Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide December 2, 2010

Hilfenhaus set to miss second Test

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Ben Hilfenhaus is set to join Mitchell Johnson on the sidelines for Friday's second Test after Australia's captain, Ricky Ponting, hinted that Ryan Harris was strongly in contention for a recall alongside Doug Bollinger. Bollinger is expected to replace Johnson, who was dropped following Australia's toothless display during England's 1 for 517 at the Gabba, while Cricinfo understands that the selectors have opted for Harris over Hilfenhaus on a wicket that is not expected to offer much conventional swing beyond the first day.

"Hilfy's strengths are his ability to swing the new ball, he's very consistent, bowls in good areas and can tie batters down, as we saw at different times during the Brisbane Test," said Ponting. "Ryan's strengths are he's grown up playing all his cricket here, he's probably slightly quicker through the air, and he hits the wicket a bit harder than Ben does, and he's probably a better reverse-swing bowler for later in the game, which comes into consideration in Adelaide."

Harris, who has a chronic knee injury, has been in excellent form on the domestic scene since returning from off-season surgery, while Hilfenhaus was Australia's best bowler in the tour of India in October. Although Hilfenhaus launched Australia's Ashes campaign in dramatic fashion by capturing Andrew Strauss for a third-ball duck in Brisbane, he failed to claim another wicket in 50.3 overs for the match. He particularly struggled for penetration when the new ball went soft, and is understood to be feeling the effects of a slight hamstring strain.

Harris, meanwhile, learned his cricket at the Adelaide Oval before moving to Queensland three years ago, and with his extra pace through the air is a likelier man to exploit any reverse-swing that may be on offer at a venue that can favour the art. "If you put all those things together, it makes that decision a pretty difficult one," Ponting said.

Bollinger, whose tally of 49 in 11 matches to date makes him Australia's only remaining bowler in the top ten of the ICC World Rankings, seems certain to return after losing out to Peter Siddle at Brisbane. With Johnson already cut from the 13-man squad, the notion of purging two of the three specialist quick bowlers is a drastic one.

"Is it unstable [to make two bowling changes]?" Ponting asked. "No, because we have to pick the best team for every condition that we are confronted with in the summer. We didn't win a Test last week, and so hopefully the team we pick this week will be good enough to win. We wouldn't make changes if we didn't think it would make the attack better for this game. We've got to pick the best five bowlers we could possibly have to get 20 wickets in each game."

Harris, a bowler whom Ponting rates highly, bowled especially sharply during Australia's first practice session at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday. However, he did not feature in the nets on Thursday, leading to a suggestion that he was feeling the effects of his knee problem.

Ponting denied that this was the case. "We're not worried about Ryan's knee at all," he said. "The reason he didn't bowl today was nothing to do with his knee. We've made one big decision to leave a guy out [Johnson], so we wouldn't be doing that if we were taking a risk on someone who's got an injury. We want to keep it up our sleeves for tomorrow morning, and see what the best 11 is."

Harris' knee is now a case of bone rubbing on bone and he will have to manage the pain throughout the rest of his career, hence the caution during Thursday's session. He convinced the selectors of his form and fitness by claiming four wickets for Queensland in a one-day game last week, and a further six in the recent Sheffield Shield fixture against Victoria. He impressed Ponting during his only two Tests to date, against New Zealand in March, during which he claimed nine wickets at 23.

"Coming out of the game he played the other day, he had a good bowl yesterday and we didn't expect all of our bowlers bowling every day before the game," said Ponting. "That's pretty much what the staff wanted them to do, to get their workload high enough leading into the Test. If you look at both Bollinger and Harris, what they've done in state cricket has been pretty impressive. I faced Dougie this morning and he was impressive, while Ryan was on the mark yesterday. They are obviously ready to go so we'll work things out tomorrow morning."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • theophilus on December 2, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    Just in case you missed it, because the media are not focusing on it, but the Haus is "understood to be feeling the effects of a slight hamstring strain". The consideration to drop Hilfy is based purely on an injury he has picked up, not his performance. If he misses this test it is through fitness and nothing else. All other comments are just there so create excitment and intrigue. The only question to be asked is what does Marcus North need to do to get dropped, he is a talented player that just is not getting the results. We may be struggling to find bowlers to make it at Test level, but Batsmen are queueing up for a go. I for one would like to see Cameron White given another chance at no.6. If he can perfom well and secure a spot, we have a ready made Captain for the future.... Waugh captained from no.6, maybe it is a good spot to be when you are running the team, less pressure early in the innings and a calming influence over the tail end at the crease.

