but Pujara. Also Bell, Cook, Pietersen and Trott all have better averages up there with the South Africans. The English batting line up in terms of statistics is the second best in the world. But by all means keep carrying on with the weak England line you have been pushing. Funny how that weak England beat India away and white washed them at home.

Posted by cricketsubh on (February 28, 2014, 5:35 GMT)

i donot think harris can play for another 2 3 years i think this 2014 year is harris last year at test cricket i donot see harris playing 2015 session he got 1 test vs sa to go asnd 3 vs PAK in uae in oct and 4 test match with in india in australian summer so he got 8 test match and he should retire after the end of 4 test series vs india ha is great bowler .

Posted by Rowayton on (February 28, 2014, 4:32 GMT)

Harris has played 11 successive tests since July 2013. Any fast bowler would be likely to be struggling at the end of that. Nevertheless I'd keep him for Cape Town - because at his best he's a better bowler than the blokes who would replace him. Hopefully, the fact that he's on holiday (even if it is in a hospital) next week will put a spring back in his step for this one.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 4:09 GMT)

Australia is trying to get out 7 SA batsmen. Smith, Amla, Fauf, Duminy, AB, and now Elgar plus Decock. Amla and AB are the world's best. Fauf has played monumental innings against Aus and India. Duminy is a fine player. So Aus should not overload the three-pacers. They are not in the same class as Mcgrath, Gillepsie, Lee, Fleming, etc. Also there was the greatest leggie ever - Shane warne. Against WI, Eng, NZ, and SA warney could do anything. So Aus must go in with extra bowlers. The Aussie batters are not in the same league as Ponting's, Taylor's, or Steve Waugh's teams. Thus Aus must get the balance right. So how about:

Warner, Watson, Marsh, Clarke, Smith, Faulkner, Haddin, Jonhson, Harris, Siddle (or pattinson), Lyon

You get 3 fast bowlers+ 2 all rounders + 1 spinner in bowling. Plus the part-time of smith, warner, and clarke.

Drop Rogers because modern-day cricket is not about blocking only. The other option is not to play Faulkner but a pure batsman in place,

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 28, 2014, 3:04 GMT)

@Jagger-After his stellar showing in Ashes Siddle hardly needs talk self up-perf. do for him.You dont just chop 1 of top 5 quicks in world-injury apart-do you?Will walk in any team a.t.m-be 2nd pick for SA.And fits in as 3rd in worlds no.1 attack-Aus.

Posted by HatsforBats on (February 28, 2014, 2:32 GMT)

Harris must be in a world of pain for his performance to have suffered so. His numbers to date are Steyn-like, to have been this inconsistent these last two matches and to speak so openly, he must be struggling. I'd like to see him play but he's clearly not 100% (or even at the required % for him to operate at his best). I think Bird would be effctive at Newlands. Pattinson has the capacity to blast out an order and produce magic deliveries (and he can bat!), but Bird offers consistency and run restriction and is also a genuine wicket threat.

Posted by camcove on (February 28, 2014, 2:07 GMT)

There are plenty of nice things being said (quite rightly) about RH. When fit, he is a champion bowler and by all accounts is a champion bloke. If the judgment is that he or Sidds is not right for Newlands, will it be JP or JB who comes in? Some are saying Pattinson, and I understand the enthusiasm. I think he will end up a champion. Him and MJ together? Potential for bleeding runs, as they are both fast and aggressive. It would be fun to watch though. Bird on the other hand brings consistency, accuracy and, above all, trajectory. I think he could bowl on Newlands in the Stuart Clark mould, which is not a bad thing at all. BTW, Bavuma - Good to see you've embraced the media hype so enthusiastically. The Supersports highlights from Newlands may or may not be to your liking. I would wait till after that match to celebrate, if I were you.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 28, 2014, 1:12 GMT)

Muneeb_Dawood; Not sure why only Australian supporters players get accused of lacking respect for the opposition. Ryano is a champion with a champions record and like Philander and Steyn does not deserve any disdain from opposition fans.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 28, 2014, 1:09 GMT)

