Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane November 24, 2010

Injury lay-off costs Bollinger his place

45

A lack of game time has cost Doug Bollinger his spot for the first Ashes Test despite him being Australia's most potent bowler of the past 12 months. Peter Siddle won the final place in the XI on his pre-injury reputation, but the same set of guidelines did not apply to Bollinger.

Bollinger picked up 47 wickets at 22.02 in his past 10 matches but the numbers were not enough to regain his position after hurting his stomach in the first Test in India. While Siddle, who has appeared in 17 Tests, has completed a solid workout in the domestic and limited-overs sides, Bollinger was limited to one four-day fixture for New South Wales.

"Lack of bowling [for Bollinger] over the last few weeks has been as much to do with it as anything," Ricky Ponting said as he announced his side. "Just the fact this line-up had good success in South Africa and at times in England last series. We feel that [Ben] Hilfenhaus and Siddle are very well advanced in their preparations for this series and [Mitchell] Johnson has a lot of cricket under his belt. We think this attack is good enough to take 20 wickets at the Gabba."

Johnson has the most victims for Australia over the past 12 months with 52, but Bollinger's strike-rate of a wicket every 41.7 balls is seven better than Johnson's. Siddle has not played a Test since January after suffering a back stress fracture that kept him out of tours to New Zealand, England and India.

For the past two years the Australians have raved about the Johnson-Siddle-Hilfenhaus pace attack because of its stunning work in the opening two Tests of the 2008-09 series in South Africa. The trio also led the overall wicket list during the 2009 Ashes but it wasn't enough to set up a series victory.

Ponting briefly considered a four-man pace attack for this game but quickly changed his mind when he saw the pitch. The surface is light green and Ponting said it looked like a normal Gabba wicket, but he was cagey when asked if he would still bat first. "We will wait and see what happens," he said.

The forecast cloudy conditions and humidity will add to the dangers offered by the wicket, but Ponting still wanted the safety of a spinner and Tasmania's Xavier Doherty will make his debut. The bowlers are expected to control the match and even though the Australians have had trouble on seaming surfaces lately, Ponting believed England would have more difficulty handling the extra bounce.

"History suggests that every touring team coming to Australia generally finds here and Perth the places harder to adjust and adapt to," he said. "England have been here a while and in Hobart last week it seamed around a little bit. But history suggests we handle these conditions very, very well and opposition teams struggled a bit." Australia have not lost a game at the Gabba since they were beaten by West Indies in 1988-89.

Michael Clarke batted strongly in the nets and completed a fielding session as well to secure his place. "I've got to wait till tomorrow morning to see how I pull up, but it felt good today," he said during training.

Ponting said there was no danger in using Clarke, who needed injections after a recurrence of his persistent back problem two weeks ago. "I wouldn't have thought there would be a risk involved," he said. "It's a big game for us at the start of the series and you don't want to go with a cloud hanging over anybody. That was why he was asked to do as much batting as he did yesterday and again today. We couldn't afford to leave any stone unturned as far as preparation is concerned."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 25, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    @"siddle is out of form" .... lol :)

  • Hodra99 on November 25, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    So how many of you Siddle knockers on here are eating humble pie right now??? Like I said before the game Siddle will take wickets in this game....and he has done better than Dougy would have..Go Aussies!

  • Rusty_1 on November 24, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    @ landl47 - the point is that he is good in Australia. Who cares is he only picked up a handful of wickets in England? He made a huge impact in the IPL & was bowling really well in India before pulling up injured on the last (and crucial) day of the first test in India. Make no mistake - in Australian conditions he is superb & far superior to Siddle.

    @ Peter Bourke - Well said mate. Very frustrating selections.

  • Bigbanger666 on November 24, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    @Peter Bourke : Spot on. I think you have summed up most followers feelings exactly.

  • LeftHandedBeast on November 24, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Harris would have been available if he wasnt injured and would have been a good selection. If Bollinger is fully fit he should be playing instead of Siddle, heck he is the most consistant out of all the pace bowlers considered. Siddle will try hard all day, he is a workhorse but lets not forget this is his first international game since injury, so game rust could be a factor. Should be a cracker of a test match weather permitting i cant wait!!!!

  • on November 24, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Aussies are difficult to comprehend...may be becos they lack common sense. Bollinger is their man to be in that sqad leading the bowling attack, and now he is out of the sqaud..u must be kidding...anyways...bollinger alone cud not have saved another australian debacle... Strauss this is the time to take off Punter out of the playing 11 ;-)

  • on November 24, 2010, 21:44 GMT

    Stupidity at it best!!!1 leaving out your best bowler and choosing a debutant spinner. Are the Aussies lost their sense of cricket?