  • swervin on December 2, 2010, 23:31 GMT

    good decision - I am afraid as much as everyone likes hilfenhaus and he's obviously a good player, he's not a consistent wicket-taker - all this of course assumes harris is fit and doesn't break down - now aust just has to work on some of the batting selections...

  • Fareen on December 2, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    Bad luck Hilfy...Not sure Bollinger is the ideal replacement for him..But either way,Best of luck Aussies.

  • landl47 on December 2, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    As an England supporter, the bowlers I didn't want to see in the side were Hilfenhaus and Harris. Bollinger had a good Summer in Australia last year against weaker teams, but he's been a journeyman bowler his whole career and I don't expect anthing special from him. He couldn't bowl a decent line against Pakistan in England (5 wickets @36 each). Harris and Hilfenhaus looked sharp. If Australia are going to bring in Harris, I'm glad it's Hilfenhaus they're dropping. Harris and Hilfenhaus, with Siddle to do the hard yards once the ball gets old, would have been more of a handful than Harris, Bollinger and Siddle. And what happens if any of the three breaks down? They've all had lengthy layoffs for injury this year. From England's perspective, I was sorry to see Johnson dropped, but if they drop Hilfenhaus as well I won't be too unhappy. Hilf's unlucky, though; he's been Aus's best bowler in most of the series he's played (including England 2009) and now he's dropped for one bad match

  • Stevo_ on December 2, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    @Aussasinator "Now who can convince me that Watson, Katich & Ponting are not playing for their places but for the team? "

    I can , easily Katich - last 12 months 1155 runs @52.50 Watson - last 12 months 1098 runs @52.28 Opening Partner ship last 12 months 1134 runs @ 56.70.

    There is absolutely no reason to drop your openers when the avg openng stand is 56 (higher avg than Hayden/Langer, Slater/Taylor )

    Ponting - last 12 months 966 runs @ 43.90, Punters numbers are down but he is the Captain and Australia's greatest modern day batsman, they won't drop him.

    There that was pretty easy

  • on December 2, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    When a team starts to make bowling changes other than driven by injury it says a lot about how the team is looking at the future - uncertain and diffident. Nobody ever talks of horses for courses as long as a team is winning! So the dumping of Hognson and Hilfenhaus shows the oz think tank is in disarray - not unexpected when you factor in Greg Chappell - a highly opinionated official. The persistence with North is inexplicable considering the quick dumping of the two bowlers.

  • AKS286 on December 2, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    gud decision by the selectors hilfenhaus did't proved yet. i think selectors must think about S.Clark.he is useful in every format(see records).I think s.clark will b the next znthony stuart. plz anyone xplain wat is the role of M.north honestly tell is he deserve in the playing11. A.voges, p.hughes, p.jaques is the best option. i'm with adam voges.

  • ravithecricbuff on December 2, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    When nothing goes right u stop thinking right...Ponting is on way to be doomed..and he is taking decisions to reach there as soon as possible!!

  • on December 2, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    @ Boris - im pretty much agreeing with you (if you dont mind). Hilfenhaus is the typical support bowler that needs to follow strike bowlers at test level. Able to move it a little and control runs. Siddle rarely does that and i believe his 6 - for was a bit of a one off.

    The one thing i dont agree on and im frustrated that Hauritz going back to fc cricket has seen him sidlelined is arou nd Doherty. I believe that O keefe is the best performing spinner in Aus and has great backing to back that up.

    The other person id love to see get a call is copeland. I respect katich's opinion on him (which was glowing) and his record so far is phenomenal. Ok - so its early days for him and O Keefe, but im hoping they both get an opportunity after the ashes.

    Im fearful they wont though and Aus will never get there best 11 on the park. There selectors are rubbish! Froma saffa.

  • on December 2, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    I think we need to regard this more as a Harris promotion rather than a Hilfenhaus demotion. So far Harris has done nothing but impress me in every game he has played for Aus. He has all the deliveries (in swinger, out swinger, off cutter, leg cutter, slower ball etc.), he is quick and he is so accurate for a man of his pace. I dont think any of the other Aus bowlers are in the same league to be honest. He simply HAS to play. Although it is harsh on Hilfy, our bowling attack will be better off for it. We need to do what's best by the team.

    I think overall this is a good decision. It means if we loose the toss again, it wont be catastrophic...our attack will be relatively fresh.

