Peter Siddle and Mitchell Marsh have taken centre-stage in Australia’s bowling – leaving England in a mess and the Aussie selectors to ponder what might have been.
Siddle’s absence for four of the five Tests this summer is likely to be one of the major questions hanging over that selection panel as they pick through the bones of a fourth successive Ashes defeat on English soil.
As he has proved at The Oval, the 30-year-old Victorian appeared to be the perfect man to exploit the movement offered by English pitches.
Siddle’s ability to kiss the pitch and move the ball at a lively, if not express, pace would have made him a handful at Cardiff, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge – the three Tests that ultimately decided the direction of the series.
As it was, he wasn’t running in at English batsman, he was simply serving the drinks to Australia’s increasingly under-fire batsmen. In the pre-lunch session here, Siddle bowled six overs for just one run. He also took the hapless Adam Lyth and offered the kind of control that Australia’s bowling attack has so badly lacked throughout the series.
Marsh, meanwhile, should be equally miffed at his marginal role in his first Ashes series.
He missed out at Cardiff and Trent Bridge, inexplicably replaced in the latter by his brother, Shaun. His batting is still clearly a work in progress but with the ball he appears to share Ben Stokes’ ability to take wickets at crucial times.
Bowling at around 80mph, Marsh took three wickets in England’s first innings, including the prized scalps of Joe Root and Stokes. In the second innings, he induced an edge from Ian Bell to leave England in deep, deep trouble. Unlike the outgoing captain, Marsh has a big role to play in Australia’s future. On this evidence, then so does Siddle.Reuse content