Cmon Ryano your a champion bloke and champion bowler. Oil up that body for one last game before taking a well deserved break. Lets go into that break with back to back series victories.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 28, 2014, 1:07 GMT)

Bavuma; I loved every minute of the pounding your batsman took in the first test as well. So far between the bowling attacks its 1-1, cant see how that is a comprehensive victory to South Africa. Yes bring on Cape Town then you South Africans might actually have a chance to brag about something but your best bowling attack has never beaten Australia in South Africa.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 0:26 GMT)

As a SA supporter, I would rather Harris sit out. Pattinson is more erratic and that could mean that Johnson may not be able to be employed as an out and out strike bowler if the SA batters get hold of Pattinson. Harris is the perfect foil for Mitch so please drop him Clarkie :)

Posted by thozar on (February 28, 2014, 0:21 GMT)

@landl47, With a mighty average of 20.63 and an awesome SR of 43.3 against England, Ryan Harris is a fine bowler indeed. His career avg is just little worse. So, on cursory look, ppl think he should be a great bowler. oh wait, he has played more than half his tests against England. Against RSA, he has an average of 46 and a SR of, wait for it, 80, hahaha. You got to show your mettle against good teams to be considered a good bowler not against batsmen for whose wickets bowlers queue because they are so cheap. Remember, bowling to Kohli and Dhawan is very different to bowling to Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow. The reason why Ryan's career average is still excellent is because he does not play quality teams often and is always ready for the Ashes in which any Oz bowler can excel. Even Peter Siddle has a fine record against them.

Posted by thozar on (February 28, 2014, 0:11 GMT)

It is not correct to knock a player when he is down. But with Oz cricketers, it is alright to make an exception. So, what was I saying before? The minute Harris faces Indian or RSA batsmen, in other words, excellent batsmen, he will disappear from the scene. The knee was alright for 5 tests against hapless England, wasn't it Ryan? All of a sudden, you face quality batsmen and realize that there is no way you can play without denting that fine average, and your knee flares up. CA, arrange another Ashes series and you will see Ryan back to full fitness again, hahaha. Ofc, if he is really injured, then sorry about that and hope he recovers soon but this has been the Ryan Harris story all through his career.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 23:46 GMT)

Bavuma....at least Rhino (or Ryno...not Ryano) has something in spades that you obviously lack....modesty. At 34 years of age, I'd love to see Steyn at the same stage. He's a wonderful bowler, but so is Rhino.

Mocking claims to the best bowling attack in the world is interesting, given the series is locked at 1-1 and the Australian attack thrashed the South African attack in Jo'burg, while in the 2nd Test Sth Africa had some batting to thank, and some questionable ball.... maintenance.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 27, 2014, 23:13 GMT)

@ RednWhiteArmy

"All the bowlers are 34+ and the same goes for the rest of the team."

Well actually only Ryno is 34+, Lyon and Siddle are in their 20's and MJ is 32. However we've got great young bowling stocks coming through, Pattinson, Bird, Cummings, Hazelwood, Coulter-Nile, Muirhead.

I'd be more concerned if I was you on the age of your re-building side - Anderson, Bell, Prior, Trott.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 27, 2014, 23:03 GMT)

@ Gareth_Bain

True about Pattinson, however he hasn't played first class cricket for 6 months as he's been rehabilitating. So like Harris in this series he might not be close to his best.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 27, 2014, 23:00 GMT)

For me Harris epitomises the fighting spirit which Australia sport is known for.

Unfortunately his fighting spirit will mean that he'll probably play in cape town and from what is written here, it sounds risky that he'll be able to make it through the test or play to his ability.

If he wasn't plagued with injury he could have been an all-time great bowler. Good luck Ryno, I hope that this is not the end of your career.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (February 27, 2014, 22:59 GMT)

I think he should be dropped. Well not dropped just sent to surgery and given every opportunity to continue playing for Australia. He's not the bowler he was 5 tests ago and he was really labouring in PE and just looked tired in general.

Pattinson in for Harris I think, though i worry he might be a bit underdone. Wouldn't mind seeing Ben Cutting drafted into the side but i know that will never happen.

