Watson shaken after being hit on helmet
Shane Watson was struck on the helmet by a James Pattinson bouncer during an eventful Australian training session on Tuesday at the MCG, where David Warner did not train and Ryan Harris bowled well in his push to regain his place in the side. Mitchell Starc also hobbled out of the nets after being struck on the knee while batting, but the most dramatic incident was the blow received by Watson.
Both he and Pattinson were clearly shaken by the incident and left the nets soon afterwards. Watson sat on an esky receiving attention from the team doctor Peter Brukner before heading inside, and was monitored by Brukner through the day for signs of concussion. He is expected to be fine to play, but will be assessed again on Wednesday morning.
That the Australians were shaken by Watson's blow was not surprising given the events of the past month and the shock that remains following the death of Phillip Hughes. Brad Haddin said after Australia's training session that Watson seemed not to have been injured.
"I had a chat to him. He's a bit shaken. He's okay. He's just a bit shaken," Brad Haddin said. "He just got hit in the head. He's shaken as anyone would be. I can't really go into any more because there's no more details to give you."
Watson was in the field for New South Wales when Hughes was struck by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG less than a month ago and was one of the first on the scene to attend to Hughes. The weeks that followed have been extremely emotional for the Australians, after Hughes died in hospital as a result of the blow.
Before Watson was struck on Tuesday, Starc had also left the nets in pain having been hit on the knee while batting. Starc is expected to be dropped from the side for the Boxing Day Test, with Harris likely to return after missing the Brisbane Test due to a minor quadriceps strain. Harris bowled on Tuesday but will need to prove his fitness by bowling again on Wednesday.
Warner was present at the session but did not train as he continues to nurse his left thumb, which was struck during Australia's chase in the second innings at the Gabba. Warner is expected to be available for the Boxing Day Test.
"I will definitely be playing - I will be doing everything I can," Warner said when he arrived in Melbourne on Monday. "Obviously it's a bit painful, it's the one I broke before, but I'm not missing a Boxing Day test, that's for sure."
Warner's opening partner Chris Rogers said he was initially concerned when Warner was hit but believed he would take his place alongside Rogers at the top of the order on Boxing Day.
"I thought initially, when it first happened, you see those kinds of instances and you think 'that's definitely a broken thumb'," Rogers said. "But he seems to be a pretty tough character so I think he's going to play and I haven't really thought otherwise of late so I expect him to be out there."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale