Workhorse Peter Siddle impresses on tiring day
Peter Siddle wants to continue being in Australia's scheme of things. (Getty Image)

The opening day of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia was a tough one for the visitors. In Dubai’s hot and tiring conditions, Australia’s pacers were made to toil as Pakistan batted to reach 255 for three at stumps. In fact, the heat was so brutal that towards the end of play, Mitchell Starc suffered from cramps and went down before returning to bowl the final of the day.

On a day when the temperature soared over 40 degrees, fast bowler Starc and Peter Siddle combined to bowl 37 overs, but it was an effort that wouldn’t go unrewarded. After two wicketless session, Australia came back post tea and picked up three wickets for 56 runs after Mohammad Hafeez had scored a century and with Imam-Ul-Haq had out on 205 runs for the opening wicket.

Siddle, Australia’s most economical bowler with 1/23 in 15 overs, during the media briefing, said that despite conditions being extremely challenging, he felt good to be back. This is Australia’s first Test since the tour of South Africa in March.

“The first Test (back after a break) is always hard, you use up so much energy building up for that match, building up for that first leap. Day one is usually the hardest because you’re so hyped to get into it,” Siddle said.

“To only go for (55) runs at the back end of a day when a team is none down at tea, that’s a tremendous effort from the whole group to be able to restrict them to that. It’s always a tough challenge going over to the different Asian conditions and digging in with the heat, but the boys handled it really well – today was one of the cooler days we’ve had since we’ve been here. It was well-toiled by us and you look at it at tea time, it could’ve been a lot worse… To get wickets along the way, it showed the hard work’s paying off.”

The 33-year-old fast bowler, who is into his 10th year of international cricket, added that the image of Starc breaking down was not concerning and in fact, humorous. ”It’s always funny for the other blokes out on the field to see one of your teammates cramping up,” the veteran quick said of his pace partner. “He’s feeling all right, just a little bit of cramp. He toiled hard,” Siddle added.

“He was cramping from about an hour out (from stumps), he was struggling. If we get a wicket late, especially if a tail-ender comes in, he’s usually the man to get thrown the ball again.

“It was great fight from him to finish off there and (he) got close but not close enough. He’ll rest up tonight, he was fine coming off – just a little bit of cramp, which is always a good little laugh for the rest of the boys.”

Siddle pointed out that despite being away from international cricket, he hasn’t lost the hunger to perform at the highest level. Prior to this match, the last time Siddle played a Test for Australia was nearly two years back, against South Africa in November 2016, after which the fast bowler was not considered into Australia’s scheme of things. Having done well for Essex this season, picking up 37 wickets in seven County matches, coupled by the fact that Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins were out injured, Siddle got a chance to represent Australia again.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing for Australia again in the last few years, but I’ve concentrated on just performing wherever I played,” said Siddle. “Today was a nice reward for the time I’ve put in off the park and all the other teams I’ve played for in the last 18 months to get back out there and pull on the Baggy Green and walk out there with those three guys starting their journey.”