Peter Siddle doesn’t concern himself with hype

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Who’d have thought that it would be Peter Siddle taking all the wickets? Who’d have thought that in Australia’s brave new world of James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and shiny new Ashton Agar, it would be tired old veteran Siddle, with his 150 Test wickets, proven record and exceptional fitness who’d be doing all the damage?

Australia’s opening bowlers

Pattinson and Starc pretty much met our expectations. Their best isn’t a fair representation of how good they are overall, even if it’s the peg on which the hype is hung. Good deliveries sit alongside a dash of shod and a splash of mediocrity. The ball swung and they could have had more wickets, but if they’d wasted fewer deliveries, they would have had more wickets.

You can see why they’re picked and there’s enough about them to convince us that both will eventually become very good bowlers. They’ll produce a few influential performances over the course of this series, but Pattinson in particular seems a bit of a nervy type and might need a few Tests before he’s really settled in international cricket.

Australia’s spinner

In time-honoured tradition, Australia dropped their spinner because they suspected they’d unearthed a better one. Ashton Agar is the new man for this particular series.

What’s he like? Well, first impressions are that he’s a left-arm spinner much like any other. Big hands, good use of the permissible 15 degrees of flexion and doesn’t look too fazed. Like many young bowlers, there were some wide ones and some short ones, but he seemed to spin it a little and we can see how wickets could ensue.

Australia’s Peter Siddle

Peter Siddle did so many unfashionable things well that he performed best when it came to the only measurement that matters – wickets.

Siddle made the batsmen play more than any other bowler and when they started to work out what to play and leave, he used the width of the crease to introduce a new element into their calculations. When the wickets didn’t come, he persisted until they did. He didn’t tire either and nor did he look particularly arsed that it was the first day of the Ashes.


Don’t throw out your hammer until you’ve taken your fancy new nail gun out of the box and tested it a few times. In fact, don’t throw out your hammer. Why would you throw a hammer away? It’s resilient and it does the bloody job.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I used the hawkeye feature on cricinfo to compare the beehive of Australian bowlers with the English bowlers. It confirms the old adage:
    Shit gets wickets

  2. I agree with everyone, especially Wolf. I thought the Aussie bowling was mediocre at best, allowed to look decent by some dreadful batting. A consistent line on the fringes of being a wide seemed to be the order of the day, with almost every straight ball being too full or too short. Of all the people this tactic of boring a batsman into a loose shot could be aimed at, you would think Trott would be the last. But he fell for it! And his reaction afterwards told the world how stupid he felt.

    This match is balanced on a knife-edge because England batted poorly enough to allow a poor Australian attack to get wickets. When Australia batted it was men against boys. In the rest of the series only one aspect of that is going to change – England will bat better, and will therefore win the series.

    That doesn’t say anything about this match though. Because of the low score, a single good batting performance will win the match. That might come from one of the two batsmen currently in, Smith and Hughes. In other words, it might come from Smith. On the other hand, an early wicket will put the game firmly in England’s hands. We’ll know a lot about which way the match is going by lunch.

    1. The bowling was allowed to look good not just by shocking England batting, but also by the fact that conditions were so swing-friendly that even Siddle was getting some movement. Siddle is not a swing bowler.

    2. In the words of Sebastian Vettel, “Yes, yes and yes again”.

      The phrase “men against boys” fills me with glee.

    1. No way. He wouldn’t have been on the field of play with the wild shits. It was just the shits. Possibly even the mild shits.

    2. The Guardian’s OBO is inviting suggestions for toilet trouble euphamisms.

      The best efforts so far include “The wild Laurel and Hardys” and “A queasy premonition”.

      Have at it.

  3. Hughes holding the Australian innings together at the moment.

    (I just thought I’d put that up as a gift to you all this fine morning – Enjoy)

  4. Can I be the first one this summer to do one of these:



    1. Nine down now.

      Hughes’s selection actually now makes sense. If you are losing wickets at a pace, what you need is a happy-go-lucky idiot at the other end throwing the bat at everything in reach, just hoping for a lucky 20 or so. This is Hughes’s perfect role. Credit to the Aussie selectors for realising that Australia would be nine down for 100-odd in every test this summer.

    1. Yes, confound these largely unknown teenage non-spinning left-arm test match debutants with their run-a-ball nearly-half-centuries.

      Confound them!

  5. It’s the sheer speed of scoring that’s impressive. England can’t even get it down to less than eight an over at the minute.

    1. I hate it when this happens. Just as miserable as when Tino Best and Tim Southee did it.

      Some people manage to enjoy exuberant batting from tail enders even when it’s against their side. I can’t. I never wanted him to make his century, I am delighted he didn’t and I hope the fact he didn’t makes the Australians feel a little down.

  6. Fair play to the lad. You can’t begrudge him his moment. It might be the greatest of his career.

    Oh. Root’s out. Shitbags.

    1. I can and do begrudge him every single run he scored.

      Root was inevitable. I just hope Nick Compton is laughing his ass off.

    2. Tough times, but this is what international sport is all about. You need to remain mentally strong and not crumple in the face of adversity.

      Remember, momentum can be gained and lost in an instant (and has no discernible benefit).

  7. Why is everyone surprised? After all folks, he is only a ‘kar’ short of greatness.

    1. In our fragile emotional state, we can’t work out whether that makes things worse or not.

      We’ll just assume that it does.

  8. I’m almost relieved that I missed out on followingthis day, although I now have to take in a concensed version of the horrors via the highlights.

    All results still possible in this match – the Aussies have to bat last. England might yet bat long enough and score enough runs to make that a challenging prospect.

    1. I meant condensed, not concensed.

      I’m not sure what concensed means, but it might be defined as “being deceived into a false belief about something, for example, construing when the score was 117/9 that England would have a juicy first innings lead.”

  9. 1) Agar won’t do that twice in a row, though he may score important runs again in the series.

    2) The rest of the so-called Aus batting line-up are perfectly capable of stuffing up again.

    3) Cook has gone into crab mode which means you will be AT LEAST 300 runs ahead by end of Eng 2nd innings which will be far more than the Aussies can get.

  10. The comments on this blog have gone down in quality since I was last here (probably last Ashes). They used to be vaguely amusing/pompous. Now they’re just a bit sullen/pompous. Perhaps you should all go back to taking photos of indifferent cats and goo-ing over them in Twitter. That seems to be what Poms do best.

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