Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart December 8, 2011

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kenso on December 9, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Surely now the Hughes debate will end... He hasnt even looked like scoring runs and we are playing probably the weakest attack in world cricket. He needs to go back to state cricket and work on his technique because international bowlers will always find that line outside off. Warner is flashy but solid and deserves a more solid run. We just cant afford to have him putting added pressure on Khwaja, Warner and Marsh (when he returns)

  • Andrew on December 9, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    @ Claydo78 - harsh on Christian, he appears to be a player on the improve, I suspected they weren't going to play him mainly because in all liklihood, the bowlers won't be bowling too long & hence a Hussey/Pup/Warner fill in is all that is required. Had it been an Adelaide Road type of pitch, I think he certainly would of been selected.

  • Stephen on December 8, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks Khawarja should be in danger of being dropped cannot know very much about cricket - he's the best young batsman in the country by a country mile - just because he hasn't scored a century yet, he should be dropped? Come on….His technique is 100 times better than Hughes', his body isn't going to break down after every test, he's clearly a hard worker and a good bloke to have around, he's more interested in improving his game than getting tattoos (which is refreshing), and he doesn't call "Wait On" like a wannabe Michael Clarke. Marsh is the next best young batsman (but he's not that young, and he keeps breaking down).

  • Liam on December 8, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    @Samdanh, couldn't agree with you more! A batsman with some grit would be very handy although I have a good feeling about Khawaja and Marsh.

  • wayne on December 8, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    How spoilt the Australian cricket fan has become! Who'd want to play for Australia when the public turn on you because you don't get a start every innings? Not so long ago he scored quite a nice 88 against a good SA attack. A couple of (admittedly silly) strokes against The Phantom (everyone underestimates this guy) and everyone's baying for his blood again. I'm sure he's working pretty damn hard to make sure it doesn't happen again. And if he can't iron out those kinks, well, he can (and should) be dropped - but seriously, it's far too early to write him off at the age of 23 after a smattering of tests over a number of years. I suspect that we've become so used to that golden age where there were so many good domestic batsman that anyone could slot into the team and they'd perform from the go. Our batting ranks are a lot thinner these days. Perhaps it's time for cricket fans in this country to develop the patience they expect to see from Hughes?

  • Andrew on December 8, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    @dsig3 - I sort of hope Hughes can EXACTLY match Sehwags efforts from last night!!!!!!!! @ landl47 - dunno what's happenning but I think this about the 2nd or 3rd post in a row that I agree with you on! Are you OK? LOL! I think dropping a batsmen doesn't make sense when their returns have been pretty average over the last year, (assuming that they are the batsmen you are banking on moving forward). So if they are to be playing against India, keep them. If Marsh & Watto are shoe-ins upon their being passed fit, then maybe drop the "expendables". Trouble is who are the expendables?

  • stuart on December 8, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Phil Hughes you are a legend.I can't wait to watch you bat to see the classical technique,the skill and the delicate touch you bring to batting.Then I wake up and remember just how bad you can be.Hope Aus keep picking you as I love reading the comments of the fans

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2011, 15:06 GMT


  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Big mistake. Not only did Christian well and truly deserve it as the most in form player in Australia but his medium pace ideally suits Hobart. Very bad move. Hughes is well and truly gone from his international career and it will be up to him whether he is good enough to repair it. It is well and truly time to cut Hughes from this team.

  • Ash on December 8, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    couldn't agree more with Okakaboka, mari2619, and cccrider. well said. Hughes needs to be given the boot. Also I don't think the captain should be a selector because invariably he has friends within the squad and he has biases towards certain players. that bias should not get in the way of team selection. clarke's protecting of mates is getting a bit ridiculous...

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