The news of James Pattinson missing out on the remainder of the Ashes series due to a stress fracture in his back may have come as a double blow for the beleaguered Australia.
Not only will Michael Clarke miss Pattinson from the pace line-up, the Australian skipper would also be without his services in the batting department which has looked pretty ordinary so far.
Pattinson has often shown strong resilience at No 9 and 10. He might not have registered a half-century yet in 18 innings, but the 23-year-old’s contribution has been invaluable for Australia with crucial knocks of 30s and 40s.
Pattinson, who averages 30.09 in Tests, first showed glimpses of his batting skills when he dug deep to score 32 in 119 deliveries in the second Test of the Frank Worrell Trophy against West Indies in Port of Spain in April 2012.
Pattinson and Michael Hussey stitched a 89-run partnership for the seventh wicket to help Australia reach 311 in the first innings. The visitors then bowled out West Indies for 257. The Test, however, ended in a draw due to bad weather.
In the same year - in November - Pattinson batted along with the tail to score a quickfire 42 — his highest Test score — as Australia put up 550 in the first innings against South Africa at Adelaide Oval.
In the second innings, Pattinson remained unbeaten on 29 as Australia set a challenging target of 430. This Test too ended in a draw after South Africa ended final day on 248-8.
Indian fans will remember his knock of 30 at the Feroz Shah Kotla in March this year where Pattinson and Siddle (51) put up a frustrating 54-run partnership for the ninth wicket as Australia managed to score 262 in the first innings of the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The pair once again was the thorn in the second innings as the Pattinson-Siddle pair added 35 runs for the ninth wicket to help the visitors score 164. The 155-run target was a cakewalk as India won the Test by six wickets to complete a 4-0 whitewash.
Meanwhile, high performance chief Pat Howard admitted Australia’s batting woes may have contributed to the breakdown of Pattinson. “The fact that we batted for 50 overs meant that some young bowlers had to go out again.
When you’ve got young bowlers backing up from Test to Test and turning around, that has flow on effects beyond not scoring runs,” Howard was quoted as saying by The Age newspaper
AFP adds: Australian selectors may now recall Mitchell Starc, left out at Lord’s, while James Faulkner and Jackson Bird are also available to back up Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris.
Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard said: “While we are obviously disappointed for James, the selectors have five bowlers fit and ready to perform in England, providing them with many options.” England lead the series 2-0 and could clinch overall victory in Manchester, starting from August 1.