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.
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.