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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Sports

Clarke hails Siddle

Skipper Michael Clarke paid tribute to his lionhearted fast bowler Peter Siddle and his player-of-the-match performance in Australia's gripping win over Sri Lanka in the first Hobart Test on Tuesday.

Siddle was outstanding again with four for 50 in Sri Lanka's second innings to finish with nine wickets for the match to spearhead Australia's 137-run win over the Sri Lankans that finished late on the final day.

"If everyone's got the heart that (Siddle) has, we'll get back to being number one in the world, no doubt," praised Clarke.

Although left-armer Mitchell Starc captured the last four Sri Lanka wickets to fall to finish with with five for 63, it was Siddle who claimed the huge wickets of skipper Mahela Jayawardene (19) and Kumar Sangakkara (63) to gain the early momentum.

"Siddle continues to lead our attack. I think he has done so for a while now and he loves the opportunity to be our number one strike bowler," Clarke said.

"He really looks forward to the pressure situation. He doesn't care if he opens the bowling, or bowls first change. It's about helping the team have success."

Siddle has been the rock of the Australian bowlers this season with injuries sidelining James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus and will again be the key paceman in the second Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in Melbourne.

Siddle, who bowled himself to a standstill in the drawn second Adelaide Test against South Africa earlier this month, was rested from the final Perth Test where the Proteas went on to win the series in Perth.

"The (Hobart) wicket probably helped us a little bit but we still had to go about our processes, bowling in partnerships and bowling our maidens to build up pressure," Siddle said.

“As a group, I think we've been outstanding since lunch on the second day and we got our rewards."

Earlier, ICC match referee Chris Broad said he found no evidence of Australian ball-tampering during the first Hobart Test and would not be taking the matter any further.

Sri Lanka's team management had expressed concern at television match footage which it believed showed paceman Peter Siddle tampering with the ball during the Sri Lankan first innings.

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