Sri Lanka v Australia, 3rd Test, Colombo

Siddle to shed aggro, bowl fuller

Daniel Brettig in Colombo

September 15, 2011

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Peter Siddle was pumped during his afternoon spell, Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day, November 25, 2010
Michael Clarke: "With the new ball we need to be bowling fuller, and Siddle has been working on that." © Getty Images
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Australia's captain Michael Clarke believes Peter Siddle can overturn his habit of bowling short, built up during his four years in international cricket, and revert to the fuller length he needs to be a dangerous fast bowler against Sri Lanka in the third Test in Colombo.

Admired as a hard-working, hostile paceman, Siddle has not always been an example of subtlety, and was often used by former captain Ricky Ponting as an enforcer in the vein of Merv Hughes. In Sri Lanka such methods could lead to long, draining stints in the field against the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, in his 100th Test, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan.

To that end, Australia's pacemen have employed a disciplined line and a fuller length against the hosts, looking for edges, lbws and to have them bowled, with conspicuous success. However the absence of Ryan Harris means it will be Siddle who now has to look for swing and seam, rather than the bounce and intimidation with which he has generally preferred to take wickets.

"All of our bowlers have been working on their length since they've been here," Clarke said. "That's something that Craig McDermott [Australia's bowling coach] has certainly made very clear - with the new ball we needed to be bowling fuller, we needed to be giving ourselves a chance, and Sidds [Siddle] has done that.

"I've watched him bowl at every net session he's had and he's definitely improved his length. I think there were a few reasons why he didn't perform how he would have liked in the practice game [Siddle went wicketless]. He's had two weeks since then to train with Stuart Karppinen [the fitness coach], who has made it very clear he wanted him fitter and stronger, and to bowl a lot more in the nets to work on his length.

"Rhino [Harris] has got the ball to come back in and he's bowled blokes through the gate, got lbws. Sidds can swing the new ball away, but one of his greatest strengths and what he does naturally is bring the ball back in off the pitch to the right-handers or take it away from the left-handers."

Clarke, however, did not rule out a shorter-pitched attack from Siddle and Mitchell Johnson, given the right circumstances.

"The other thing Sidds has is, he can bowl 150kph and can crank it up. If there's not much in the wicket he's got a very good bouncer so he can push the batters back," Clarke said. "It brings in other ways to take wickets as well. Not only can Mitch bowl at good pace, but Sidds can as well, and if there's not much in the wicket there might be a few more bouncers than we've seen [so far]."

Johnson, too, has something to prove, having struggled for wickets and rhythm in the series. Unable to produce the inswing of his pomp, Johnson has concentrated on angling the ball across the right-handers. But he is yet to bowl the sort of hair-raising spell that has kept him in the Australia team, as an occasional matchwinner, since his debut against Sri Lanka in 2007.

"I think Mitch's role has been similar throughout the on- dayers and the Tests," Clarke said. "There hasn't been much swing around, but he's got extra pace and being left-handed brings in variation [to the attack]. If there's swing around he can swing the ball in, but he's also got a beautiful angle to take it across the right-handers whether it is reversing or not.

"It also gives us the option for somebody to reverse the ball into the left-handers. Mitch has just got to keep doing what he is doing. I thought he bowled really well in the last Test without much luck - a few balls bounced short of me at second slip, there were a few play and misses. I think everybody needs to continue to do what they're doing. We spoke about discipline and execution, and it is going to take every single one of us doing that at the highest level to have success in this Test match."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by hyclass on (September 16, 2011, 13:33 GMT)

Agreed @Jono Makim.Other than the tour game,his recent figures are pretty decent.I dont think he was fully fit against England,after his back injury.He could well have an impact.

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 16, 2011, 13:03 GMT)

PeterCook ---- yeah they did hey. its not like he was the ashes best bowler and took a hattrick or anything, hes such a poor bowler hey. you represent all the idiots that comment on here. its unbelievable really but it brings me comfort to know you all know less than nothing about cricket and are all retards

Posted by Percy_Fender on (September 16, 2011, 12:30 GMT)

Siddle is a good, honest old fashioned trier who can be depended upon more for his hands on deck attitude, not for bowling acumen. You can never catch him for want of effort. Sadly however, he is not a wicket taking bowler at the moment despite his 150 kph bowling. I feel it is something between the ears. And that is a shortcoming he is not likely to get over in a hurry. He needs to see videos of the batsmen he is likely to bowl to and then instill his bowling strategy. Left to himself he will give us all the benefit of his matchless smile. I wish he proves me wrong though.