  • leggetinoz on November 24, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    I would not want to be facing up to NSW this week in the shield. Dougie did not look happy and apaprently sent down a fierce session in the nets in fron tof the selectors who were on the receiving end of the stares that he usually reserves for opposition batsmen.

    The stupid thing is that the reason that he has had a long lay off is that he followed the instructions from the team physios to the letter. He has been saying for ages he is right to go and got through a shield match with no problems and then was told to rest. I just hope that this either forces Siddle to prove to everyone he should be in the team and does not result in the rest of australia proving they can choose a better team then the selectors when siddle struggles and dougie takes a bag of wickets for NSW.

  • soorajiyer on November 24, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    Bolly should have been there :( And Siddle at his best is never unplayable! Can somebody pls get Hodge to play :((

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 24, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    Bollinger and Ryan Harris should have both been playing. I don't believe that they were still suffering from injuries. Siddle is out of form and Hilfenhaus I am not convinced is good in Australian conditions.

  • on November 25, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    @"siddle is out of form" .... lol :)

  • Hodra99 on November 25, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    So how many of you Siddle knockers on here are eating humble pie right now??? Like I said before the game Siddle will take wickets in this game....and he has done better than Dougy would have..Go Aussies!

  • Rusty_1 on November 24, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    @ landl47 - the point is that he is good in Australia. Who cares is he only picked up a handful of wickets in England? He made a huge impact in the IPL & was bowling really well in India before pulling up injured on the last (and crucial) day of the first test in India. Make no mistake - in Australian conditions he is superb & far superior to Siddle.

    @ Peter Bourke - Well said mate. Very frustrating selections.

  • Bigbanger666 on November 24, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    @Peter Bourke : Spot on. I think you have summed up most followers feelings exactly.

  • LeftHandedBeast on November 24, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Harris would have been available if he wasnt injured and would have been a good selection. If Bollinger is fully fit he should be playing instead of Siddle, heck he is the most consistant out of all the pace bowlers considered. Siddle will try hard all day, he is a workhorse but lets not forget this is his first international game since injury, so game rust could be a factor. Should be a cracker of a test match weather permitting i cant wait!!!!

  • on November 24, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Aussies are difficult to comprehend...may be becos they lack common sense. Bollinger is their man to be in that sqad leading the bowling attack, and now he is out of the sqaud..u must be kidding...anyways...bollinger alone cud not have saved another australian debacle... Strauss this is the time to take off Punter out of the playing 11 ;-)

  • on November 24, 2010, 21:44 GMT

    Stupidity at it best!!!1 leaving out your best bowler and choosing a debutant spinner. Are the Aussies lost their sense of cricket?

  • leggetinoz on November 24, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    I would not want to be facing up to NSW this week in the shield. Dougie did not look happy and apaprently sent down a fierce session in the nets in fron tof the selectors who were on the receiving end of the stares that he usually reserves for opposition batsmen.

    The stupid thing is that the reason that he has had a long lay off is that he followed the instructions from the team physios to the letter. He has been saying for ages he is right to go and got through a shield match with no problems and then was told to rest. I just hope that this either forces Siddle to prove to everyone he should be in the team and does not result in the rest of australia proving they can choose a better team then the selectors when siddle struggles and dougie takes a bag of wickets for NSW.

  • soorajiyer on November 24, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    Bolly should have been there :( And Siddle at his best is never unplayable! Can somebody pls get Hodge to play :((

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 24, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    Bollinger and Ryan Harris should have both been playing. I don't believe that they were still suffering from injuries. Siddle is out of form and Hilfenhaus I am not convinced is good in Australian conditions.

  • Edassery on November 24, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    Bollinger's association with Champions league and himself picking injury there in cost him the place. Ponting and Clarke had already expressed their displeasure on Bollinger's priorities during the India tour.

  • jachalke on November 24, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    Sorry Doug...... You are the best they got and they keeping you away... Leave the IPL and play for your country....

  • SettingSun on November 24, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    @RJHB - haha, I think the only fingers Johnson will be smashing will be those of whatever poor sod is stood at second or third slip when he starts flinging down his usual pies.

  • Ganes.V on November 24, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Australia already took the first step towards losing the first test! Bollinger was by far the best bowler for Australia in the last 12 months or so! They were showing signs of being a stronger side like before ( when Glen McGrath and Shane warne wree there) and now that advantage is lost! Even before the series started, the opinion poll said England were favourites and this decision of not including Doug Bollinger in the playing 11 has only added more strength to that opinion poll! You dont need any more best wishes England! Ponting already wished you!

