Australia may change pace bowlers consistently

Zubin Daver, December 24 2012,
Although Australia's selectors are currently employing a rotational policy towards the playing of their fast bowlers in Test matches, in an attempt to keep them fresh and injury free, Peter Siddle doesn't see this as confirmation that we won't see Australian quicks steaming in through an entire summer's Test matches in the future.
Had taken a break from the third Test against South Africa
Had taken a break from the third Test against South Africa
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The signs are that Jackson Bird will become the seventh fast bowler to appear for the Australians this summer, following reports that Mitchell Starc is likely to be rested from the match against Sri Lanka starting on Boxing Day. If this is the case, then Siddle will be the only fast bowler to retain his place after victory in the first Test of the series in Hobart.

Ben Hilfenhaus has been ruled out the Melbourne Test with a side injury, and if the selectors do decide to rest Starc until the New Year's Test in Sydney, Siddle, Bird and Mitchell Johnson will comprise the seam bowling attack in Melbourne.

In just four Tests this summer, Australia have already used Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Starc, Johnson, James Pattinson and John Hastings. Quite a change in policy, since 2006-7, when the same pace attack played in every Test during that year's Ashes series.

Ryan Harris, Pat Cummins and Trent Copeland have also been selected and left out of the Test team during the past 18 months, while spinners haven't been exempt from the merry-go-round of election either, with Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer also suffering the same fate.

Whether the changes have been the result of a loss of form, an injury or an attempt to manage the bowler's workload, the players have had to learn to bond with their team-mates and developing bowling partnerships as they go along. Although Siddle has assured the public that the bowlers had become accustomed to working with whoever was selected from Test to Test.

Siddle who bowled 51.3 overs at Bellerive Oval, coped far better with that workload than he did at Adelaide against the South Africans, when he was forced to miss the next Test of that series as a result. Starc on the other hand, who delivered 52.2 overs in the Hobart match seems set to be rested for one of the next two Test matches, taking into account both his age and workload.

If Siddle plays in the next Test, it will be his fifth consecutive Boxing Day Test at his home ground, and he will come into it in the best of form, having taken 15 wickets at under 20 runs a piece in his past two Tests, while his record at the MCG is also very good, with 18 wickets at slightly over 22 runs each. If Siddle's record isn't enough to worry the Tourists, then they might consider that Bird, who in just two first-class appearances at the MCG, has figures of 5 for 35, 5 for 61 and 4 for 73.

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