West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 1st day

Harris preserved, Siddle scanned

Daniel Brettig at Queen's Park Oval

April 15, 2012

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Ryan Harris is congratulated after dismissing Shivnarine Chanderpaul, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 4th day, April 10, 2012
Ryan Harris performed with both bat and ball in the first Test © Associated Press
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Australia's desire to preserve Ryan Harris' battered body for as long as possible was sharply illustrated by his resting from the Trinidad match following a Man-of-the-Match display in Bridgetown. Harris ended the first match of the West Indies series stating his desire to play all three Tests, but the selectors on tour decided otherwise in leaving him out for a fresher James Pattinson on a Port-of-Spain pitch likely to play lower and lower as the second Test develops.

Having performed heroically at Kensington Oval with bat and ball to give Australia a 1-0 series lead, Harris was sore but not under any particular injury cloud in Trinidad. He was left out with an eye to his chequered injury history in the hope that he will be fresh by the time the third Test of the series is played in Dominica. His omission was a significant moment in the development of a squad mentality for Australia's fast bowlers, for there could be no doubt about Harris' performance meriting his retention.

Yet instead of playing, Harris found himself taking part in lunch-time training with other non-playing members of the Test squad, in contrast to the injured Peter Siddle who also missed selection for Queen's Park Oval. Their absence created room for the left-arm spinner Michael Beer to play his first Test since he debuted in the fifth match of the 2010-11 Ashes series.

"There was no doubt with the history for Ryan but also the amount that he batted and bowled throughout that game the selectors must have thought it was good to bring a fresh James Pattinson in," the vice-captain Shane Watson said. "To make sure that Ryan is absolutely fresh and ready to go for the third Test is going to be very important. There is no doubt Ryan had an absolutely brilliant game in the last Test match so I've got no doubt it would have been a very tough decision for the selectors either way.

"I think it's the way our group is continuing to go. It's just managing individuals as well as the term can possibly manage them. It continues to be a big step forward to make sure that we get the best out of every individual. And some guys pull up differently from big bowling workloads and obviously I've been a part of that at times throughout my career. So I think personally it's a really big step forward in managing players' workloads when we are playing so much and playing back-to-back Tests consistently as well.

"It also works out well that playing two spinners in these conditions is going to be very important. This wicket is quite similar in many ways to some Indian wickets that I have batted on so it's only going to get worse. The footmarks are only going to dust up and get worse so it was a perfect opportunity to play two spinners and see how they are able to handle it."

Watson revealed that Siddle had complained of developing back soreness during the first Test, and scans had confirmed inflammation that ruled him out of the second match. Siddle now has only a narrow window of time in which to prove his fitness ahead of the final match of the series, having been kept out of limited-overs series both at home and in the West Indies in order to be at his peak for the Tests.

"In the end his back had started to get sore through the last Test match and he ended up getting a few scans to be able to find out what that back pain was," Watson said. "At the moment it's shown it's a little bit sore and there's a little bit of swelling there. Through experience I know when your back gets sore it's never a great thing.

"Hopefully in Peter's case they've been able to get it early enough that even if it's just a few days rest from bowling it settles down in a quick period of time. The one thing you don't want to do is continue to push through it ... sometimes as a bowler if you do that it can put you back a fair way with stress fractures. Fingers crossed that won't be the case and a few days' rest will mean that he's able to be right for the third Test."

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

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Posted by Tumbarumbar on (April 17, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Some times I think more refreshing and thoughtful ideas come through in this forum than from the powers that be. Posters are 100% correct in their assertions about workloads. Two things that bowlers never used to be known for, with a few exceptions that tended to highlight the mediocrity of the others, was athletic fielding and sharp running between the wickets in long partnerships. Now a bowler does the same fielding practice as a batsman, does net time with a bat, bowling nets, bowling specific training then up to 20 overs a day and gets hounded by commentators if his pace drops. Normally, if he is stationed on the boundary he also covers more distance than his team mates too. Once bowling training was, well, bowling and if a bowler was injured he could carry it through a five test summer with no one day games and have winter off anyway. If it wasn't so much fun nobody would ever do it.

Posted by Mervo on (April 17, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

So they drop the man of the match in the first test? Unbelievable,

Posted by Meety on (April 17, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

@zenboomerang, further to my previous post regarding the last 4 years of Oz Test cricket, the previous 4 years we used only 11 pace bowlers (16 this last 4yrs - quality is a factor), however in the period 5 to 8 yrs ago there was only injury concerns over 36% of pacers. I considered Williams, Lee & Dizzy & Watto to have fitness concerns at that time. Even though from memory I don't recall him (Williams) being injured when a chance for the Ozzy side.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 16, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

What hysterics... "Carnage in the Ozzy bowling ranks is at epic proportions"... Listening to Pat Howard describing how Oz bowling injuries are at present at an all time low compared to over the last 10 years shows how much these armchair critic's know... Johnson is back bowling after surgery for a piece of metal that was removed from his toe (been there since he was a kid) but didn't make the AIS squad... If he pulls up well after the IPL & county T20, I would considered him for the ODI's in Eng in June/July...