  • TheLonelyisland on November 24, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    I would have thought that for an article discussing Bollinger, cricinfo would have at least used a picture of him rather than one of Peter Siddle.

  • on November 24, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Man this just makes me angry. Bollinger is CLEARLY our best bowler at the moment. When he got injured in that test in India, we couldn't get the last couple of wickets. The rave about the attack that won in South Africa, but they LOST in England. Also Bollinger's bowling led to many victories in the tests last home season. If Bollinger is a concern, why then is Clarke, Katich or Siddle not a concern? By the sounds of it, Clarke is more of a liability than what Doug was going to be. I hope the selectors get him back in for the rest of the series. In addition to all this, Bollinger averages 23, the other guys all hover around 30 or above. Man it is so frustrating being a supporter of this team at the moment when the selectors just continue to make bonehead decisions (if you pick Smith as a backup batsman, why fly in an extra batsman for injury cover?? don't pick Smith at all!)

  • landl47 on November 24, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    I'm rather surprised to hear how highly Aussie fans rate Bollinger. He took a hatful of wickets against New Zealand, West Indies and Pakistan in Australia, but those aren't exactly the strongest batting sides around. Against Pakistan in England he looked very ordinary; not just only 5 wickets @ 36 each against a woeful batting side (England knocked tham over 3 times for under 100), but he couldn't keep a line and length to the openers who just watched ball after ball go by. At times I thought I was watching Johnson bowling from both ends! Siddle at least bowls a consistent line, although he bowls too short in my opinion. Harris would have been my choice (he looked very good in England till he was injured) but he couldn't be picked because he's not fit enough. Still, I would like England's chances against any combination of Australian bowlers. The fact that there is so little to choose between them says they are all average, not top test bowlers.

  • luke_ad_murphy on November 24, 2010, 12:40 GMT

    Looks lilke Oz are struggling to pull a decent side together - a spinner on debut with a poor first class record, leaving out the best bowler of the past 12 months for another guy with an injured past, and a vice captain with a crook back.

    I too hope the real Johnson shows up, so England can cart him round the park at 6 an over again! That Pommy spinner can carry on picking up wickets, happy at where the odds are stacked between those two bowlers.

    Toss will be vital.

  • popcorn on November 24, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    Superb,lethal,pace attack with the X factor, Xavier Doherty! England in tatters and confused even before the first ball is bowled!

  • yezdi70 on November 24, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    With the absence of Doug I dont see how the Aussies are going to win this match so easily as they are claiming. I am putting my money on the Poms. Petty politics will ensure that Punter's exit from the Aussie team will be unceremonious.

  • on November 24, 2010, 11:45 GMT

    Cannot believe the people who are saying playing Siddle over Dougie is wrong. Simple fact is that Doug has had a long injury layoff and simply does not have the workload in the body to risk playing him in a test. Siddle on the other hand has played far more cricket in the last month, is fully fit and has been bowling very well in all forms of the game domestically. Do some research people!!

  • on November 24, 2010, 11:40 GMT

    I reckon the Aussies got it wrong with their team choice: 1 Simon Katich, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Xavier Doherty, 10 Peter Siddle, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.

    My changes would be: 4 Cameron White, 7 Steve Smith & 10 Ryan Harris

  • on November 24, 2010, 11:31 GMT

    @ Davo47 when have the selectors ever worried about having an equal spead of the staes (t20 v sri lanka) for as long as i can remember they have done all that they can to leave qld'ers out of the team(love, law, even hayden had to be the best batsman in the country for 10 years before he got a decent go)

  • KallisTheBest on November 24, 2010, 11:13 GMT

    not much of difference between the two. siddle got good pace, plus he is ready to play 5 days cricket. i dont think its a political decision but rather wise.

  • Hodra99 on November 24, 2010, 10:42 GMT

    Australia are spoilt for fast bowling options at the moment, and it is their strength. Siddle will take some wickets in the match and Australia will win this test. They don't have the same luxury with quality in form reserve batsman though, and this may cost them a match at some point in the series. England supporters forget how hard it is to beat Australia in home conditions. Australia 3-1.