Posted by cricket_ahan on (February 27, 2014, 22:37 GMT)

Poor Harris sounds like he's really worried about his place. Injuries aside, he doesn't warrant being dropped on (really speaking) one bad test match, and that too against the no. 1 ranked side in the world. His skills with the ball are amongst the best in the world, and his figures (when he has played) have reflected that. If he's injured he should rest though - he has had a long summer and backed it up straight away with this series. I think he needs to be in this team as a mainstay opening bowler, so his body should be managed accordingly. Sppedy recovery Rhino!

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 27, 2014, 21:15 GMT)

@Bavuma-Well Amla-or any SA bat-wont be getting anything to drive in CT for sure-pitch is unlikely to be dead like PE.All they will get is some sweet chin music from worlds best attack-and a certain Mitch.Aft. Aus win in 4 days can drive back to hotel.

Posted by Jagger on (February 27, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

@ Bavuma - it was Siddle who said he was part of the best bowling attack in the world, not Harris. Siddle needed to say it to take the pressure off himself from getting the chop. It had nothing to do with South Africa, except of course Faf's zipper and Steyn subsequently being the only bowler to produce reverse swing is everything to do with South Africa.

Ryan Harris is a champion bowler. Top class. We knew he needed an operation on his knee months ago. A decision was made, and 5-nil against England was deemed more important than South Africa. All Aussies would agree they made the correct decision. He will have the knee clean-up soon and within a couple of months we all hope he will make a full recovery.

Bird in for Siddle in the next test is a must. If not that Bird is a better bowler, then certainly for saying he is part of the best bowling attack in the world.

Posted by Gareth_Bain on (February 27, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

James Pattinson is probably the most talented Australian bowlers. It would be a net plus for them if he plays...

Posted by Bavuma on (February 27, 2014, 17:08 GMT)

"when I was bowling to Amla he was just driving me for fun...." Kwaaaahahahahah... loved every minute of it. Can't enough of the Supersport highlights package... best bowling attack huh Ryano??? LMAO... Roll on to Cape Town can't wait for BigBhooda's tears.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

Always liked the look of Ryan from earlier in his career and felt that the guy was incredibly unlucky with his health and if only he could string a few series together and his body would hold, he would be an absolute handful. Luckily for him (and most unfortunately for England!), that happened in 2013 finally. While Mitch was the ultimate destroyer, lest it be forgotten what a stellar role Ryan played in both home and away legs. He is a classic case of what might have been. I for one believe that if he were to be blessed by a robust health, he would easily have ended up with a 100+test career and 450+wickets. Sadly that will never be and cricket will be much poorer for it. I think this series will be his swansong as to be successful at this level as a swing/seam bowler, he needs to maintain the 86mph-87mph range which his dodgy knee may not be able to support for long. He will however leave behind fond memories and a cult following in years to come. Thanks mate.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (February 27, 2014, 15:43 GMT)

It's too bad, you have to feel for the guy. His honesty is painful. Injury has brought him to the end of the road.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Harris is one of those cricketers that actually comes across as a decent bloke all round. Honestly should get some recognition for not milking the fact that he was gouged by AB's studs (it was unintentional), but he could have drawn out the treatment and possibly keep them out there that much longer.

Sadly these things happen, and injuries like these don't really heal, especially as we get older. I honestly hope he's fit both in body and mind to take on the 3rd test. Great series so far and while I'm hoping for an SA win, you want to beat the best at their best to really call yourself number 1.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

I only seen the tail of malcolm Marshall but commentators likened harris to him during the ashes. He bowled cook the ball of the ashes. he's injured simple as that. It's a real shame for cricket a cricketer almost as good as steyn S.A's 3 prong attack vs left/right combination of ours. Not saying defeat will happen but pattinson is just coming back.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 27, 2014, 13:01 GMT)

Just think what David Warner would say if Harris was in the opposing team..."he is clearly making excuses for rubbish bowling before he gets dropped for the last test...."

Thankfully we don't all think like Warner. Harris - Great ticker, tough competitor and wish him speedy recovery - but there are also other good young aussie quicks waiting to take his place. They wont make it easy for him.

