Australia's pace attack stuck to their task to win the first Test against Sri Lanka, says Jason Gillespie
Jason Gillespie applauded Australia's pace attack for ending Sri Lanka's defiance to win the first Test.
Last Updated: 19/12/12 2:27pm
Sri Lanka, chasing an unlikely 393 to win in their second innings, had dropped anchor and were looking on course to secure a draw at tea, with just four wickets down for 186.
However, in a blistering spell of bowling in the evening session, Siddle, who finished with match figures of 9-104, removed Thilan Samaraweera (49) and Angelo Mathews, before Mitchell Starc wrapped up the final four wickets to finish with 5-63 in the second innings.
"It looked like Australia expected the wickets to fall," said former Australia quick Gillespie.
"We've spoken about the wicket deteriorating, a lot of inconsistent bounce and we felt all through the game the Australia bowlers would be the ones who would probably get more out of that wicket.
"But they didn't quite hit their straps earlier in the day - however, post-tea I thought Australia's bowling was fantastic."
Gillespie has special praise for Man-of-the-Match Siddle, who he felt was underused by captain Michael Clarke.
"We've spoken about pitching it up and looking to hit off stump and pretty much all his dismissals are doing that or on the line of fourth stump," he said.
"He produced some fantastic bowling and summed up the conditions perfectly.
"However, I think he was underused early on. He only bowled five overs in the first session. Michael Clarke has said he's the leader of the attack and you wonder why, in an extended session, you'd only use him for five overs."
Croft was equally surprised to see Siddle used so sparingly. The former England spinner was also critical of Australia not selecting him for the recent series decider against South Africa, which they lost.
"I sense there's a lot of bubble wrap being used with Siddle," he said.
"The precaution and trying to look after fast bowlers is going a little bit over the top now. I was disappointed he didn't play that last Test match for Australia against south Africa, a few days after the Adelaide Test, because that was for number one status in Test cricket.
"He was asked there are you going to be fit for the second Test against Sri Lanka and he said yes - well, what's the difference?"
However, Croft did have praise for Siddle's pace partner, Starc who he says is a great asset for the hosts.
"Starc roared in during that final session," said Croft.
"He bowled exceptionally well at 90mph. He struggles to get the ball back into the right hander but when he gets reveres swing he's lethal - and his Yorkers are good enough to get anybody out.
"When you're batting, and he's bowling at 90mph, you can't predict if it's going to be short and you can't predict it's going to be full, because you can get a yorker as well. You can't set yourself to play against him.
"Because he's got that extra pace, he's got the x factor, he's a free spirit, just give him the ball and let him evolve."