  • nzcricket174 on November 24, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Good work Australian selectors, you have now lost the Ashes for your country. I hope a mob of angry cricket lovers hunt you down. You just dropped quite possibly the best seamer in Australia for a guy who has not played Test Cricket in a while. Obviously Punter doesn't get a say in any of the selections, because he definitely would not have left Doug out. I'm a Kiwi and I was looking forward to some good cricket. Thanks for ruining my viewing time and I look forward to a boring Ashes series where the England batsmen have fun.

  • Brendanvio on November 24, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    Absurd decision. Do the selectors want to hand England the Ashes? Bollinger is one of the finest bowlers in the world let alone Australia. Siddle? What has he done to warrant re-selection?

    Dumb dumb dumb. Dougie would have made a massive difference on a Gabba pitch.

  • David47 on November 24, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    Dougie didn't miss out because of an injury "lay-off" - he missed out so the only Victorian in the side could play. Make no mistake, the selectors want to ensure that as many states as possible are represented in the 11. That's why Peter George got the nod when injury struck in India - not that he was the next best quick - he's from SA. When Ryan Harris is fully fit he'll come in because he's from QLD (in his case he also deserves to be there on merit because he's the best quick in the country). Personally, I wouldn't care if all 11 were from Victoria, as long as they were the best 11 in their positions in the country. Also, the selectors don't want to play two left armers because Swann might use the rough they create outside the right handers off stump to get extra purchase off the deck. But do you leave out one of Australia's best three quicks because you're worried about the opposition's spinner?? - Noooo. But with our selectors anything can and will happen, including losing.

  • RJHB on November 24, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Great combination of comments here from smarmy Poms with no real basis for their over confidence and Aussies with brown undies- grow a set will ya?! Bollinger is unlucky but has played little recently and Ponting has his favorites. Nothing earth shattering there. Siddle is an excellent bowler and he'll do ok. Both attacks are capable of destroying the opposition batsmen tomorrow morning but at the same time both batting lineups are just as capable of making 500. There's nothing between the sides at this point and the toss will be very important. People say that Pommy spinner will be the major difference and deliver them the Ashes. Maybe. But if the real Johnson turns up the English top order will be keeping the laundry lady busy washing their trousers! Oh and who is the reserve opener when Johnson smashes the fingers of lefties Strauss and Cook? Oh wait, there's no reserve opener? Awwwww shucks, bye bye Ashes!!!

  • on November 24, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Aus are the new England...leaving Dougie out will cost them the test if not the Ashes

  • MATT-EIP on November 24, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    As an England fan I'm glad we're not going to be facing Bollinger, but also a little sad because I think he's by some distace the best Aussie bowler and he's a likeable character. Bad decision. It may not, but it could quite easily cost Aus the match.

  • on November 24, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    @MrMonty I don't think so. Disciplining a bowler when ashes is at stake? If the selectors did think like that, then its utterly stupid and I wont be surprised if the Aussies lose. Bollinger is the only bowler in the current Aussie side who has pace, swing and bounce. The poms must have started partying as soon as they heard the news!

  • Rohan0309 on November 24, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    It seems it's gonna take 1 Test match loss to get Bollinger in the side! Poor decision by Punter & co.

  • mrmonty on November 24, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    I think "anver777" has hit the nail on the head. There is some disciplining of Bollinger going on coz of his transgressions (playing IPL). The Poms aren't gonna believe their luck with Doug outside the playing eleven.

  • slippingsillypoint on November 24, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Very suprised they left Dougy out, not only is he a more dangerous bowler than Siddle, he's an all round better bloke. Reckon the Dingo's might live to regret this.. esp with Johnson the way he is

  • Antir on November 24, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Wow! So the Australian team is relying on Hilfenhaus and Watson to take wickets on a consistent basis. I am sure Johnson will take some wickets but will it be at the right time? Is a blunt attack really the way to go?

    We need a reliable wicket taker. It is gonna take some time to break Doherty in or perhaps he can come on as the first change bowler. The only thing i can think of is that Bollinger failed a fitness test unless we are suffering from more tactical foolishness.

    I am confused?!?!

  • on November 24, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    LOL @ Punter using Gabba history... Records are meant to be broken ;-)

  • Jim1207 on November 24, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Australian selectors are doing everything they can do to lose Ashes. These jokers have even defeated Ijaz Butt hands down!

  • katandthat3 on November 24, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Hard to believe the selectors have Siddle placed ahead of Bollinger and Ryan Harris. Siddle should bowl ok but I wouldn't have him on the flatter pitches, the other boys do more with it, imagine the Poms are happy either Doug or Harris aren't playing. C'mon aussies!

