Johannesburg – While the Australian cricket team is known for its aggression in the Test format, their batsmen and bowlers alike are preaching patience as the key to success in their upcoming three-Test series against South Africa, starting on February 12.
Fast bowler Peter Siddle said a more measured approach had been instrumental in their recent 5-0 thumping of England in Australia.
“The players have changed a little bit recently,” Siddle said in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“A few of the older boys are in the bowling attack, and the combination with Nathan Lyon in the Ashes in the summer back home showed how far we've come.
“We're bowling a lot better as team and just staying more patient with bat and ball.”
Number five batsman Steven Smith echoed the sentiments of his teammate, saying patience was a major factor in his own development.
“Throughout the summer back home the biggest thing for me was my patience,” Smith said.
“I left the ball, and I waited for the bowlers to get in my areas before I played the shots that weren't there.
“Patience is something I'm going to need against the South African bowlers.
“They're very good at what they do. So I just need to wait for them to get in my areas before I can cash in.”
The Australians used short-pitched bowling in the series against England to good effect, and Siddle said it could work against the Proteas.
“I think short-pitched bowing can work against anyone,” he said.
“When you've got Mitchell Johnson bowling at those speeds, I don't think it matters who you're playing or how good the batsman are, it's hard work.”
Siddle believed spinner Nathan Lyon was a vital cog in the aggressive Australian bowling unit.
“Yes we do play aggressively and attack hard as bowlers.
“We've also been able to keep patient and bowl consistently as a group and that's shown.
“With Nathan bowling so well down the other end, it's let us three quicks bowl fast, shorter spells.”
On the batting side, Smith said the top order had also matured and yielded positive results.
“Our top six are a little bit more established after the Australian summer.
“The India series and the Ashes series in England weren't our finest moments, but we certainly improved and learnt from what we did wrong.
“We're certainly gelling on well together as a batting unit, and hopefully some big individual scores and big partnerships over here can set us up for some good cricket matches.” – Sapa