Posted by PeterCook on (September 16, 2011, 11:40 GMT)

He was a joke in the ashes, England's batsman destroyed him.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

I'll throw my hat into the ring as a Siddle fan too. He works very hard at his bowling and his batting too. There seems to be some seam movement in this pitch(not sure if it will last!) and it may just suit him.

Posted by Nerk on (September 16, 2011, 3:53 GMT)

Don't write of Siddle. He is a trier, a good honest cricketer. He does get carried away with the short ball, as he did last summer, but when he pitches it up there he is far more dangerous. Personally, I think its amazing how these coaches think. "Right son" they say, "pitch it up on the stumps and you have a better chance of getting a wicket than if you keep bowling it short." Blimey, my primary school teacher taught me that.

Posted by 12433729 on (September 16, 2011, 3:12 GMT)

@no_excuses Pattinson bowls 140-145kph, Harris Johnson and Siddle can all hit 150

Posted by Dashgar on (September 16, 2011, 2:16 GMT)

@spence1324, you clearly didn't see him bowl at the MCG after Harris went down injured. He was the only player on the entire field who was trying. Took 2 amazing catches off Johnson as well as 6 wickets. He finds ways to get involved even when he isn't taking wickets, just look at his match winning 30 batting with Mike Hussey at Sydney vs Pakistan. He has a great attitude, bowls fast (not fast medium), attacks the stumps and if he can get his length right will be a danger on any pitch.

Posted by No_Excuses on (September 16, 2011, 1:57 GMT)

Peter Siddle has a number of admirable traits but he is honest trier at best. Why not play James Pattinson - he is the fastest bowler in the touring party, is tall and gets good bounce and has massive upside. The selectors need to start playing some of the young quicks like Pattinson, Hazelwood, Starc rather than cog above average types like Siddle, Bollinger and Johnson. The young blokes won't go any worse than the experienced hands and may go a whole lot better.

Posted by inefekt on (September 16, 2011, 1:08 GMT)

Siddle's main liability as a bowler was bowling too short. We saw what he is capable of when he pitches the ball up when he took those wickets in the first innings at the Gabba. Now that the coaches are imploring him to bowl fuller we should at least give him a chance to see if he can recapture that Gabba form by bowling that same length. Johnson, on the other hand, has decided to give away the only weapon that made him devastating ie inswingers. Those 'one in 6 month' spells he used to produce came when he did get the ball to swing back into the right hander. Now that he is not even attempting to bowl inswingers we can safely assume that those rare test match spells will become even rarer. Time to move him out of the test squad to join Lee as a specialist short form bowler.

Posted by landl47 on (September 15, 2011, 20:33 GMT)

Without Harris, Siddle is going to have to bowl way better than he did in the Ashes series to give the Aus attack some teeth. Copeland bowls tight but he doesn't do enough to take a lot of wickets and Johnson only makes the batsmen play at 1 or 2 an over (only jonesy2 could think he has bowled 'beautifully'). Lyon won't be a factor unless it's another dustbowl. Sri Lanka's attack is even worse, so unless either Sri Lanka's or Australia's batsmen have a brain cramp and give it away, we could be looking at a high-scoring draw. I'm also a bit puzzled by Ponting being brought back into the team. He's made 161 runs in his last 10 test innings and the only time he's reached 50 was in the dead innings at the end of the first Ashes test. Otherwise, he's averaging 12 in innings that mattered over his last 6 tests. Why would he be preferred to Khawaja? Because of his potential for the future? Or because he was such a good player until a couple of years ago?

Posted by madscientist001 on (September 15, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

Siddle! You got to be kidding me! The match will be drawn or Australia will lose. Siddle is a one day bowler, that is he would have a good day bowling every 15 days of test cricket, he is not due for a good performance for another 14 days of test cricket. The only hope is that the bowling coach can sink some sense into his extremely thick skull and he pitches the ball up otherwise OZ is playing a bowler short.

Posted by spence1324 on (September 15, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

@DASHGAR he get a hatrick in that first test,then we all forget he was playing in the rest of the series.

