Gillespie's decline tortures tourists and encourages the claims of Tait

None will have felt the discomfort more than Jason Gillespie, who may not have been able to dismiss the thought yesterday afternoon that his participation in the fourth Test must hang in the balance.

Gillespie has gone for a century before in his career, five times in fact. For a bowler of his willingness to shoulder heavy workloads it is an occupational hazard.

The difference this time was the speed at which it happened. This was no marathon stint from the shaggy-haired pace bowler. Despite the injuries of which Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee were surely still feeling the effects, Gillespie was the least used of Australia's four front-liners, bowling 19 overs. He was in three figures by the 17th as England's batsmen, Michael Vaughan in particular, took runs off him at exactly six per over.

When, at last, he did enjoy a moment of success, hurrying one through to locate Geraint Jones's off stump, he celebrated with feeling, wagging a finger in the direction of the England fans who had taken such delight in watching him struggle.

"Where's your caravan?" they enquired, in the subtle way that football crowds routinely taunt anyone whose hair exceeds collar length, inferring some sort of gypsy heritage.

Gillespie, in fact, has Aborigine roots, of which he is proud. He had a right to be offended.

Some sympathy, then, was in order. But there is no disguising his figures. Once half, with McGrath, of the most potent new-ball attack in international cricket, Gillespie appears at 30 to be in decline, his compatriot's ability to withstand the toll of time - McGrath is five years his senior - seemingly having eluded him.

The wicket of Jones was his 251st in Test cricket but the rate at which he has added to his tally has slowed markedly. His last 11 Tests have yielded only 17; his figures for this Ashes series to date a dismal 3 for 277 from 63 overs. Less than a year ago, on tour in India , he was Australia's leading wicket-taker with 20 successes.

His team-mates are supportive, as would be expected. "When you're not bowling as well as you like, everything seems to be going against you," Shane Warne said. "I thought he bowled OK today, but the ball just seemed to find the gaps every time... I wouldn't be writing him off."

However, if Australia fail to escape at Old Trafford, change seems certain for Trent Bridge, with the rookie fast bowler Shaun Tait champing at the bit, as well as Stuart Clark, the Middlesex paceman summoned to Old Trafford as cover for McGrath and Lee. Gillespie is clearly vulnerable.

There was speculation ahead of the second Test that Michael Kasprowicz might be preferred but Gillespie did enough in the Australians' warm-up match against Worcestershire to keep his place.

Picking Tait might be seen as a gamble. The 22-year-old arrived in England, uncapped, with only 26 first-class matches under his belt. He took 2 for 51 from 13 overs at Worcestershire but that is his only competitive bowl in a tour that has allowed few practice opportunities for any of Ricky Ponting's squad.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape