Australia better prepared for second test: Bichel
ANDY Bichel is confident Australia is better prepared for the second test against South Africa than they were for the first in Brisbane.
Australian selector and Ipswich product Bichel was in Ipswich at the weekend to star for the Queensland Bulls Masters in their charity fundraiser against an Ipswich Invitational team.
Speaking to the QT after the game Bichel said he also anticipates an improved showing from the visitors in Adelaide, starting tomorrow.
It should make for a Test match that reaches greater heights than the, at times, stale drawn first test.
"I think they caught us a little off-guard on the first day (at the Gabba)," Bichel said.
"They had pretty good plans and we hadn't played test cricket in a while. But then we put them under pressure and halved their top order's averages."
While Australia was under the pump on day one in Brisbane it was the South Africans who were battling to save the match late on the final day.
However, Bichel expects South Africa's fast bowlers to be more effective in Adelaide, in spite of its reputation as a batsman's haven.
"That sort of wicket (at the Gabba) was tough for Morne (Morkel)," Bichel said.
"With his height and the bounce it meant there were a lot of plays and misses."
In Adelaide, where Bichel played his first (1-31 and 0-16 against the West Indies in 1997) and last (4-118 and 1-35 against India in 2003) Test matches, Bichel thinks Morkel's bounce is more likely to produce edges and worry batsmen.
"At Adelaide the likes of your (Curtly) Ambroses and (Courtney) Walshes get the sort of bounce others don't," he said.
"Steyne always bowls well it seems and Philander - you only have to look at his record."
The main query over the Australians' preparation for the second test is the concern over the fitness of fellow Ipswich product Shane Watson.
Bichel admitted the speculation surrounding Watson's fitness had the potential to be a distraction.
"We don't want it to be," he said.
"He's a very valuable player when fit."
Bichel conceded Watson's injury history would be a factor when the team is selected, indicating he is unlikely to be picked.
"With 15 injuries in nine years, being an all-rounder you're under the pump," Bichel said.
"We don't want him to get injured and be out for the series.
"But it's back to him and how he feels. You've got to be confident you're fit against the world's best."