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July 23, 2013
Not only has Australia's dreadful batting cost the team a 2-0 deficit after as many Investec Ashes Tests, it has now claimed a human casualty in the form of the young fast bowler James Pattinson. Fighting back tears the morning after he was diagnosed with a back stress fracture that has ended his tour, Pattinson admitted that a lack of rest between bowling innings at Lord's had contributed to his injury.
It had been thought that the older and injury-prone Ryan Harris would be most susceptible to physical breakdown after little more than three hours separated England's first and second innings at Lord's, but it was Pattinson who suffered most. He felt stiffness on the second day and grew increasingly worried as it worsened across the match. His dismissal by Graeme Swann on the fourth evening after an innings of admirably stubborn refusal to yield will be Pattinson's last memory of the series.
"When you go out doing what you do it's hard on the body and in an ideal world you'd like a bit more rest than that. It's far from ideal," Pattinson said. "You go out there and put your body on the line and you're playing for your country ... once I get a bit more mature, I've said it a thousand times before, but I'm still hoping one day my body is going to mature and I'll be able to do that back-up not just for two Tests but five.
"It could have been worse, but it's pretty shattering something you've worked so hard for is taken away. It's a hard road ... it's not as bad as what it was before in the past when I've had six to twelve months out of the game, which is pretty hard and a few lonely days in the MCG gym getting back towards playing. So I'll go through that again but I'm in a positive frame of mind that one day it'll get better and hopefully it does, so fingers crossed."
In the conversations Pattinson had on Monday night after learning of the extent of his ailment, the name of England's spearhead James Anderson was raised as a source of hope. Having endured his own nightmarish run of injuries as a younger man, Anderson has matured into a bowler as durable as he is skilful, illustrated by his ability to bowl a 13-over spell to help England to victory in Nottingham before backing up at Lord's.
"That has been thrown up overnight, in conversations about Jimmy Anderson, whose career started with a lot of injuries," Pattinson said. "There are a dozen other bowlers in the same position. You live in hope that one day it will go away. I am only 23. I am pretty happy with what I have achieved in the game so far but I would like to have fewer setbacks. I am a pretty strong person and I think I can bounce back strong and come back bigger better and stronger than I did last time."
As for his own approach to bowling, which so far has erred on the side of full throttle just about every ball of his life, Pattinson said as he matured he would learn how better to move up and down through the gears, much as Anderson and Dale Steyn have done.
"In games you can sum up when it is swinging. It is not in my personal makeup to go out and not give 100 percent. I like bowling fast," Pattinson said. "Dale Steyn sometimes bowls within himself and picks the right time to go hard. I am not at that stage yet. I have to go 100 percent to make sure I am in the team and performing for my country. When I get older there will be times I can do that.
"At training I go pretty hard too. I can look at that. Personally, the only way is to give everything you got. I am very proud of representing Australia and it is something I love doing. It is disappointing to work your arse off and have it taken away."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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