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Six-pack of options, but who stays home?

Date

Andrew Wu examines the strengths and weaknesses of the six fast bowling candidates for the third Test in Perth.

Heroic ... Peter Siddle.

Heroic ... Peter Siddle. Photo: Getty Images

Andrew Wu examines the strengths and weaknesses of the six fast bowling candidates for the third Test in Perth.

1. PETER SIDDLE

Case for: Victoria's most famous vegetarian became Michael Clarke's go-to man in Adelaide when the Test was on the line - and delivered in spades. The whole country saw his heroics on the final day but it's worth remembering it was his fiery spell two days earlier that turned the game Australia's way.

Variation ... Mitchell Starc.

Variation ... Mitchell Starc. Photo: Getty Images

 Case against: After bowling 53 overs in Brisbane, Siddle headed into red flag territory with his 64 overs in Adelaide. Australia's medical staff will be racing against the clock to patch him up for Friday but there must be concerns he could be vulnerable to injury should he back up in Perth.

 

2. BEN HILFENHAUS

inconsistent ... Mitchell Johnson.

inconsistent ... Mitchell Johnson. Photo: Getty Images

Case for: The Tasmanian made good improvement in Adelaide and he'll appreciate the WACA even more where the Fremantle Doctor should help his outswinger. The 29-year-old destroyed India in Perth last year and despite his technical troubles remains clearly Australia's best swing bowler.

 Case against: Hilfenhaus is yet to rediscover the form of 12 months ago and appears to be paying the price for a preparation dominated by Twenty20 cricket. Like Siddle, he's also bowled plenty of overs this series and the short turnaround between Tests may count against him in any line-ball call.

 

3. MITCHELL STARC

Case for: He was close to playing in Adelaide so logic says he should come straight in for the injured James Pattinson. A left-armer, Starc provides much-needed variation to the attack and he will also be suited by the Doctor.

 Case against: The youngster is yet to hit his straps since returning from the Champions League and selectors may decide to instead back Johnson's experience and proven track record in Perth and against South Africa. It's hard to see the hosts having two left-armers in the XI.

 

4. MITCHELL JOHNSON

Case for: The mercurial Johnson seems to wear a cape whenever he wears the baggy green cap out west. His career-best 8-61 in Perth four years ago and his devastating spell at the venue in the last Ashes series will be very hard for the selectors to ignore.

 Case against: As difficult as it is to forget Johnson's outstanding numbers in Perth, his waywardness and inconsistency towards the end of his last stint in the Test side is also hard to overlook. Johnson says he has improved in this area, so too do many in the know. But are the selectors game enough to find out?

 

5. JOSH HAZLEWOOD

Case for: First-class batsmen around the country have been impressed by the 21-year-old from Tamworth. He hits the deck hard, generates steep bounce with his extra height and will appreciate a lively surface. Former Test quick Stuart Clark is adamant he won't let Australia down if handed the opportunity.

 Case against: The friendly giant is still finding his feet at Sheffield Shield level and his record of 43 wickets at 32 hardly screams ''pick me''. If Siddle is passed fit to play, Hazlewood will most likely have to wait until Boxing Day at the earliest to make his Test debut.

 

6. JOHN HASTINGS

Case for: He does not appear the most threatening of bowlers but he keeps taking wickets. On the comeback trail from shoulder surgery, Hastings has collected 22 Shield victims at 19 this summer, including a five-for in his last game. Also a handy lower-order batsman.

  Case against: At around 130km/h Hastings is not overly quick, nor does he produce sharp movement. Can you play Test cricket with such a repertoire? And if you were Graeme Smith, would you rather face Johnson or Hastings?

1 comment so far

  • So you come out of a Shield game where Jackson Bird ripped it to shreds with 6 for 24, making it 78 wickets in 14 Shield games, yet you pick Mitchell Johnson in the squad, after indifferent Shield form this year, on the hope that he'll revisit prior Perth heroics.

    Nice selections boys. I love the common sense.

    Commenter
    Karma Police
    Date and time
    November 28, 2012, 9:54AM

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