Australia name unchanged side for Hobart
Daniel Christian will have to put on hold his dreams of a baggy green after Australia named an unchanged side for the second Test in Hobart. Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, confirmed on Thursday that the selectors had chosen the same XI that comfortably accounted for New Zealand at the Gabba.
The Australians trained on Thursday morning and were greeted by an extremely grassy pitch, which could make batting difficult on the first day. Including Christian would have altered the balance of the team; although he is one of the Sheffield Shield's leading run scorers this summer, it was his medium-pace bowling that could have swayed selection in his favour in the absence of Shane Watson.
"There's probably a concern there that if your frontline bowlers don't do the job with the new ball it could be quite a long day," Clarke said. "But I'm confident. I thought we bowled really well at the Gabba in both innings. I'm confident I can get some overs out of Michael Hussey, myself and David Warner as part-timers. I'm just going to have to make sure I rotate the bowlers the right way and hope we bowl well and field well with the new ball.
"[Christian] has had a really good year in first-class cricket, especially with the bat, but we know what he can do with the ball as well. We had a long debate. We feel the team played really well in Brisbane. I'm very keen to stay consistent with a winning team for this second Test match against New Zealand."
Had Christian been included, the two possible scenarios would have been to drop one of the openers - Phillip Hughes has scored 9, 9, 88, 11, 10 and 7 from his past three Tests - and promote Usman Khawaja to open, with Christian to bat at No.6, or to leave out the offspinner Nathan Lyon on a pitch expected to offer plenty for the seamers. However, Clarke was keen to keep Lyon, Australia's leading wicket taker in the Brisbane victory with match figures of 7 for 88.
"The wicket has a lot more grass on it than I have ever seen at Hobart," Clarke said. "It looks better today than yesterday, no doubt. But I still think there's a lot of grass on that wicket. I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like tomorrow morning. I think day one is going to be quite tough for the batters if it's overcast. Then I'm hoping it will turn into a pretty good wicket. I still see Lyon playing a big part for us as our spinner, probably later in the game than on day one."
Australia 1 Phillip Hughes, 2 David Warner, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 James Pattinson, 11 Nathan Lyon.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo