A magic trick

'Birthday boy Siddle gives Aussies sensational start to series'

It was a terrific spell that ripped the guts out of England, who now look at least 100 runs light on this surface if not 130.

Bob Willis
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    Australia v England

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When it comes to extraordinary stories, the Ashes always delivers!

Peter Siddle's hat-trick is the stuff dreams are made of and goes to show why Test cricket remains such a wonderful, absorbing game.

The birthday boy had an immense impact on the opening day of the series and fully justified the selectors' decision to give him the nod over Doug Bollinger!

He was by far the pick of the Australian bowlers (the rest of the attack looked decidedly ordinary on a pretty placid pitch) once he discovered he could be a far greater threat by pitching the ball up.

At 197-4 honours were more or less even but then Siddle angled one across Alastair Cook to remove him and produced two more perfect, full deliveries to dismiss Matt Prior and Stuart Broad.

It was a terrific spell that ripped the guts out of England, who now look at least 100 runs light on this surface if not 130.


The challenge for England's bowlers is to learn from Siddle's success.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad attempted to do that in the short spell before stumps without being bang on their game but you can forgive them that after a disappointing day.

Shane Warne says the pitch will speed up a little bit but it looks a pretty flat batting track to me and England will have to hope that the temperature doesn't soar tomorrow otherwise they could be in for some hard yards.

It's been pretty cool for Brisbane so far, which has made for very pleasant conditions for the fielding side, and the last thing England will want is a scorching second day in Brisbane.


After all of the hype and the confident build-up this first day was desperately disappointing for England - particularly as most of the batsmen got in but couldn't go on to big scores.

Losing Andrew Strauss to the third ball of the series was as close to the worst start that they could have had but I think his dismissal was borne of adrenalin.

Strauss, usually so strong on the cut, didn't control the shot very well - the ball from Ben Hilfenhaus was a little bit too close to him if truth be told - chiefly because he seemed to think it was a bit wider than it was.

For two sessions thereafter the home crowd was largely subdued and a lot of that was down to Alastair Cook's doggedness.

He's not the most gifted player but he is an intelligent young man who thought the situation out well and realised exactly what type of innings was required after England lost that early wicket.

It was encouraging to see him and Jonathan Trott dig in together because if Australia do take the sizeable first-innings lead, England will need to show much more resilience second time around.

Another big plus was the form of Ian Bell, who played beautifully; he looks the finished article these days and much more mature player than the one who toured here four years ago.

He more than played his part in an excellent day's cricket. Now it's up to England to get back on terms.

Comments (7)

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Marc J says...

Bob, you wrote him off in your previous article saying you don't know why he's in their team!!! Can poor bowlers can test hatricks? That one did.

Posted 07:10 27th November 2010

Stephen Burns says...

i wouldnt make a huge deal out of australias bowling impotence.ive been watching cricket 5 years now and englands batsmen seem to make a good job of getting themselves out

Posted 14:46 26th November 2010

Harry Harrison says...

Congratulations to Peter Siddle on a wonderful bowling performance. However as Bob has correctly pointed out, the other Australian bowlers were ordinary. While it has been proven that the Australian selectors were right to put Siddle in the team, Bollinger should be in for Mitchell Johnson. Johnson does not have the mental stability required to play under the pressure of an Ashes series. He is far too erratic and has bowls on the pads way too much. Bollinger has proven to be a better bowler than him over the last year so hopefully they'll wake up and send Johnson back to WA.

Posted 21:28 25th November 2010

George Staples says...

well well!! So England arrogantly encourage the media to film their celebration dance, before the first day. Shouldn't they have been in the nets practising their shots? All this arrogance and hype, all this togetherness, this bonding etc. what is the result? Do they ever learn, that you can't ever underestimate the Aussies... They always come up with the unexpected. Now perhaps Messrs Flower and Strauss will spend some time thinking about selection issues. There are players who are favourites and always play. Selection should be about form. Prior is a very ordinary keeper who occasionally gets runs, he is not the best keeper in the party but will always play. Perhaps those who are thinking about the I.P.L. should be encouraged to leave early and leave some spaces for newcomers to Test cricket. This was always coming. George Staples

Posted 17:55 25th November 2010

Sikandar Joosub says...

Australia will go on an make between 400 and 450 on this track. England will be under severe pressure both from the scoreboard and their on demons and fold in the second innings. Australia to win by an innings or by a wide margin. This tesy will not go the full five days. England will have to re-assess their strengths and weakness,s and play within their capabilities of having half a chance to retain the ashes. Once the Aussies have momentum you lot could get a 5-0 whitewash. Ouch!

Posted 14:34 25th November 2010

Tom Scott says...

Write the Aussies of at your perol! seemed to me all the English press were OVER confident of this series but the facts remain, we havn't won an ashes series in OZ since 1987, and the Australian team don't become bad overnight. They still have plenty of match winnrs as shown of day 1of the 1st test. Every player will need to contribute, as in 05 and 09 to stand a chance of takig the urn back home.

Posted 11:20 25th November 2010

David Mckeown says...

Same old same old.... Our batsmen get in and get out. You must fill yer boots in Oz and get hundreds. Still, I don't see any demons in their attack. Some jaffas from Siddle there but where were the rest? Watson on early... wow venomous. Another missed opportunity and hard yakka from here.

Posted 10:25 25th November 2010

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