  • theophilus on December 2, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    Just in case you missed it, because the media are not focusing on it, but the Haus is "understood to be feeling the effects of a slight hamstring strain". The consideration to drop Hilfy is based purely on an injury he has picked up, not his performance. If he misses this test it is through fitness and nothing else. All other comments are just there so create excitment and intrigue. The only question to be asked is what does Marcus North need to do to get dropped, he is a talented player that just is not getting the results. We may be struggling to find bowlers to make it at Test level, but Batsmen are queueing up for a go. I for one would like to see Cameron White given another chance at no.6. If he can perfom well and secure a spot, we have a ready made Captain for the future.... Waugh captained from no.6, maybe it is a good spot to be when you are running the team, less pressure early in the innings and a calming influence over the tail end at the crease.

  • swervin on December 2, 2010, 23:31 GMT

    good decision - I am afraid as much as everyone likes hilfenhaus and he's obviously a good player, he's not a consistent wicket-taker - all this of course assumes harris is fit and doesn't break down - now aust just has to work on some of the batting selections...

  • Fareen on December 2, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    Bad luck Hilfy...Not sure Bollinger is the ideal replacement for him..But either way,Best of luck Aussies.

  • landl47 on December 2, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    As an England supporter, the bowlers I didn't want to see in the side were Hilfenhaus and Harris. Bollinger had a good Summer in Australia last year against weaker teams, but he's been a journeyman bowler his whole career and I don't expect anthing special from him. He couldn't bowl a decent line against Pakistan in England (5 wickets @36 each). Harris and Hilfenhaus looked sharp. If Australia are going to bring in Harris, I'm glad it's Hilfenhaus they're dropping. Harris and Hilfenhaus, with Siddle to do the hard yards once the ball gets old, would have been more of a handful than Harris, Bollinger and Siddle. And what happens if any of the three breaks down? They've all had lengthy layoffs for injury this year. From England's perspective, I was sorry to see Johnson dropped, but if they drop Hilfenhaus as well I won't be too unhappy. Hilf's unlucky, though; he's been Aus's best bowler in most of the series he's played (including England 2009) and now he's dropped for one bad match

  • Stevo_ on December 2, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    @Aussasinator "Now who can convince me that Watson, Katich & Ponting are not playing for their places but for the team? "

    I can , easily Katich - last 12 months 1155 runs @52.50 Watson - last 12 months 1098 runs @52.28 Opening Partner ship last 12 months 1134 runs @ 56.70.

    There is absolutely no reason to drop your openers when the avg openng stand is 56 (higher avg than Hayden/Langer, Slater/Taylor )

    Ponting - last 12 months 966 runs @ 43.90, Punters numbers are down but he is the Captain and Australia's greatest modern day batsman, they won't drop him.

    There that was pretty easy

  • on December 2, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    When a team starts to make bowling changes other than driven by injury it says a lot about how the team is looking at the future - uncertain and diffident. Nobody ever talks of horses for courses as long as a team is winning! So the dumping of Hognson and Hilfenhaus shows the oz think tank is in disarray - not unexpected when you factor in Greg Chappell - a highly opinionated official. The persistence with North is inexplicable considering the quick dumping of the two bowlers.

  • AKS286 on December 2, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    gud decision by the selectors hilfenhaus did't proved yet. i think selectors must think about S.Clark.he is useful in every format(see records).I think s.clark will b the next znthony stuart. plz anyone xplain wat is the role of M.north honestly tell is he deserve in the playing11. A.voges, p.hughes, p.jaques is the best option. i'm with adam voges.

  • ravithecricbuff on December 2, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    When nothing goes right u stop thinking right...Ponting is on way to be doomed..and he is taking decisions to reach there as soon as possible!!

  • on December 2, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    @ Boris - im pretty much agreeing with you (if you dont mind). Hilfenhaus is the typical support bowler that needs to follow strike bowlers at test level. Able to move it a little and control runs. Siddle rarely does that and i believe his 6 - for was a bit of a one off.

    The one thing i dont agree on and im frustrated that Hauritz going back to fc cricket has seen him sidlelined is arou nd Doherty. I believe that O keefe is the best performing spinner in Aus and has great backing to back that up.

    The other person id love to see get a call is copeland. I respect katich's opinion on him (which was glowing) and his record so far is phenomenal. Ok - so its early days for him and O Keefe, but im hoping they both get an opportunity after the ashes.