  • AussieFan on November 24, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    England's 2nd XI attack (Tremlett, Bresnan, Shahzad) are better then Siddle!! Very disappointing for Bollinger. Poor selections will cost the Aussies the Ashes.

  • Cantbat.Cantbowl.CantField. on November 24, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    Doug the Rug is the most hostile Australian bowler around at the moment. It would have been great to watch him stare down the 'Gabba pitch. Shame.

  • Rosey86 on November 24, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    I feel really sorry for Bollinger. His form, along with that Hilfenhaus, has been some of the few shinning lights for the team this year. Getting all reminiscent about the 2009 tour of South Africa is all well and good, and thats the kind of intensity we should be aiming to replicate. But do you really need the same pacemen in order to replicate it? I don't think so. Bollinger has offered more to the attack than Siddle did. They both are workhorses, but Bollinger has the ability to make the ball talk. His bowling in the first Test against India was superb till his injury. Best thing they could do is to let Bollinger go back to State and get some game time under his belt if they are not going to play him. Time will tell if it was the right choice to leave him out

  • anver777 on November 24, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Poor Bollinger's IPL stint is gonna cost him the spot in the 1st Ashes Test.... wish him 100% fitness for the remaining matches in the series bc right now he's the main strike bowler who can make the difference for Aussies.........

  • thetopofoff on November 24, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Siddle and Johnson would want to perform because it's a joke that Dougie has taken 47 wickets @ 22 in the past 10 tests and got the flick. The Poms will be happy Doug is out - he's the one who they don't like facing - left arm and consistetnly harrassing the batsman with good pace and swing on consistent lines and lengths, unlike Johnson. He gets in the batsman face, unlike Johnson.

  • on November 24, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    It depend which Johnson turns up for the game...it is time his spot is put on trial...

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  • on November 24, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    It depend which Johnson turns up for the game...it is time his spot is put on trial...

  • thetopofoff on November 24, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Siddle and Johnson would want to perform because it's a joke that Dougie has taken 47 wickets @ 22 in the past 10 tests and got the flick. The Poms will be happy Doug is out - he's the one who they don't like facing - left arm and consistetnly harrassing the batsman with good pace and swing on consistent lines and lengths, unlike Johnson. He gets in the batsman face, unlike Johnson.

  • anver777 on November 24, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Poor Bollinger's IPL stint is gonna cost him the spot in the 1st Ashes Test.... wish him 100% fitness for the remaining matches in the series bc right now he's the main strike bowler who can make the difference for Aussies.........

  • Rosey86 on November 24, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    I feel really sorry for Bollinger. His form, along with that Hilfenhaus, has been some of the few shinning lights for the team this year. Getting all reminiscent about the 2009 tour of South Africa is all well and good, and thats the kind of intensity we should be aiming to replicate. But do you really need the same pacemen in order to replicate it? I don't think so. Bollinger has offered more to the attack than Siddle did. They both are workhorses, but Bollinger has the ability to make the ball talk. His bowling in the first Test against India was superb till his injury. Best thing they could do is to let Bollinger go back to State and get some game time under his belt if they are not going to play him. Time will tell if it was the right choice to leave him out

  • Cantbat.Cantbowl.CantField. on November 24, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    Doug the Rug is the most hostile Australian bowler around at the moment. It would have been great to watch him stare down the 'Gabba pitch. Shame.

  • AussieFan on November 24, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    England's 2nd XI attack (Tremlett, Bresnan, Shahzad) are better then Siddle!! Very disappointing for Bollinger. Poor selections will cost the Aussies the Ashes.

  • katandthat3 on November 24, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Hard to believe the selectors have Siddle placed ahead of Bollinger and Ryan Harris. Siddle should bowl ok but I wouldn't have him on the flatter pitches, the other boys do more with it, imagine the Poms are happy either Doug or Harris aren't playing. C'mon aussies!

  • Jim1207 on November 24, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Australian selectors are doing everything they can do to lose Ashes. These jokers have even defeated Ijaz Butt hands down!

  • on November 24, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    LOL @ Punter using Gabba history... Records are meant to be broken ;-)

  • Antir on November 24, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Wow! So the Australian team is relying on Hilfenhaus and Watson to take wickets on a consistent basis. I am sure Johnson will take some wickets but will it be at the right time? Is a blunt attack really the way to go?

    We need a reliable wicket taker. It is gonna take some time to break Doherty in or perhaps he can come on as the first change bowler. The only thing i can think of is that Bollinger failed a fitness test unless we are suffering from more tactical foolishness.

    I am confused?!?!