Posted by Dashgar on (September 15, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

I'm clearly one of Siddle's only fans on this site. Glad he's in the team, he will do well against Sri Lanka. Got to remember he's still relatively young and hasn't been coached all that well but tries his all anyway. Gave the English a few serious scares over the summer and will be fired up to add to his 74 test wickets

Posted by Marcio on (September 15, 2011, 13:51 GMT)

Clearly Johnson is going to have to step up a gear or two if AUS are to bowl SL out twice in this game. Will he have his one-game-in-twenty spell of genius? How long has it been since his last one again?

Let's see Siddle knock himself out on a flat SL deck. It should be fun to watch.

Posted by Biggus on (September 15, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

Fancy that eh? Like many of the fans I would have tried that some time ago. Well, fine words but let's see what happens. I like Siddle's mojo but he bowls on the pads way too much for my liking. I think I would have preferred to blood a new quick myself rather than recall him but such is life. Weather reports suggest a draw and I have a feeling it may be a relatively dull game but you just never know. I can happily live with 1-0 after the train wreck that was the Ashes series. There's lots of premature talk about an Australian resurgence that has relied primarily on the bowling of the excellent but 'nearing use-by date' Harris and some acceptable batting performances against an admittedly comatose SL attack, of which the foremost have been provided by Hussey, himself no spring chicken. Marsh's ton on debut is all very nice but what will it be worth Vs SA or ENG? I still see lots of holes in this side and much to do but I'm liking Clarke's captaincy, which isn't a bad start.

Posted by HatsforBats on (September 15, 2011, 12:37 GMT)

I'm happy for Siddle to get another crack. We all know what happened to Brett Lee early on, being told to be the enforcer. Maybe that's what has happened? Here's hoping he bowls that good length, with his natural movement he will cause problems especially with the new ball.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

Very similar to the kind of talk around Stuart Broad before the India series. It does make you wonder about coaching sometimes when it appears to take so long for something so obvious to be addressed. Can Australia rely on someone with Harris' physical and Johnson's apparent mental problems in the medium to long term?

Posted by LesGrossman on (September 15, 2011, 12:26 GMT)

hhhhmmm.... pitching it up to let the ball swing, this is the kind of crazy and zany ideas australia needs to try. Obviously the tried and tested plan of "bowling short and wide to alistair cook so he can play 4 cut shots an over and leave the other two and hope he gets lost on the way back from lunch" didn't work exactly as planned. But seriously, I hope they continue down this path of bowling at the top of off stump, they went away from it in the 2nd innings in the 2nd test, started bowling wide again, then on the 5th morning they go back to top of off and take 4/80 before the rain. Also, mitchell simply needs to shorten his delivery stride to make the ball swing. Try this at home, take the biggest stride possible and then try and bowl. Bet u bowled round arm right??? Pretty hard to get the seam up eh? Shorten the stride so you can bowl over the front leg rather than around it.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2011, 12:22 GMT)

To Shrii Ram i am 100% in agreement with you

Posted by dsig3 on (September 15, 2011, 12:00 GMT)

He needs to just bowl a good length neither short nor full. Thats what he would do when he first got into the team. He has natural zip/bounce whatever you call it off the deck. He is not Harris, he is a hit the deck bowler and always will be. Many bowlers have tried to be things that they are not and ignored what got them to this level in the first place.

Posted by   on (September 15, 2011, 11:31 GMT)

Cannot comprehend recalling Siddle when he's been so consistently poor for so long. If Harris is not going to be a bankable strike bowler, you don't recall the proven poor. You find your next bankable strike bowler somewhere else.

Posted by thewayitwass on (September 15, 2011, 11:25 GMT)

it took them this long to figure it out? i was screeching that at the television all throughout the ashes! all you had to do was watch tremlett bresnan and anderson.. heck watch any cricket watsoever..

Posted by   on (September 15, 2011, 10:57 GMT)

Johnson needs to be dropped and need to bring in some other replacements

Posted by   on (September 15, 2011, 10:51 GMT)

Finally Australia have learnt to rely on discipline rather than flamboyance which they tried and failed for the past 4 years. Think Clarke is a very good captain knowing his strengths and weakness. I am sure he will become a force to reckon with.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (September 15, 2011, 10:34 GMT)

What a great idea! Siddle should bowl fuller! Fantastic! Why haven't they thought of that earlier? Oh, they have for the last 3 the fans and not the well paid coaches...

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 15, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

the first bit contradicts the last bit, siddle will still be the enforcer especially later in the innings' but needs to get get early swing and wickets with the new ball. johnson has been bowling beautifully, he hasnt got the wickets but he is the reason most of them fall.

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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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