    Im fearful they wont though and Aus will never get there best 11 on the park. There selectors are rubbish! Froma saffa.

  • on December 2, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    I think we need to regard this more as a Harris promotion rather than a Hilfenhaus demotion. So far Harris has done nothing but impress me in every game he has played for Aus. He has all the deliveries (in swinger, out swinger, off cutter, leg cutter, slower ball etc.), he is quick and he is so accurate for a man of his pace. I dont think any of the other Aus bowlers are in the same league to be honest. He simply HAS to play. Although it is harsh on Hilfy, our bowling attack will be better off for it. We need to do what's best by the team.

    I think overall this is a good decision. It means if we loose the toss again, it wont be catastrophic...our attack will be relatively fresh.

  • ZCFOutkast on December 2, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Hi all a happy zimbabwean fan here, but love the aussies and rate them as the best despite rankings. good to drop johnson, but with all the trouble of finding the right replacement for shane warne i think you should ignore all the spinners all together leave them to battle each other out in domestic and A games so everyone can see the best one and the whole aus country should back him. Till then use North more, maybe that can justify his inclusion since he's not being dropped anyway, afterall the other spinners dont seem to be performing much more than him anyway. Katich&Clarke(barring his back problems) can back him up. My team for the rest of the series with a four-man pace attack with Watson as backup: 1Katich, 2Watson, 3Ponting, 4Clarke, 5Hussey, 6North, 7Haddin, 8Siddle, 9Bollinger, 10Harris, 11Hilfenhaus. 20 WICKETS! For all the talents of khawaja and ferguson, i can't understand why most aus fans would put them ahead of jacques, hodge&hughes!! Guys be serious!

  • on December 2, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    if johnson got zillion of chances....then hilfenhaus deserves to get 2-3 chances as well......i think it will be a mistake by the aussies if the drop hilfy also.....but the way ponting is panicking at the moment he might drop hilfty as welll....and in dat they will minimize their chances of comeback also

  • Truemans_Ghost on December 2, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    I thought Hilfenhaus looked a cracking good bowler when he was over in England last time. Maybe that is part of the problem though- he is an English style bowler and suffers the same issues as some English bowlers when playing in Australia.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 2, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Harris has to play. It is a pity that Hilfenhaus has to be the one to go though, as I would much rather see them drop North (how freaking obvious is that????) and go in with an extra bowler.

  • Timmuh on December 2, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    For mine, axing Hilfenhaus seems harsh. He was the only one to pitch the ball up and give himself a chance in the second innings in Brisbane. It is interesting that we will drop a bowler after one average performance (Hilfenhaus wasn't bad, Johnson has been for 18 months), but North gets to keep batting. Yes, he scored a hundred in India, but he has barely scored that if you add his other innings together over the last year. Johnson, North and Doherty should all be gone; which is a bit unfair on Doherty, but he never should have been picked for Brisbane. Hauritz is not much, but he is by quite some margin the best spinner Australia has. Either play Hauritz or don't play a spinner.

  • Pablo23 on December 2, 2010, 10:54 GMT

    Bollinger has to come into the side, not just for his good form over the last 12 months, but he has never let australia down and always finds a way to make something happen. Also to have a left handed paceman is variety in the attack. They say that it lengthens the tail, but bringing Harris in for Hilf is good for the batting. Harris has a pretty good eye. He's shown he can walk to the crease and murder the bowling from ball 1. Harris is a good choice bowling wise as he combines swing and pace and has also never let australia down. Johnson wont be back in a hurry as there is minimal chance that either of the new pacemen will put in a bad display. I think Australia are on the verge of stumbling onto their best bowling combination in recent times. Doherty will get his chance to show his best later in the match, while Bollinger and Harris will cause problems early in the match. Id be suprised if Siddle stays as our number 3 quick bowler long term though

  • on December 2, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    Horse for course is good. Harris knows Adelaide, and he can swing the ball away, just like Hilfenhaus, plus he is 10 kms quicker, and his reverse swing. That means all 4 Pace bowlers can reverse swing a ball. Pitches like Gabba, Sydney, Melbourne are pitches for Hilfenhaus, as he doesn't reverse a ball. To me, Harris and Bollinger with the new ball, followed by Siddle, who should absolutely let it rip and get back up to the 150km an hour mark. Good times ahead for Aus. Now just to sort out North....

