Well let's face it, it was humbug to put a sla in just for KP. I've begun to like the Xman for his workhorse attitude and dedication. But earlier I wrote that Oz might have picked him in the Gabba squad as a token spinner, well he eventually made it into the team but couldn't prosper apart from playing for the sake of playing, which corresponds, imho, to the definition of a token. If he gets kicked now you will ask yourself what is more humiliating: playing no Tests at all, or just one?
The Adelaide Oval is suspected to provide spinnier conditions, but in the last Test Australia played there, in the first days of December as well, Hauritz took just two wickets in the first innings, one of which was a tailender, and didn't have any impact in the second round, while the cake was shared among the pacers: Mitch got eight & belted around, Bolly grabbed five, and on the Windie side of things it didn't look much different.
Well, Sulie got a fiver first up, but Sulie is Sulie; he went wicketless in his second turn, albeit at a great economy, particularly compared to the high economy rates of most of the fast bowlers.
At The Wisden Cricketer Jrod suggests to go in with four quicks, i.e. ditch Mitch and X and attack with Siddle, Harris, Bollinger and Hilfenhaus. Well Jrod has many ideas I approve of, especially if they don't involve any campaigns for Victorians, and again I find myself grinning like not quite right in the head, and not just my applause and wise nodding, but also common sense suggest that Oz should decide in favour of the all-pace route.
Well, there is still my man Steve O'Keefe waiting in the wings. He has a lot less first class experience under the belt than Xavier Doherty, but only half his average, and he removed KP. Besides, unlike X, he has already seen a bat from close range and could fill the not yet existing boots of an annoying, ankle-biting upper tail hang-arounder. Needless to say that many people agree with me; although to be honest I've avoided checking their places of birth.
However, the four-pronged pace attack is Australia's best option at the moment, but you can bet your arse and that of your mother that the selectors will stick to X, because admitting and correcting a mistake is out of the question, they get paid for what in their opinion saves their faces, not for picking Australia's best bowlers. It's a bit of a Ricky Ponting behavioural pattern here. I remember him refusing to plug a gap in the field after he had just removed the fielder from there and the batsman hammered a few juicy ones through it.
Alright, back to topic, remains the North question. I am really undecided on this one, the reason could be a general state of resignation, campaigning-against-North-fatigue and having got used to him being around for shit and giggles. What a great opportunity to take another bend to Steve O'Keefe! SOK can and will take one wicket as well, and he will also make one run. Were there any other reasons for North playing in Adelaide?
Last but not least, in my previous post I said Clarke should get rested to sort his back out. I think his fielding was below standard and he also struggled with the bat. No use dragging a patient along, especially as he can't bowl either in these circumstances. I would suggest Aiden Blizzard here. His figures speak for themselves, a first class average of 56.33 (I can sing this even in my sleep) and the ability to drag his team out of the swamp by their collars could provide exactly the steamroll effect Oz would hope to see from one of their batsmen. Okay okay no need to yell me to death! Push the whole bunch up the order and slot Cameron White in.
Alright back to the harsh reality: Mitch stays because Nielsen is backing him and he took eight last time, North stays as well. Means that either Hilf might get axed but don't believe so, or Doherty (don't believe so either), means Oz could go in with the same line-up. And Mitch will take 50 wickets and North will make a triple ton.