SL Board XI v Australians, Colombo, 1st day August 25, 2011

Copeland boosts selection chances


A too-thin layer of sunblock was about the only mistake Trent Copeland made on his first day as an Australian cricketer as he knocked over Sri Lanka Board XI's top order on his way to figures of 5 for 47. If those figures are an accurate indicator of his quality, and based on the calibre of the victims it is difficult to argue that they aren't, there are likely to be many more days in an Australian shirt to come.

Chief among his victims was Thilan Samaraweera, the middle order batsman with an average of 54.08 in Tests. Copeland reckoned that was the most satisfying of his wickets, but there was also Tharanga Paranavitana, the Test opener, and Angelo Mathews, the allrounder who was recently named Sri Lanka Test vice-captain.

"Samaraweera is a guy who is entrenched in their middle order and he's averaged 60-odd in Test cricket for the last few years," Copeland said. "To build some pressure on him and get him to play a loose shot like that - it probably wasn't the best ball I bowled all day, but that's something I aspire to do is take Test wickets, so for me he is a Test player and it is something I can measure myself against.

"I'm absolutely stoked to have played my first real game as an Australian cricketer and to have taken five wickets is absolutely astonishing. We've still got a second innings to play in this game and I'm just absolutely enjoying where I'm at the moment. Opening the bowling for an Australian side, getting some nicks through to Brad Haddin and talking to Michael Clarke about field settings and stuff like that, it's a little bit beyond my wildest dreams. I said to myself I needed to make an impression when I got here and hopefully I have done."

The Board XI began in a manner that might have frustrated a less focused touring side, scrapping to 82 for no loss before Copeland struck with the last ball before lunch. Regular wickets ensued once play started after the interval and by stumps the Australian openers were in firmly entrenched at the crease.

"I think it was all about patience," Copeland said. "We spoke before the game and at length at lunch about the lengths we were going to bowl and about being patient and I suppose I got the rewards. The boys all bowled well and in different patches I got rewards where the other guys were bowling well as well.

"Early on it [the pitch] was a little bit tacky and seamed around a little bit, but overhead conditions and the on-field conditions allowed the ball to go reverse a little bit for us, so that's a good sign and something we can expect over the Test series, so getting used to bowling a little bit of reverse swing is always going to be helpful, but yeah conducive to fast bowling is about results.

"It's not about how much swing you get, I think it's just about being patient and you get the rewards when you build some dots and build some pressure. People obviously know I can bowl long spells and today was a really good hit-out, getting out there today and bowling some long spells. It's hot over here, the wickets are flat, the opposition are very talented, so you've just got to be able to bowl, and bowl and bowl until you get them out."

Reverse swing was cited as one area of Australian deficiency in the pages of the Argus report, but Copeland said the tourists had managed to get the ball swinging against the shine on a dry pitch and wicket square. Peter Siddle, not the best of the bowlers with figures of 0 for 55 from 11 overs, was nonetheless important as the custodian of the ball.

"Peter Siddle did most of it today, he's one guy who doesn't sweat too much and keeps the ball dry and looks after it," Copeland said. "But it doesn't matter where you play in the world you've got to look after the ball, whether it is for genuine swing or reverse. But I think we got our head around how we can make it go reverse and when we do we've got some good bowlers to take advantage plus two good spinners to bowl at the same time."

As for the only mistake of his day, Copeland's red face is not something that should be seen too many more times this tour. "I'm a little bit sunburnt, but I'll learn from that, I'll put some more on tomorrow," he said. On the evidence of his bowling, Copeland is among the fastest of learners.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Christopher on August 28, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    As erratic as Johnson is,his S/R is formidable and he has 181 wickets from 42 tests as supporting evidence.Hes frustrating,but when he fires,he wins Tests.Im a big subscriber to high quality persistance and endurance over brilliance.Its taken England to number1.Johnson is an annoying exception to that rule,because he has exceptional results.Hes rated highly internationally and i expect,many Test teams would want him.Coulter Nile has far more to recommend him as a future Test player and is very fast.7 games,32 wickets at 23,S/R 45.Pattinson has less supporting evidence.6 games,19 wickets at 29,S/R 60.Nets form is no form.I understand people wanting to have a punt on a favourite.But i far prefer the best qualified players to be representing Australia every game.Its the heart of the Argus message and at the core of all successful ventures.For now,im happy to see Pattinson in ODI and Coulter Nile developed for Tests.One day,they could play alongside each other if their records warrant it.

  • Hector on August 28, 2011, 1:42 GMT make very good points here regarding fitness and hit the nail on the head regarding the coaching standards of our cricket team. Siddle looked fantastic for a short time after coming back from injury but does seem to be on a downward spiral.. I remember him clocking 150 in some deliveries. We do not see anything above 142 now. I think a proper physical evaluation should be carried out on all players...particularly Siddle and Bollinger (and Harris). As for Pattinson, I've watched him bowl...he is 21 yrs old..reminds me a bit Fleming..but faster. He is very good now. While I totally disagree the way they pick our spinners..records totally ignored because most have virtually no record...Lyon, Beer, etc. there is some justification in picking a player on talent. Those that face Pattinson in the nets will tell you. He is a better bowler than spray gun NOW and he is better than Siddle. I think Copeland IS great...should play in the first test..with Pattinson..great combo!

