Tireless Siddle primed to answer the Lord's call
A surprise selection for the Edgbaston opener, Victorian veteran's team value extends beyond the wicket column and could be tough to unseat for second Test
7 August 2019, 03:21 PM AEST
A surprise selection for the opening Test against England, Peter Siddle now appears well placed to hold his spot for the second match at Lord's, potentially keeping Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood sidelined again.
Siddle was a "pretty strong gut feeling" selection by Justin Langer and Trevor Hohns on the morning of the first Test, edging out Starc for the final spot in the XI after a last look at the Edgbaston pitch.
"The way 'Sidds' played in that practice game and the way he's been bowling and the style of cricket we think we need to beat England," Langer said, explaining the selection.
"It was a line-ball decision – and it's easy to say in hindsight – but I thought Peter Siddle was almost the bowler of the game.
"He was brilliant. That was the best none-fa I've ever seen today."
Siddle bowled 12 wicketless overs in England's second innings that conceded just 28 runs, having taken 2-52 off 27 overs in the first innings. He was unlucky not to have added to that tally in the second innings when an edge off Jason Roy went wide off Tim Paine and Steve Smith shelled a chance at second slip off Chris Woakes.
And while Siddle said he was disappointed not to get the individual rewards, that is far outweighed by the team success.
Siddle joins fellow fast bowlers James Pattinson and Pat Cummins in being rested from this week's three-day tour match against county opposition side Worcestershire (along with spinner Nathan Lyon and batters Steve Smith and David Warner).
That will give Starc and Hazlewood the perfect opportunity to press their case for a Test recall against the side ranked second-bottom of county cricket's second division, but Siddle is confident his local knowledge and the unique conditions of Lord's leave him well placed to add to his 65 Test caps and 216 wickets.
"It is a place I love playing. My game, especially in the latter stages of my career, England is a place I'm suited to playing at," Siddle said during a series of radio interviews on Wednesday.
"Fast bowlers have had success there (at Lord's), yes, but it shows at times that just being crafty, putting it in the right area, making the most of that slope whichever end you bowl from, you can have success.
"Glenn McGrath was the perfect example of that, he made the most of (the slope) and he had a dream run there in matches he played.
"Hopefully I can do a similar thing, play my part, build the pressure and take those wickets along the way and hopefully play a part in moving towards the end goal of a series win."
Former Test captain Ricky Ponting also endorsed Siddle to retain his spot, although conceded a flat, batter-friendly pitch could force the Australians' hand.
"If it looks like it'll be a wicket that offers a bit to Sidds, he'd stay in. If it looks like it'll be a flat and dry one, there might be a case to make a change," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"We know McGrath has a great record at Lord's and loved bowling there. He used to seam the ball back down the slope because he wasn't a big swing bowler. The way Sidds is bowling now is actually quite similar to the way McGrath bowled in his last few years.
Siddle pointed to his vast experience and extended preparation in England as keys to being able to seamlessly adjust back to Test cricket. He has bowled more than 107 overs in first-class cricket at Lord's, more than three times as many overs than Starc or Hazlewood have at the venue.
"I've spent a lot of time playing county cricket, the past two seasons with Essex, so I've played loads of cricket here, I've been over here since the start of April. I was ready, I was primed, I was feeling good and in a good place, it was nice to go out there and play my part," the 34-year-old Victorian said.
"I didn't take as many wickets as you hope to as an individual. But if I keep bowling the way I am, building pressure and setting things up the other boys are going to get the job done.
"That's the strength of our bowling group, if we all build pressure and bowl well together as a cartel someone is going to get the rewards.
"(Lyon) held up the other end superbly in that second dig, took control of the game and then Patty was unbelievable, the aggression and pace, and he got the rewards.
"On other days it might be me, it might be (Pattinson) but as a whole it's amazing the work we did on that last day to bowl them out and get a win for Australia."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Tour match: Australians v Worcestershire, August 7-9
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval