James Pattinson (left) and Jackson Bird (right) are Australia’s reserve pacers © Getty Images
Port Elizabeth: Feb 24, 2014
With Australia losing the second Test at Port Elizabeth to South Africa by a whopping 231 runs, and the series-ending Third Test in Cape Town beginning on Saturday, selectors may just think of giving their unchanged bowling attack of the past seven Tests a break, and call on reserve pacers James Pattinson and Jackson Bird to effect a quick turnaround in the team’s fortunes.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle collectively bowled a whopping 121 overs out of almost 200 in the Port Elizabeth Test, which probably has left them exhausted and dispirited.
In the past three years, Australia has only fielded more than 200 overs in a match on three occasions.
In each, one of its bowlers succumbed to injury.
As South Africa coasted beyond 300 runs and 100 overs in its first innings, Australian captain Michael Clarke began preserving his strike-bowlers Johnson and Harris, using them for a total of three overs in the last 40 of the innings.
In the second innings, the captain kept them to short spells, with Siddle and off-spinner Nathan Lyon doing most of the bowling.
Clarke said his incumbent pacers had put in the hard yards at Port Elizabeth, and reiterated his preference for a seam-bowling all-rounder in the team.
He said that all-rounder Shane Watson is recovering well, but did not reveal whether he would be in a position to make the eleven for the Cape Town Test.