Posted by   on (April 16, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

On longevity, there are some players of modern times that certainly stick out. Courtney Walsh instantly sprang to my mind... Combining List A and First Class cricket he sent down 107,000 deliveries! With the long county seasons and careers there's just so much opportunity to bowl in England. I checked out Glenn McGrath and he clocked up 57,000 deliveries and yet was very rarely injured and had quite a lengthy career at 15 years in FC cricket. But certainly fast bowlers have to throw themselves around a lot more in the field these days and probably need to train harder and spend far more time travelling and then upon arrival may just bowl 10 overs and then three days later another 10 in another city while meanwhile Freddy would have clocked up double that and been at home each night with the missus for a bit of toad in the hole and yorkshir pudd! Not hard to see the difference.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 16, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

@RandyOZ... So who is your Ashes bowling team?... If you spent the time looking at our development squads for in the near future, some of your answers would be given... I'm not sure where Ben is at with his fitness (today) but Nathan is definitely in the selectors minds...

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 16, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

@landl47... Its funny how people pick out one player & then compare every modern player against them... Lillee played 3 more Tests than Trueman but bowled more than 3,000+ more balls in Test conditions - yet his career was chequered with back injuries & surgery + his WSC stats are not included... Your point?... Perhaps I should compare the modern batsman & say they are all failures because they don't have a 99+ average like Bradman...

Posted by Buggsy on (April 16, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

@landl47, fact is bowling is not a natural action for humans; it doesn't matter how fit you are, this is just something we weren't born to do. There will always be the odd player who gets through unscathed but there aren't many people with bodies capable of sustaining a full career without injury. Cricket history is littered with fast bowlers of all ages who couldn't maintain the pace, so to speak.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 16, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

@HatsforBats :- "They might need to fly over another bowler"... Starc is also in the Test squad & I like the option of his left-arm bowling... His performances have been good & at 22 he has years to get even better... Good to see Starc is in the AIS squad this year which means a likely Aust A tour to England in July...

Posted by Meety on (April 16, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

@landl47 - I've wondered about that myself, (as probably many others). What I believe is causing the problems atm is workload - but not the way you might think. You used the example of Trueman, top shelf bowler. His career would of almost been totally in FC or tests, List As were probably only just being played on the County circuit in his day. The problem (IMO), is that there is so much air travel, big blokes get cramped up on planes, altitude, land, altitude, then land again. They play Short formats, which require the body to be thrown around & you are bowling at maximum capacity every match. Not saying someone like Trueman would bludge in a game, but I doubt he had the same intensity playing against a Cambridge Uni, as he would in a test. So much of the cricket nowadays is International cricket & the big boppers don't get the rest. I would say (skill & talent aside) it easier to bowl heaps of overs in a County career, than an International one. There is almost NO OFFSEASON!!!!

Posted by C--H on (April 16, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

I'm a big fan of Hilfenhaus, but I hope he operates as first change with one of the spinners opening with Pattinson.

Good move with resting Harris though and trying to be careful with him.

Posted by maxximoo on (April 16, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

@RandyOZ they are recovering health and form from injuries i think

Posted by maxximoo on (April 16, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

@RandyOZ I think both cutting and coulter nile are quite close but had injuries and are recovering health and form, but we will see them along with cummins :). The other name I haven't seen much of in these articles and comments is Mitch Starc. I hope he gets a go in WI (I think he is actually there) Hope the 2 spinners cut 'em up. AUS can field a couple of bowling teams if all were fit and firing. Just need the batsmen......

Posted by maxximoo on (April 16, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

my goodness....nice to see contructive comments and discussion - at least until 6:25 UT. these are interesting times.teams are climbing up and down the ICC rankings (some both). Aus now have bowling (in many dimentions) that can take 20 wickets, youth, talent, a captain that instills belief and courage, and consequently they have results. If their batting fires they will challenge for #1 again before too long.......makes for some awesome matches v SA in the near future - can't wait for them!.....great to see WI showing signs of life too....maybe the giants are stirring

Posted by Dashgar on (April 16, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

I would have still played both of them. You get sore and tired on a tour. Battle through. I think Australia have become too careful with their bowlers recently, especially the older stronger ones like these two.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 16, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Why isn't Coulter-Nile mentioned at all? What's happening with Cutting? We should be looking forward to the next Ashes. Do we all see our line-up being Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Harris? I certainly don't.