Posted by landl47 on (February 27, 2014, 13:00 GMT)

I thought it was something close to a miracle that Harris managed to play the complete Ashes series in Aus. At his best he's a very fine bowler and all real cricket lovers will be sad if he's forced out by injury.

At 34, and with young bowlers coming through, he can't have long left. Let's hope he's fit enough to play at Newlands and get to 100 wickets.

Posted by ToneMalone on (February 27, 2014, 12:43 GMT)

Doesn't feel right to talk about a brilliant bowler like Harris being "dropped", or to question his form under the circumstances. Simple fact is, Harris is injured. As such, he should be ruled out of the 3rd Test, fast-tracked to knee surgery and given every chance to resume his career in the Australian side as soon as he is fit to do so.

Posted by AB_DeVilliers on (February 27, 2014, 12:15 GMT)

Yip, keep blaming ur poor bowling on ur bad knee. Both will just get worse at Newlands. Go best attack in the world!

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 27, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy , haven't seen much from you during the famous (5-0) Ashes summer. The last time I checked, Eng lost 5 tests and 5 players/ personnel as well. So how is Eng doing with their rebuilding process ?

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

Harris has exceeded all expectations of him this Australian summer playing 7 tests in a row and bowling beautifully. Pattinson should come in for Rhino for the 3rd test if his knee isn't quite right.

Also @RednWhiteArmy Aus. has many young fast bowlers. Pattinson, Star, Cummins all in their early 20's in fact fast bowling is probably Aus. strong point right now . Batting is the real area of concern

Posted by disco_bob on (February 27, 2014, 10:51 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy, good to see that you are still hurting from the most comprehensively thorough thrashing that the cricket world has witnessed in over 100 years. Before England can rebuild their team they have to completely reconstruct the factories that have only served to destroy promising bowlers like Finn. Where's your next spinner coming from? See you in the Old Dart next year, without your best player in a generation we will inflict even more pain.

Posted by sifter132 on (February 27, 2014, 10:46 GMT)

You almost can't pick him after those frank comments. He's a great bloke R.Harris, but he's almost been too honest here. Not sure you can seriously pick a guy who's knee is locking up more and more and is a week away from surgery. Especially when Pattinson or Bird can't do much worse than Ryano's done so far. Love Harris, but he's expendable right now. He was about 5kph down in the 2nd Test a sign of lack of confidence in that knee.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (February 27, 2014, 10:12 GMT)

The end of the australian renaissance is nigh. All the bowlers are 34+ and the same goes for the rest of the team. Time to rebuild after 1 ashes series win haha

Posted by PutMarshyOn on (February 27, 2014, 9:58 GMT)

Heart says give him the benefit of doubt. Head says he looks stuffed. I'd play JP.

Posted by stormy16 on (February 27, 2014, 9:53 GMT)

New Lands would offer Harris the best bowling conditions unless SA flat out the wicket as the ball wobbles a bit and Harris would be a threat. If there are injusry concerns Harris must not play as if he takes a chance and breaks down during the game its a major blow.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (February 27, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

We are so harsh on bowlers aren't we? A batsman can have two quiet matches, but if a bowler does, we talk about dropping him. There's also the fact that the Aus selectors have chosen 2 guys returning from injury with hardly any overs under there belts as back up. Meanwhile, Sayers is picking up wickets for fun, playing half his games on Adelaide Oval. Give Ryano another Test, he is class, and it would be great to see him get to 100 wickets before his op.

Posted by Ragav999 on (February 27, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

Ryan Harris should be dropped only if he himself thinks that it is the best decision for the team. He has the most consistent performer for Australia during the entire time he has been in the team. I would say he is a safer pick than Michael Clarke too as many batsmen have reached the heights that Clarke has but very few bowlers in the current era have achieved what Harris has.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

It must be really uncomfortable bowling on a dodgy knee. Hopefully for his sake he can get it sorted soon!

Posted by Its_reversing on (February 27, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

In response to "electric_loco_WAP4" : Are you Davy Warner in disguise? Take off the blinkers. Harris 3rd behind Johnson and Steyn is a just smack-talk!

