Cricket 2 years ago

Siddle has stress fractures in back

  • Siddle has stress fractures in back

    Australian captain Steve Smith says he is rapt with the country's depth of fast bowlers. (Photo: Getty Images)

Many factors led to Australia reclaiming the No.1 Test ranking but pace depth was high on the list.

Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris both retired last year, robbing coach Darren Lehmann of the two most important veterans in his pace battery.

Injuries also started to stack up over summer.

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Pat Cummins had high hopes of playing his first Test on home soil but suffered yet another stress fracture in his back.

Mitchell Starc was booked in for overdue ankle surgery after the inaugural day-night Test.

Nathan Coulter-Nile dislocated a shoulder when a Baggy Green beckoned after Starc's setback.

Peter Siddle prospered but dealt with ankle and back spasms, the latter ruling him out of the second trans-Tasman Test in Christchurch.

Skipper Steve Smith couldn't be more proud of how his inexperienced attack rattled New Zealand in a 2-0 series win.

"You always want your strike bowlers on the park as much as possible," Smith said.

"But I guess that's the way cricket works.

"Particularly with fast bowlers, they can go down at any time.

"Credit to the Australian system, having so many guys around that are capable of playing Test cricket."

Josh Hazlewood stepped up as spearhead, setting the tone for the NZ series by snaring three wickets in his opening spell on day one of the first Test.

But Jackson Bird was just as influential in the second Test, grabbing his maiden five-wicket haul in Christchurch.

"I thought he bowled really well, particularly in this second innings to take five wickets," Smith said.

"It's great to have the stocks in Australia to make sure we're putting a good side on the park every game we play."

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