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August 2009
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Peter Siddle: Oval biggest game of my career

August 19th, 2009 by Peter Siddle in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes


This Oval Test is without doubt the biggest game of my career. Every Test match is important but there is so much riding on this. Being an Aussie it compares to an AFL grand final – a huge occasion with a big build up. Everyone will be watching back home and we’re desperate to do well for them and ourselves. We’ve had good preparation, enjoying the hype, and above all it’s exciting – we’ve got a great group of guys, who have been working hard together all tour and now it comes down to this match.

We know we only need a draw to retain the Ashes, but we will be going all out for the win. If you go in with the attitude that a draw is enough you are moving away from your natural game – that would be the worst thing we could do and would play into England’s hands. If you look through our side we are full of aggressive cricketers, even at Lord’s when we were chasing a massive total Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin still tried to win five wickets down. We love to go hard at the opposition and hopefully that will pay off.

I can’t wait for the game to start. I’ve played four Ashes Tests now and am used to the hype – this series is bigger than anything I’ve played and I was nervous coming into the early games, but I’ve relaxed now and it’s helped. The pressure will be there but it’s why you play the game. The pitch looks like a beautiful cricket wicket – people have said it can become a batter’s paradise but if you bowl well there’s good bounce and pace, which suits my game. I had success at Headingley where the wicket was offering a bit but I’ve done better on the wickets with pace where I can charge through and get at the batsman.

There’s definitely the potential for reverse swing here – the wicket is rock hard, and the square and the outfield the same, so the ball will rough up. Provided it stays dry the reverse swing could be a real factor. A combination of things have meant that it hasn’t really come into the series so far – the balls have stayed in good condition, the grounds haven’t helped it and the wet weather has played a part so the ball has been swinging in an orthodox way up to the 80th over. If the selectors decide that is the way to go then Brett Lee could have a big part to play. He’s done a great job exploiting conditions like this for Australia in the past on the dryer wickets in the subcontinent or back home. But it will depend on the weather, the state of the wicket and what the selectors think.

It’ll be another tough call for them this match, with a fully fit squad and everyone desperate to play a part in the decider. I wish we could all play but there are only so many spots and it’ll be desperately tough on those who miss out. Stuart Clark and Brett haven’t played as much as they’d have liked but they have been brilliant all tour – always there with advice and they know what to say and how to relax you when perhaps things aren’t going so well.

As for England, they’ll have the Freddie factor, which will give them a big lift, and they’ve also brought in Jonathan Trott who will be keen to show why they have selected him ahead of Ravi Bopara. Some of the boys have played county cricket against him and he’s scored a few runs this year so there hasn’t been any shortage of highlights watch. He’s a new guy in a pressure game, so we’re not going to worry too much about him and his strengths, we’re just going to go about our game and let him come to us. People talk about comparisons to Kevin Pietersen. It’s always exciting playing against guys who play like KP. I’m looking forward to it.

Peter Siddle is blogging for throughout the Ashes

Posted in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes |

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