  • StarveTheLizard on December 2, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Okay, just throwing this out. There is a rumour going around in Oz right now that the grounds curators have been told by CA to prepare flat pitches so that games go five days. (More revenue for that money-driven organization!) Would it be such a stretch then if the selectors have been instructed to deliberately select a losing side? Let's face it, everyone outside Australia loves to see us lose. The more we lose, the more international sales are made. This would explain some of the absolutely mindless decisions that have been handed down over the last year. Call me crazy but retaining North, after all his failures, has to be a deliberate attempt to saboutage the team!

  • StarveTheLizard on December 2, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    The selectos have retained North! Anybody who gets dropped has a right to be hard done by as long as Marcus is retained. Clarke is carrying a back injury, yet they keep him around. More dead weight! I'm sorry, but our current line up is very bad. If we win, I'll take it but we do not deserve to! What is worse is that when we lose the Ashes again - and we will, no changes of any note will be made. The "think tank" is as likely to make a positive change as North is to make a good score.

  • Ringlin on December 2, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    The side's already been picked...Out: Johnson and Hilfenhaus In: Harris and Bollinger. I think they're waiting to see how Rhino's knee pulls up in the morning...if it's good to go then he'll play.

  • ravi_hari on December 2, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    I think Ponting has finally started thinking. Horses for courses should be the norm. If you have found some body not delivering, pick the ones who might! By doing so you are picking men in form and also sending a message to the others that only performace will ensure a place. Aussies are in a confused state now. They are not knowing how to approach the next game. It is strange for an Aussie but it is true. In fact, they are more bothered about themselves than what the opponents are capable of doing to them. Most of the teams were in this state when they faced Aussies in the past 2 decades. Its their turn now. Sometimes a home series is more difficult as you have multiple options and is very confusing to choose from. I feel it is wise to pick both Harris and Bollinger. If it comes to dropping North so be it but try taking 5 specialist bowlers and 5 batsman + Haddin. This balance might help them win a test! Hari Ravi

  • Aussasinator on December 2, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Panicky Australia. They know they dont have the resources to take 20 wickets. What the authorities dont realise is that the bowlers are very good but their handling is terrible. They seem to lack motivation and dont seem to mingle well with one another. Each player has turned over competitive for his place in the side, starting with the captain. The team perspective has been long lost. Now who can convince me that Watson, Katich & Ponting are not playing for their places but for the team? It is a malaise with the Australian team of late. And there is no unifying factor like an Allan Border or a Mark Taylor at the helm! Would now Love to see England complete the exposure of Aussie incapabilities!

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on December 2, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    Hinting at making so many wholesale changes eflects the scepticism and vulnerability in the aussie outfit.Hilfy is their best swing bowler better than dougy and ryan harris in terms of swing harris is hit the deck bowler which is perfectly done by siddle dougy gives left-arm variety and hilfy swing thats their best combo dearly love to replace xavier with hauritz or krejza really aussie selectors are shooting themselves in both their feet keeping north and xavier

  • Meety on December 2, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Bollinger was a certainty for this Test, hopefully he & Harris can add some spark back into the Oz attack - although I am completely clueless about how Adelaide will play. It probably won't deteriorate like in the past due to the weather. So I think spinners won't be as big a part. I thought this would be the test which would suit Watto's bowling the most, not now. I would almost consider going with S Clark - just to keep things tight & maybe frustrate a wicket. I also think that a wild card maybe thrown if Oz attack remains impotent - that be Copeland, he's looking the goods at the moment.

  • anver777 on December 2, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Gonna be a good move by Aus selectors by dropping Hilfenhous bringing in Harris for 2nd test......Whenever he's got opportunities he had performed well in all formats for Aus so i think very wise thing to do !!!!!!!

  • mrmonty on December 2, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    Ryan Harris instead of Hilfenhaus!! The selectors have gone crazy. Where will the variety be?

  • boris6491 on December 2, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    I am a big Harris fan but also am a Hilfenhaus advocate. I think he had one relatively average game and suddenly it means he needs to go. The difference between him and Johnson is that Johnson's form has been poor over a period of time whilst Hilfenhaus was good in England and even on flat wickets, the best bowler, not just our best fast bowler in India. Personally, I would like to see Harris in for Siddle but I can accept that that will probably not happen now considering how well Siddle did in the first innings of the first test. To me, Hilfenhaus, Harris, Bollinger and Doherty is the best attack we have at present. 2 swing bowlers, a seam bowler, a spinner and not to mention a useful bowler in Watson.

