The Ashes 2013-14 January 7, 2014

Attack is the world's best - Siddle


Peter Siddle declared Australia's bowling attack the world's best no fewer than three times as the somewhat hung-over but deliriously happy Ashes victors set their sights on a Test match showdown in South Africa next month. A crowd of more than 4,000 converged on the Sydney Opera House overlooking the harbour to pay tribute to the Australian team, a number that might have been greater in a venue less cramped for space.

As some members of the team battled to regain voices lost over the course of two nights' raucous celebrations and Chris Rogers danced for the crowd after sleeping through the start of the event in the best traditions of Andrew Flintoff, Siddle spoke stridently about how the bowling ensemble was a match for any in the world. Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel will not be able to ignore Siddle's words.

"When we're bowling at our consistent best like we did throughout this series I think it shows [we are the best]," he said. "Everyone playing their role, Mitch bowling fast, Ryano and myself doing our role and Nath with the spin from his end. The consistency we've had against England over a five Test series, no-one's ever really done it as successfully as we have, to be able to do that and win so convincingly shows how strong we are at the moment.

"Just the way we've worked together at different times and break partnerships, I don't think we've let any partnership get too big on us, and we're able to break them and get stuck into the rest - that's what caused all the collapses, so that's what we're looking to do over there and if we continue to do that it could be a very good year for us.

"It's going to be a very tough contest over there, we're looking forward to it. Conditions are going to be similar to back home which is going to make it easier for us to adapt, but we're going to have to lift our game a bit more to get over them."

Asked repeatedly by an English correspondent if the attack was the best around the globe, Siddle could not have made his point clearer: "For the third time, yes. Did you get that? Good, okay, remember."

Siddle's fellow fast man Ryan Harris reiterated his own desire to push through a complete schedule of Tests in South Africa, revealing he had delayed knee clean-out surgery during the Ashes to make sure he could play in all five matches against England. Harris had long doubted his own capacity to stay fit for lengthy enough periods to do justice to his undoubted bowling talent, but to have played nine out of a possible 10 Ashes Tests had proved his durability at the unlikely age of 34.

"[Surgery] has got to be after South Africa now," Harris said. "I went to Melbourne after Perth and had a check with the surgeon. There are bits of bone floating around. We were thinking about doing it then and there and missing the rest of the series but I wanted to play five games. I wanted to be a part of it for the whole thing. Hopefully it can get through South Africa.

"The knee is no different now than it was a month or six weeks ago. You wake up sometimes in the morning and it's tough. You get out of bed and it's sore. But you either decide whether you want to go through the pain or you don't. It's as simple as that. And I want to be in this team as long as I can. I'll put up with it. If we win in South Africa we go to number one in the world, which is our goal. But more importantly we just want to make sure we keep winning."

As for Rogers, the chance to go to South Africa will prolong the most remarkable final chapter of a career that looked destined to remain unfulfilled for most of his journey. "I think if I'd have finished and not played international cricket I'd have been quite disappointed," he said from behind sunglasses. "To get this opportunity and play it well, I can finish cricket at some stage and think I've done everything, and that's great to do.

"I still didn't think people had seen the way I actually bat and I wanted to show that and fortunately I've been able to play a couple of good innings. I've always wondered what it'd be like to play international cricket and thought I was good enough but never got the opportunity, so it is nice now to get that chance.

"People talk about retirement, but what's the point of retiring? This is amazing and I haven't had this opportunity before, so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on January 11, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Siddle is kidding himself! Let's face facts. Johnson scared the crap out of the English batsman which enabled the rest of the woeful Aussie attack to pick up cheap wickets. Johnson should be quite rightfully praised for his efforts. Sidldle and co. Keep working hard because you are not that special.

  • Richard on January 9, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    @NixNixon:- No worries mate, we will indubitably talk again when the series is under way.

  • Nix on January 9, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @Biggus, nicely said. I totally agree with your analysis. Thanks for the quality comment.

  • Richard on January 9, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    @NixNixon:- I think anyone who hasn't got their head where the sun doesn't shine knows SA are a well deserved number 1. Get used to it mate, when you're on top people will find any reason to run you down, it's always been the case even when we Aussies were up there. As for the Ashes excitement, well we haven't won in a while and no one expected quite the result that we got, so I think that explains the hullaballoo over the series, such was the scale of the turnaround. I expect you guys will win the upcoming series but our guys should be able to make it interesting. I think our bowling is a match for SA's, but not our batting, that much seems pretty clear.

  • Nix on January 8, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    People all over the world have been saying SA is only the number one team because they have no challengers. Well here we have a challenger in Aus, they proclaim to be the world's best. As such, this will be an interesting contest. Looking at this series objectively I can see Aus giving us a run for our money, but I honestly don't think Aus have enough firepower to beat SA. If we beat them hopefully we get the recognition we deserve. Funny how SA has to perform consistently for years and still don't receive recognition, yet Aus play well in one series and the world falls at their feet in awe!

  • Peter on January 8, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    Back in town Aussies! and aren't the natives restless...

  • A on January 8, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    To all the South African fans, I would just like to point out in the same game that Australia were bowled out for 47, South Africa were also bowled out for 96. So yeah 47 is very bad but 96 isn't very good either.

  • Graham on January 8, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    So much fuss over some innocuous comments. Previously mcdermott and Clarke have made comments saying they have a lot of faith in themselves. Here Siddle is stirring the pot and it seems, a lot of people have taken the bite. Put it into context for the last 10 tests we have come up against an English unit containing 4 batsman that were averaging over 50 and a keeper averaging in the 40's. England were a well credentialed batting line up and not just in Australia but also England we have reduced there batsman normal output. I havent got the stats in front of me but in ten tests I dont believe England have gone over 300 in a first innings. There average would be closer to 200. The series has just been won and in the midst of celebrating it Siddle makes these claims, however there has not been one claim that we will go to SAf and win. The Aussies are confident but arrogant is way over the top. SAf fans rest easy your recent record is excellent and your a worthy number one.

  • Dummy4 on January 8, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    I think there is more to this seemingly seemingly arrogant boast than meets the eye. By emphasizing the strength of our bowling it might help to make conditions a lot easier for our batsmen. The south African curators are no fools and remember the carnage Mitchell Johnson caused a couple of tours ago so it should be in the back of their mind that juicy bouncy wickets might hamper South Africa's batting as much as Australia's. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the Aussie team as well because they confidently talked themselves up before the Ashes but delivered even more emphatically than what they promised. There's no doubt that to have any chance of toppling South Africa; a team needs to show supreme confidence from the outset and with the combatitive atitutudes of this team I am confident that they will fight out every session!

  • Adolf on January 8, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    Calling yourselves the best attack in world cricket after winning one series is premature to say the least!!! Although i will concede the aussies bowled quite brilliantly during the last ashes. However these words will do no more than fire up Steyn and the South Africans, who ARE and have been the best pace attack in world cricket for the last couple of years. Just want the aussies to remember that sweet morning in Cape Town when we skittled you out for less than 50 runs, same pace attack just more experienced... Pasop!!!

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