With the Australian coach Justin Langer announcing on Tuesday that James Pattinson will make his return to Test cricket in this weeks 1st Ashes Test and that Pat Cummins is locked in alongside him, that left three fast bowlers to battle for one spot.

Today, news broke that Mitchell Starc will be left out of the side, despite coming off an amazing World Cup that saw him take a series leading and record 27 wickets.

The remaining position in the team will now be down to one of Josh Hazlewood and veteran Peter Siddle. With just one day to go until the first ball of the 2019 Ashes series, we compare all three bowlers and see their records against England, both home and away.

The good news for Australia is that having competition for spots not only provides flexibility for the selectors but motivates players to play at the best. Playing in the Ashes is the holy grail for Australian Test cricketers.

Starc, Siddle and Hazlewood all have fairly similar records at Test level. As expected, given his age, Peter Siddle has played the most Test matches out of the three, pulling on the baggy green 64 times. However, the others aren’t far behind with Starc starting 51 times while Hazlewood has played 44 Tests.

Player Matches Wickets Average
Mitchell Starc 51 211 28.20
Josh Hazlewood 44 164 27.14
Peter Siddle 64 214 30.28

vs England

Peter Siddle has more experience in Ashes test matches than the other two fast bowlers, playing in almost double the amount than both Hazlewood and Starc.

Interestingly, all three actually have slightly better bowling averages against England than their overall. 

Player Matches Wickets Average
Mitchell Starc 12 51 27.92
Josh Hazlewood 9 37 25.83
Peter Siddle 21 73 28.63

in England

This is where things get a little more interesting. Despite the small amount of data, both Hazlewood and Siddle have a better average than Mitchell Starc when playing in Ashes in England.

Player Matches Wickets Average
Mitchell Starc 8 29 31.24
Josh Hazlewood 4 16 25.75
Peter Siddle 11 43 28.37

Don’t forget about…

The other important issue that can’t be forgot is batting. Mitchell Starc has a career Test batting average of 21.85 which almost enough to be considered an all-rounder. He also averages 23.72 in England where it can be notoriously hard to bat for visiting teams.

In contrast, Peter Siddle, while known to hold up an end, only averages 14.21 at Test level while Josh Hazlewood is generally considered a pure number 11, chalking up just 12.51 with the bat.