TELFORD VICE, Perth
PETER Siddle would be forgiven for thinking he was in Adelaide when he woke up in Perth this morning.
It was, after all, in Adelaide four years ago that he delivered the performance that has defined his career.
Siddle has taken more wickets in a match than the 6/195 he claimed then, but he has yet to bowl more than the 63.5 overs he sent down.
And he has yet to show more guts. Few ever have.
As the sun beat down and the tension rose on the last day, it became clear that the essence of the contest was the duel between Siddle and Faf du Plessis.
Du Plessis won, standing firm for an undefeated 110 to save the match.
But that didn’t mean Siddle lost the battle of Adelaide Oval.
The sight of him as the day wore on bent over at the wait, or sinking to his haunches, or on all fours was what a winner looks like.
Or it was when, somehow, he got up to bowl another ball, another over, another spell …
“We tried everything under the sun,” Siddle said this week. “Even at the other end we couldn’t get breakthroughs until late in the day.
“We were cooked. Hopefully we won’t have too many more days like that. I don’t think I have had a day like that ever since.
“The biggest thing personally is putting yourself through that and knowing you can do it.
“People always talk about test cricket dying and all that kind of thing, but that’s exciting.
“I look back on it now and that just pulls you through because you want to perform.
“They are the challenges you love about test cricket.”
Doubtless Siddle woke up in love again this morning when Australia and South Africa tangled – or should that be tangoed? – in the first test at the WACA.
This is his first home test against South Africa since the Adelaide epic, and his first anywhere since suffering a stress fracture of the back in February.
Du Plessis, who made his debut in that Adelaide match, now returns as South Africa’s captain.
You couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?
Test cricket. Gotta love it.