Philander has 111w @ 18.87 in 22m versus Harris' 96w @23.21 in 23m.

And putting Johnson ahead of Steyn means you are looking at recent form instead of career averages, consitency or rankings. You cannot use that logic to claim the 'bowler of this generation' title.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 27, 2014, 9:25 GMT)

I'm not going to comment on Harris's knee until I've heard from the experts. So when will Warner be giving his opinion on the matter?

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

as a south african supporter i'd rather have my lads face pattinson than Harris.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 9:18 GMT)

Ryno has been great but it's a rare thing for an Australian quick to make it 35, even one like him who started late and has missed a lot of bowling. Only Lindwall, Miller, Thommo and McGrath I think from memory. Guys like STuey Clark and Gillespie fell off a cliff pretty sharply.

Hopefully this is not the beginning of the end, but we should be prepared in case it is.

And i would definitely rest him from this test. Like Badyon I would also rest Siddle but prefer Henriques because he is not much slower than Bird but scored handy runs on slow tracks in India. Watto for Marsh, but I also like Hughes for Doolan.

I think we made 5 changes when we won the series at Adelaide in 78-9, and 4 when we levelled the series with Pakistan in 78-9... sometimes it pays to be bold/brave/rash/adventurous/crazy brave etc etc

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 9:08 GMT)

I like the idea of Bird in for Siddle, and subject to fitness, Harris keeping his spot. Bird hits the deck in the right spot, gets a little bit of movement of the deck, and can swing the ball away. He's quicker than Philander who seems to go ok at home. I think Siddle needs a rest and fingers crossed, Watson can come in for Marsh or Doolan.

Posted by azzaman333 on (February 27, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

If he's declared fit enough to get through the 5 days, he should play. Same with Siddle and Johnson. As a team, they'd taken 20 wickets in 6 consecutive tests before the 2nd test. One test at a lower than normal standard does not require change on form. After the home Ashes, I thought this insanity of shuffling the team around every match would be vanquished. Apparently not...

Posted by creebo777 on (February 27, 2014, 8:45 GMT)

Was looking forward seeing ryan harris bowl in SA but he has been looking flat as if hes in pain or something,

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 27, 2014, 8:38 GMT)

Wow, 34 years old now. Harris cant have much gas left in the tank as a fast bowler especially with injuries. Also post surgery it will be a battle for him to regain his place but he is a fighter and a great sportsman. I have a feeling the selectors will still drop him though and give Pattinson a go to inject some momentum.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 27, 2014, 8:36 GMT)

A fant. quick arg. 3rd best going around after-bowler of this gen.-Mitch and Steyn-in that order.Inj/fitness issues to such a bowler will be a deathly blow for any side esp. bef. crucial TM but not Aus.Not much in any case.B'cos of their immense depth.

Posted by 11kgm on (February 27, 2014, 8:27 GMT)

I like the idea of Bird in for Siddle but not for harris. Two container won't work

Posted by diegoblunt on (February 27, 2014, 8:21 GMT)

Harris is an incredible bowler and I'd select him even with one knee. What a pro and teammate he is to suggest dropping him on form after 2 bad tests. Hopefully his surgery works and he plays until 38.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 27, 2014, 8:09 GMT)

He must be given a break for sure. The knee is troubling him perhaps. Let's have Patto for this one.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

Harris has been a major disappointment for the tour thus far. Memories of the magic to the English top order seem a world away. If he's struggling with his body and confidence and has been pushed hard over the past few months then surely it's the right move to draft another bowler? The issue now is that his potential replacements are all underdone. Pattinson can be either lethal or wayward while Bird may not have his line down pat and suffer for his lack of pace.

Posted by badyon on (February 27, 2014, 7:58 GMT)

Pattinson for Harris, Bird for Siddle, Watto for Marsh.

Longer term -- Faulkner and Cummins.

Posted by wanatawu on (February 27, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

Yo, Harris said it felt like Amla was driving him for him, thats sounds funny.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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South Africa v Australia at Centurion - Mar 14, 2014
Australia won by 6 wickets (with 30 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Durban - Mar 12, 2014
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Mar 9, 2014
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