Australia paceman Peter Siddle revealed he and his team-mates were in the dark over captain Michael Clarke’s decision to declare and leave England with two days to bat out the second Ashes Test.
Holding a monumental lead of 530 with seven second-innings wickets remaining against England in Adelaide, Clarke was expected to let in-form opener David Warner continue the charge for more runs on the fourth morning.
But, perhaps with one eye on forecast showers that failed to arrive, Clarke sprung it on his players as they went about their warm-ups that they would be looking to inflict further misery on England’s batsmen upon the resumption.
The element of surprise appeared to have the desired effect as openers Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry fell cheaply to the short ball, before Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen struck half-centuries in a dogged rearguard that closed on 247 for six.
“It was all Michael this morning,” said Siddle, who dismissed Carberry and Pietersen on his way to miserly figures of 2-21 from 13 overs at stumps. “We weren’t sure turning up what we were going to do.
“We went out the back and were getting ready and just warmed up like we were going to be batting.
“The boys were out there having a bit of a hit and we just loosened up a little bit knowing that we’d have to bowl at some time in the morning.
“He ended up coming up to us and said, ‘Let’s just get stuck into them straight away and go from there’.
“That didn’t worry us too much. We were confident with the runs we had on the board and we knew we just had to go out there and work hard.
“We knew it was going to be tough; it’s never going to be easy on the wicket out there.
“But we toiled well all day. We got six wickets down and can hopefully get a few more early ones tomorrow.”
Quick wickets will be the order of the day as Australia look to push home a considerable position of strength and secure a 2-0 series lead tomorrow morning, and Siddle believes the in-form home attack has plenty of weapons at their disposal as a docile surface starts to wear.
“I think the big factor is probably going to be the (second) new ball,” he added. “It’s only 10 overs old so we’re still going to have a good crack at that early on.
“There was a little bit of swing around this afternoon so hopefully there’s a little bit more tomorrow morning and a couple of quick wickets would be nice.
“The bounce has been playing up a little bit, as it does usually late in a Test match. That’s probably going to help us a little bit.
“We’ll try and get the reverse (swing) going and try and see if we can have success with that. We just want to try and get these wickets as soon as we can.”