Posted by redneck on (April 16, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

anyone else remember the good old days (all of 5 years ago) when we had an unchanged test line up for over a year!! and then maybe one change and another unchanged line up for another whole year! lucky to have the same line up for a whole series now!!! i bet watson is required to bowl al lot more overs than either spinner in trinidad, the pitch maybe a rank turner but pace is what gets wickets for aus! i have no idea if they even have a contract but sid v and rhino better not be going to india after this series!!! that would defeat the purpose of resting them!

Posted by Stevo_ on (April 16, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

@landl47

Frequency of games and the fact they actually have to run in the field

Posted by landl47 on (April 16, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Why are seam bowlers so fragile these days? Fred Trueman bowled over 100,000 balls in all formats of top-class cricket in his career and was hardly ever injured. Compare that with Harris- 15,000; Siddle- 14,000; Tremlett- 27,000; Broad- 23,000, just to name a few bowlers who have had injury problems lately. None of these guys are going to get even halfway to Fred's total. Yes, a lot more is expected of them in the field these days, but that hardly compensates for the strain on the body of bowling fast, which Trueman did for 20 years. Bowlers are bigger, stronger and fitter these days- and injured far more often. There has to be some rational explanation, but I've never seen anything that makes sense.

Posted by jplterrors on (April 16, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

He hasnt been rested has been dropped along with Siddle. Just a few days ago he was saying he was fine and could play all 3. Horses for courses they wanted to give the extra spinner and Pattinson a run so dropped Harris and Siddle.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 16, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Funny that Watson is the one talking about Harris having a heavy workload. Watson himself has the heaviest workload in the team and is himself injury-prone, but it's hard to see him ever getting a rest. Even if Australia gets its batting sorted and could afford to do without him they would still be loathe to do without his bowling if they didn't have to. His next rest is likely to coincide with his next injury.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Hope Sidd's pulls up okay. Not too sure about the reasoning behind leaving Rhino out. I'm not sure new ball Hilfenhaus is going to be the most effective here once the shine is gone off the ball. Hopefully Pattinson will bowl it full and straight and attack the stumps... as we saw with Kemar it can cost a few runs, but it gets you the wickets. Good job for the Aussies that they won the toss, I reckon.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 16, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

This is the way it's likely to go for Harris from now on. The Australia selectors have plenty of decent to good fast bowlers to choose from and have stated the desire to rotate them. With Harris' age and injury history, it makes perfect sense to rest him every second or third match. I'm sure that he'd be rearing to be in the team but better, for him and the team, to miss games here and there rather than in a block because of another injury. If he does have another extended lay-off due to injury then the selectors might just move on, and he definitely doesn't want that.

Posted by HatsforBats on (April 16, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

A good call in my opinion. Harris has shown that he is one of the best in the world, anything that prolongs his test career is a good move. Pattison should be a capable replacement with both bat and ball. They might need to fly over another bowler if sid doesn't improve

Posted by leggetinoz on (April 16, 2012, 2:19 GMT)

I think it makes sense. The decision was to go in with 2 spinners meaning that the pacers will need to take on a bigger work load as there will only be 2.5/3 rather than 3.5/4 pace bowlers. Ryan harris has unfortunatley an unreliable body and he is too good and too important and there for needs to be managed. Best we rest him and save him from taking on a larger workload due to the extra spinner and save him for the third where more than likely the extra pace bowler will be back. Luckily we have depth and to leave harris out and replace him with an impressive youngster in Pattinson, than that is a good situation to be in.

Posted by Meety on (April 16, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

Man Siddle is a trooper, he still sent down more than his share of overs, even with a bcak complaint. However, this is just about the last thing Oz needed, with MJ (out of the picture), Siddle is supposed to be the spearhead, & I think would of done well on this type of pitch. I know people can read whatever they like into these things, but IMO, this further evidence as to why the ODI & Test teams should become almost mutually exclusive squads, with a few exceptions. Siddle could of got injured anytime, but there is a high probability it could of occurred during the ODIs & IMO if a bloke is going to come up sore, it may as well be in a test win, then in an ODI win. == == == I know that Pat Howard ordered a review into bowlers boots recently, (good), but I really hope a lot more research is done into bowlers stress fractures etc. The carnage in the Ozzy bowling ranks is at epic proportions. We need our best boys on the paddock to get that little urn back!!!!!

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (April 16, 2012, 1:44 GMT)

Very bad sign for south africa and england that australians are thinking in right direction, i believe if aussies do think like that and take decisions like that in next 1 year they will be back as #1 ranked team in the world.

Australia is back. I am impressed.

Posted by Chris_P on (April 16, 2012, 0:43 GMT)

Good decisions by the selectors, the last thing you want is for one of your bowlers to break down & be out long term because they were selected when not 100%. This is the way to preserve your attack & have tempting back up options. Just imagine if Cummins was also available, what then?

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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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