The origin of the name Siddle is unknown, shrouded in the mists of time that even Third Man’s Mark III Time Machine cannot penetrate under the terms of its insurance cover.
However in Queensland on the 25th November it seems to have meant ‘an extraterrestrial intervention of a considerable though time limited extent’ like something from the War of the Worlds or Independence Day.
On the first day of the 2010/11 Ashes series, England, battled to recovered from the shock of losing their skipper to Hilfenhaus’ third ball of the day.
But just as England appeared to have shored up the foundations there was more subsidence with Trott falling to Watson. 41 for 2. Further reconstruction took place with Cook and Pietersen taking the score towards the one-twenties via lunch at 86 for 2.
At which point Peter Siddle, looking not unlike a ‘50’s comic strip Martian, removed his green lens, adjusted his zinc oxide, smoothed his improbable moustache and began his second spell.
Siddle had opened from the Vulture Street end but his first six over spell, lasting an hour and leaking just 12 of the 35 runs scored, was tidy, short of a length and innocuous confirming expectations of disappointment and trailing questions about his recovery from injury.
But now brimful with extra-terrestrial intelligence he recalibrated the sights of his AKA-fazer and bowled a fuller length. Immediately (that third ball again) he tempted Pietersen to drive hard at a moving ball, edging to Ponting at second slip. 117 for 3.
In his next over another full and sideways moving ball had the hapless Collingwood caught by North at slip three. 125 – 4, Siddle 2 for 16 as the traditional Gabba script began to write itself.
But his captain sent Siddell back behind the Martian eye-shades after four overs. A spell containing two wickets and only 16 runs might seem stingy to some, but on his home planet it might be, well, Martian. Perhaps the X-Files could explain much about Ponting’s captaincy.
Siddle was summoned back from outerspace at 191 for 4; the shades now more obviously hiding alien eyes, the zinc a necessary protection against Earth’s atmosphere and a theatrical moustache thought by his ‘handlers’ to make him look more terrestrial.
The story that this was Siddle’s earthbirthday was the final ruse. A quick check of the Wisden Guide to Cricketers of the Solar System confirmed that hatched on the sun’s further neighbour, Siddle was born a youthful thirteen and a three-quarter Martian years ago.
This time it is the third ball of his second over which angled across the left handed Cook takes the edge and is caught by Watson once more in the slips. A pattern was in the process of emerging.
Next ball a full straight and 3mph faster delivery does for Prior. And the fifth, again clocked at 87.7 mph, full and in-swinging does for the tall Broad whose nerve endings in his feet are a very long way away from the source of their stimulus. An Ashes hat-trick.
Also accounting for Swann, Siddle leaves the Gabba for the short flight home with figures of 18.104.22.168.
Although the England Ashes campaign seems in tatters, this space invader will never return to our planet to shatter English hopes. The earthling Siddle does not take his first wicket of the series until the 17th December and in a total of six innings takes only eight further wickets.