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  • boris6491 on December 2, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    I am a big Harris fan but also am a Hilfenhaus advocate. I think he had one relatively average game and suddenly it means he needs to go. The difference between him and Johnson is that Johnson's form has been poor over a period of time whilst Hilfenhaus was good in England and even on flat wickets, the best bowler, not just our best fast bowler in India. Personally, I would like to see Harris in for Siddle but I can accept that that will probably not happen now considering how well Siddle did in the first innings of the first test. To me, Hilfenhaus, Harris, Bollinger and Doherty is the best attack we have at present. 2 swing bowlers, a seam bowler, a spinner and not to mention a useful bowler in Watson.

  • mrmonty on December 2, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    Ryan Harris instead of Hilfenhaus!! The selectors have gone crazy. Where will the variety be?

  • anver777 on December 2, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Gonna be a good move by Aus selectors by dropping Hilfenhous bringing in Harris for 2nd test......Whenever he's got opportunities he had performed well in all formats for Aus so i think very wise thing to do !!!!!!!

  • Meety on December 2, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Bollinger was a certainty for this Test, hopefully he & Harris can add some spark back into the Oz attack - although I am completely clueless about how Adelaide will play. It probably won't deteriorate like in the past due to the weather. So I think spinners won't be as big a part. I thought this would be the test which would suit Watto's bowling the most, not now. I would almost consider going with S Clark - just to keep things tight & maybe frustrate a wicket. I also think that a wild card maybe thrown if Oz attack remains impotent - that be Copeland, he's looking the goods at the moment.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on December 2, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    Hinting at making so many wholesale changes eflects the scepticism and vulnerability in the aussie outfit.Hilfy is their best swing bowler better than dougy and ryan harris in terms of swing harris is hit the deck bowler which is perfectly done by siddle dougy gives left-arm variety and hilfy swing thats their best combo dearly love to replace xavier with hauritz or krejza really aussie selectors are shooting themselves in both their feet keeping north and xavier

  • Aussasinator on December 2, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Panicky Australia. They know they dont have the resources to take 20 wickets. What the authorities dont realise is that the bowlers are very good but their handling is terrible. They seem to lack motivation and dont seem to mingle well with one another. Each player has turned over competitive for his place in the side, starting with the captain. The team perspective has been long lost. Now who can convince me that Watson, Katich & Ponting are not playing for their places but for the team? It is a malaise with the Australian team of late. And there is no unifying factor like an Allan Border or a Mark Taylor at the helm! Would now Love to see England complete the exposure of Aussie incapabilities!

  • ravi_hari on December 2, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    I think Ponting has finally started thinking. Horses for courses should be the norm. If you have found some body not delivering, pick the ones who might! By doing so you are picking men in form and also sending a message to the others that only performace will ensure a place. Aussies are in a confused state now. They are not knowing how to approach the next game. It is strange for an Aussie but it is true. In fact, they are more bothered about themselves than what the opponents are capable of doing to them. Most of the teams were in this state when they faced Aussies in the past 2 decades. Its their turn now. Sometimes a home series is more difficult as you have multiple options and is very confusing to choose from. I feel it is wise to pick both Harris and Bollinger. If it comes to dropping North so be it but try taking 5 specialist bowlers and 5 batsman + Haddin. This balance might help them win a test! Hari Ravi

  • Ringlin on December 2, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    The side's already been picked...Out: Johnson and Hilfenhaus In: Harris and Bollinger. I think they're waiting to see how Rhino's knee pulls up in the morning...if it's good to go then he'll play.

  • StarveTheLizard on December 2, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    The selectos have retained North! Anybody who gets dropped has a right to be hard done by as long as Marcus is retained. Clarke is carrying a back injury, yet they keep him around. More dead weight! I'm sorry, but our current line up is very bad. If we win, I'll take it but we do not deserve to! What is worse is that when we lose the Ashes again - and we will, no changes of any note will be made. The "think tank" is as likely to make a positive change as North is to make a good score.

  • StarveTheLizard on December 2, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Okay, just throwing this out. There is a rumour going around in Oz right now that the grounds curators have been told by CA to prepare flat pitches so that games go five days. (More revenue for that money-driven organization!) Would it be such a stretch then if the selectors have been instructed to deliberately select a losing side? Let's face it, everyone outside Australia loves to see us lose. The more we lose, the more international sales are made. This would explain some of the absolutely mindless decisions that have been handed down over the last year. Call me crazy but retaining North, after all his failures, has to be a deliberate attempt to saboutage the team!