  • Christopher on August 27, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    I think its possible that Siddle hasnt ever fully recovered from his injured back.The inconsistency he has displayed since returning is at odds with his record prior to his injury.It must be evident,that though some compare him to current Australian bowling coach,Craig McDermott,with his charging run and powerful delivery,his action is brutal on his body and nowhere near as smooth as his coach.I recall his surprise,when training with Carlton Football Club to help in his recovery,on finding the level of strength and fitness expected of professional athletes.The implications for those players falling under the CA regime at that point were significant.That Bollinger was recently chastised for similarly unquantified failings, beggars the question of how those tasked with informing and overseeing players well being,are measured.I wonder if the lack of professionalism,vigilance and auditable progress paths,attributable to this administration and its coaches,may have claimed another player.

  • Christopher on August 27, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    I dont see any supporting evidence for Pattinsons inclusion as test bowler.Im not suggesting that he cant become one.His oneday record is excellent.But as we've seen with Copeland and O'Keefe,that doesnt automatically translate across formats.There are 1st class bowlers in Australia with far better records in the longer formats.They and Australia deserve the best records to play first.The recurring theme of the Argus Review is rewarding results.I also feel that comments suggesting that Copeland should increase his pace are is ill informed as those comments on technique being more important than results in batsmen.He may take less wickets if pushed to be different.Speed is a guarantee of nothing.Thats what happened with Hughes,who is only now recovering by returning to his original methods.Id have Bollinger,O'Keefe,Copeland and Johnson in my best eleven.Harris as 12th man.Id have Coulter-Nile as my development quick. In the absence of a standout,North would be my off spinner of choice.

  • Hector on August 26, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Actually, our best pace attack..whether you all like to admit it..would be Pattinson, Copeland and Siddle. Harris is not going to last..his knees are shot..and Johnston doesn't know where the pitch is. When one looks at each of these 3 bowlers individually and then what they bring to the have 3 complimentary bowlers. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED...a fast bowling team..! Pattinson has the potential to be as good as Damien Fleming...a very threatening bowler (because of the huge swing he could generate). Copeland is smart with the potential to do what McGrath did..he just needs another 10 kms an hour. He is an outstanding prospect! Siddle needs simply to evaluate the wicket better and bowl accordingly. He lacks patience but he tries his guts out. His batting and fielding highlight that he is a team player. This is the type of bowler the Australian team needs...not one who looks like he is trying to wipe out the square leg umpire or the SSA. And get rid of terra cotta gloves Haddin!

  • Dummy4 on August 26, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    they will pick copeland, if they dont I will not follow the team until they learn how to pick players that are in form and not on history!!!! Hussey should go after this series, he looks so hopeless again out in the middle.. And if anyone knew about quality spin, they would have picked O'keefe in front of the other two, I've watched this guy for 2 years he will play for australia soon, he can bat too!!! Siddle has a big heart but he's no copeland, this guy should have been picked last year if any of the selectors had a brain..

  • Dummy4 on August 26, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Ive been saying for the last 2 years trent copeland is the man. It is the perfect balance for Johnson, to have someone like a stuart clark, mcgrath type bowler who keeps the pressure on and keeps it tight and still picking up wickets for johnson to attack down the other end, it takes the pressure of johnson. when siddle is going for 4.5 runs per over and johnsons going for 5 runs per over, it makes it very hard for the rest of the team. Definately the best balanced attack is Johnson, Copeland, Harris, Lyon is better then Beer but the selectors will go with beer and Watson. thats my bowling lineup. Looks like Hughes is in good touch again, he played well for Aus A and Khawaja is making some runs which is good. My team for 1st test would be Watson, Hughes, ponting, clarke, hussey, khawaja, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Copeland, Lyon. Although this summer i want to see O'keefe as the spinner, happy with the rest of the squad.

  • Andrew on August 26, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    i like this guy as a bowler...the type Australia is looking for. He can bowl ball after ball in the same spot and consistently ask questions of the batting techniques. His wickets in the first innings were one lbw, one bowled and 3 caught by the keeper...that is how you bowl. He's done it in Grade, for NSW and he's now doing it for Australia A and Australia. Must be picked

  • Andrew on August 26, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    @hyclass - I actually read somewhere that the Ashes "incident" spawned THREE reviews, the Argus was the big one, the corporate governance is headed by two persons (forgot their names as it was on WWOS & I was tending to my kids who was cracking the xxxx over something & so I couldn't get all the detail), & have absolutely know idea what the 3rd one would be for? (maybe review the reviews)??? == == == Interesting trend developing in the Tour & Oz A games in Zimbabwe. Oz struggle to make early inroads, but then come back hard over the course of an innings. Copeland reportably was very unlucky in Zimbabwe, & he kept it tight, in this game things went his way & he was rewarded. Bodes well that Oz have taken a slightly different approach & not go all guns blazing in the field but strangle the opposition into mistakes. The Board XI was a decent batting line up, so Oz did well.

  • Andrew on August 26, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    @katandthat3 - its no coincidence that Copeland has come thru a regime (NSW) that spawned McGrath then Clark, he wouldn't have spent much time with McGrath, but he shared quality game time & on the road with Stuey! I wish Brett Lee would reconsider & play Shield cricket. The lessons other cricketers (Cummins, Hazlewood, & Starc), would learn in the nets with him would be immeasurable. Same goes for Stuey Clark. == == == Siddle is interesting because he reminds me heaps of the current bowling coach. I remember when Billy the Kid burst on the scene & then amidst great expectations fizzled for a season or two, then making a 2nd coming of sorts a much more complete cricketer. Siddle (like the Kid), is straying onto leg too much, which relieves pressure. Tidies that up he will be a very USEFUL bowler for Oz, he is the sort of bloke a captain would like to have as he tries all day. Just needs to keep it tight as well!

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