Former fast bowlers Fleming and Lawson hail Hilfenhaus, who was an unsung hero in Melbourne
Ben Hilfenhaus was the unsung hero for Australia as they rattled India by 122 runs to take a one-nil lead in the four-Test series here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
PACE ACE: Ben Hilfenhaus. PIC/AFP
On Thursday, Hilfenhaus bowled 13 overs on the trot -- four before lunch, nine after. He had only two wickets to show for, but never let the experienced Indian batsmen off the hook with a terrific length, swinging the ball both ways. Though he got Virender Sehwag caught at gully, he should have had the Indian opener caught at third slip a few balls earlier. His penetration was stupendous.
Hilfenhaus, who was dumped from the Test squad after the Ashes last year (he finished with seven wickets averaging 59.28) and also suffered a knee injury, credited his off-season of technical and physical remedial work for his first the five-wicket haul of his career on Day 3. His 5-75 on Wednesday swung the momentum Australia's way, sparking a collapse by India from 214-2 to 282 all out.
Former Australia swing bowler Damien Fleming felt it was important for Hilfenhaus to focus on being a swing bowler. "He deserved his five-wicket haul. I like the fact that he's got fitter and stronger and is getting a lot more bounce. With that bounce, he get's swing, and that's a very good ability. Also, he's releasing the ball higher than he did last year. He has worked very hard on his fitness," Fleming told MiD DAY on Wednesday.
"I must credit bowling coach Craig McDermott too. He was a terrific swing bowler and he has injected some basic things into this bowling set-up. It's exciting signs," the Victorian added.
Geoff Lawson credited Hilfenhaus for batting a serious knee injury. "I was told that his injury was pretty severe. It's quite an achievement to come out of that sort of injury, battle your way back, and bowl so well. He was a very iffy selection � some criticised his selection. The selectors must be applauded for picking him. He's always been a workhorse who will run and bowl long spells. He's a very important part of Australia's future plans. Good to see him fitter and strong," he said.