A little less pace in Australian pacemen

Australia's arsenal of fast bowlers has not fired as expected in Brisbane, and the numbers indicate it is nowhere near as quick as anticipated either.

Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus were regularly recorded on the broadcaster's speed gun in the low to mid-140km/h range last summer when they formed the backbone of a 4-0 humiliation of the touring India team.

Against South Africa on Friday and again on Sunday, they were criticised, including by their former bowling mentor Craig McDermott, for bowling too short and not building pressure.

But another factor is a noticeable drop in pace. The Gabba wicket is clearly not as quick as it was cracked up to be but, barring a general malfunction with the speed-recording device used by Channel Nine, Australia's pacemen have all lost a yard or two of pace.

Up until lunch on Sunday, only one ball, delivered by Pattinson, had exceeded 140km/h, according to Channel Nine figures provided to The Tonk. His fastest delivery was 144.3km/h, with Siddle only getting up to a top of 139.8km/h and Hilfenhaus just behind him at 139km/h.

While that was the high mark for the three quicks, they were elsewhere repeatedly recorded in the low to mid-130km/h range. But in their defence, the Proteas' pacemen – Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander –  did not break any speed records either, although they were significantly more successful against the opposition top order.

Only the best will do for Pattinson

Pattinson's haul of 3-93 in the South Africa innings was never going to be headline-making material but, while it was not his finest display, once again he proved capable of dismissing the world's best batsmen.

The Victorian's victims were Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers, and a close look at his CV shows that is true to form.

Of his 29 Test wickets, including those in this, his sixth Test, all but three have been top-six batsmen or wicketkeepers.

The trend was set immediately at the Gabba last year when, on debut, he ripped through New Zealand's top five batsmen in the second innings to lead Australia to victory.

It continued in his standout series against India, and while he was erratic in the Proteas' first innings, he could hardly have taken three more highly valued scalps.

Gusty conditions ground spidercam

Spidercam was notable for its absence in the first session at the Gabba on Sunday. The German device, appearing in Brisbane for the first time in a Test match, has been hovering above play, offering television viewers an aerial view never before seen in long-form international cricket. But It was not seen until after lunch on day three, with winds up to 30 knots making it unsuitable for use, especially over the centre square.

Another hair-raising classic from O'Keeffe

Kerry O'Keeffe is never short of a gag, and thankfully his humour is within the boundaries of decency.

The ABC radio commentator's latest came as he recommended the name of the silverware Australia and South Africa should be playing for this summer.

"They should play for the Kallis/Ponting trophy – it would be the battle of the hair rugs," said O'Keeffe, bursting into a fit of his trademark laughter.

This story A little less pace in Australian pacemen first appeared on WA Today.