On days like the third in Abu Dhabi, it was very plausible to ask aloud that old question: who would be a fast bowler? During the last decade, the paceman Australians have become quite accustomed to the "smile and hold" position after the batters fell in a heap too regular for the taste of their compatriots.
It turns out that Peter Siddle's entire test race lasted that same decade, starting 10 years ago this week with the hard work of the 2008 Mohali test. Shining in a coral necklace, Siddle hit Gautam Gambhir in the helmet with his first ball and he caught Sachin Tendulkar as his first wicket at the end of that same day, on the way to experiencing a considerable defeat when Ricky Ponting's team renounced global supremacy. for the first time since the Mark Taylor team won in the West Indies in 1995.
Siddle has played in a total of 63 races for 31 wins. Only eight of them have taken place abroad, and none of them in Asia. So it was not without a great knowledge that Siddle summed up the task facing the bowlers of Australia after a first chance he improvised barely 145, turning the mediocre 282 of Pakistan into an acclaimed score.
"We tried several different theories." In different stages, we tried a bit the previous night, different locations in the field and rolling different areas. It makes it difficult when they are so far ahead and control the game. It makes it difficult, "said Siddle." Today we went back to trying to dry the races, we tried to increase the pressure a bit and continue from there.
"It was a long day, but in the end it worked for us, we were not getting much benefit from the window, there was not much happening there, but the credit also to Pakistan, they beat magnificently in the game situation, they had time and they had a great boost from their bowling tickets, it was hard work, but all the boys gave credit, all those who took the ball in their hands, dug, did the best they could.
"We played with the field here and there, but we tried almost everything we could. It is only one. of those days, but as I said at the end of the day, regardless of whether they were going to declare or not, we do not know, but we will be able to get those last lands quickly, at least, put them under some pressure with the decision they were going to make ".
Those small incremental wins are the only things a team can expect in these situations, where often even parity in the first innings still gives the third batting team the opportunity to drive the game and set it up for a final day of Searching for windows as the tone deteriorates This is particularly true in the second of the consecutive games, and the toll was as clear as the laborious walk of Mitchell Starc, who now looks after the left hamstring and the absence of Usman Khawaja, who needs scans on his left knee after spending the entire third day off the field after a mishap during warm-up.
Other They've felt the pinch of brief changes, either James Pattinson tearing a lateral muscle in the Lord's 2013 after other hitters fell for the first time. or Siddle himself: missed the Perth Test against South Africa in 2012 because he was so sore from the Adelaide draw that preceded him, or he suffered a back injury in Perth in 2016 after having emerged from another stress fracture suffered in New Zealand the same year. . In that sense, he spoke with empathy from Starc, noticing how the left armman stayed on the field all the time, although as a slip in the ringing largely.
"He's not 100%, but the good thing was that he stayed on the field, he's been knocked down during this game when necessary, so it's a work in progress with the way he travels, but He still ran across the field, "said Siddle. "We will evaluate him in the coming days, we will see how he recovers tomorrow after spending all his time there." At this stage, a similar story is that we do not know until the next couple of days how it was evaluated, but it was good to see it in the field and he still puts on when he needs it.
"He's pretty quiet and a pretty strong character, so when things have turned up, he tries and keeps it pretty discreet. All I was thinking about was staying in the country, supporting the boys, being there with the boys and being able to contribute as much as I could. Actually, I do not know. He has kept it quite close to his chest. It's good to see him out there. Obviously, you know you're struggling a bit, but to see him still fight and play when necessary, I think he shows a good character that he still wants to put on for the team and be there for the guys. "
No surprises and no unfairly, Siddle pointed out the match situations he had played when he was alerted to the unpleasant comparison between his three windows for the series in 56 races each, and the 12 at 11.08 collected by Mohammad Abbas. Bowling when his team has been in front and we have been under pressure, "said Siddle. It makes it much easier to shoot down when the opposition is under pressure. However, his team has put him in those positions.
"That was the hardest thing for us, we had to be very defensive, we were under a lot of pressure when we came out and we faced each other. The credit for him, he played magnificently, he put the ball in the right areas, he has been patient, he has been consistent, he has been very successful at all times, he has done much better than many fast players, "I have done in these two places. It must be recognized that he has worked hard and that he has done the work for his team. "
At age 33, Siddle was chosen without qualms by national selectors for his experience and resilience, with his recent emergence as a T20 operator rewarded by a call as cover for Starc in the next series of white balls to follow this test.But it should not be forgotten that his reappearance as a competitor for international service came through his expert use of the Dukes ball for Essex in England, in conditions so far away from the United Arab Emirates as to make him play bowling in a cap in
Eight months after the Ashes tour next year, it would be easy to use this series as a reason to dismiss Siddle, particularly with a group of younger, fast men trying to grab an elbow for a test position in the early rounds of the Sheffield shield, apart from Starc, Pat Cummins and J osh Hazlewood, current tourists Brendan Doggett and Michael Neser will compete with Chris Tremain, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Joe Mennie, among others.
Once, he could not call him in place of retired Ryan Harris until the story of the Ashes 2015 series had already been written, in an error recognized by former captain Michael Clarke. To do so would be to pay little attention to the loyal service of a bowler who has had to deal with many more average teams around him than the strong ones.