Test dream come true
FIERY paceman Doug Bollinger will realise a boyhood dream when he runs out for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, starting at the MCG on Saturday.
Bollinger was the pick of the bowlers in the third Test against the West Indies in Perth, finishing with match figures of 8-141 as Australia scraped to a 35-run win.
The 28-year-old’s performance even won praise from Windies captain Chris Gayle, who labelled the nippy left-hand speedster the most potent of the Australian attack to feature in Perth.
Peter Siddle, who missed the WACA Test with a hamstring injury, needs only to make it through Victoria’s one-day clash with NSW on Wednesday to earn a Test start in place of Bushrangers teammate Clint McKay.
But Tasmanian quick Ben Hilfenhaus has been ruled out for a third straight Test due to ongoing issues with knee tendonitis, meaning the impressive Bollinger will be retained in the Test side, and in all likelihood take the new ball again.
Bollinger, who only earned a recall to the Test XI after Hilfenhaus first succumbed to the knee injury, has made the most of his recent opportunities, claiming 13 wickets at 19.84 in his two Tests against the West Indies.
And with Gayle’s glowing endorsement still ringing in his ears, Bollinger said he would have deserved to retain his place in the Australian side for the first Test against Pakistan even if both Hilfenhaus and Siddle were fit.
“Yeah, I think I do (deserve my spot),” Bollinger said in Perth on Monday.
“Hopefully what I do on the field - everything else will look after itself.”
Bollinger said he couldn’t wait to step out onto the MCG for Australia.
“(It’s) the ultimate, 90,000 people, a Boxing Day Test - everyone wants to play that,” he said.
“So if I get that opportunity it would be another tick off the board of things I want to do and can do in my life.”
In just three Tests, Bollinger has already won over skipper Ricky Ponting.
“Since he’s come back into the group, which was in India for those one-day games, he hasn’t put a foot wrong,” Ponting said.
“At the moment he’s loving the contest, he’s loving the chance to open the bowling.
“He’s got a bit of movement with the new ball and the old ball, which is a really good sign for us, particularly when you think of the conditions that we’ve got coming up in the next couple of games, Melbourne and Sydney.”
Bollinger made his Test debut against South Africa in January and said being overlooked for Australia’s unsuccessful Ashes campaign made him all the more hungrier at Test level.
“Obviously I was disappointed I didn’t make the Ashes but I’m not going to sit around and whinge and carry on,” he said.
“They can only fit so many in the squad and unfortunately I wasn’t there but that’s the way it goes and every opportunity you get you’ve got to grab it and I feel like I’m going to try to do that now.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s three-day tour match against Tasmania at Bellerive Oval has finished with the captains calling it quits at tea on the final day. Pakistan were 4-141 in their second innings, a lead of 385, when play ended.
Earlier on Monday, Tasmania were dismissed for 193 in reply to the tourist’s first innings 437.
Misbah Ul Haq (one) was trapped lbw by Tim Macdonald, Umar Akmal (55) was run out and Fawad Alam (two) was bowled by Jason Krejza (1-27 off five overs).
There was some confusion in the scorers’ box after opener Imran Farhat retired after reaching 40.
After advice from umpires Paul Reiffel and Steven John the Bellerive Oval scoreboard showed his departure as a wicket with the opener “retired out”.