New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington, 5th day March 23, 2010

Australia's 'Sehwag' unlikely for second Test


Australia are confident Shane Watson will return for the second Test in Hamilton, which would mean the axe for Phillip Hughes despite his final-day blitz at the Basin Reserve. Hughes raced to an unbeaten 86 from 75 deliveries, dominating Australia's successful chase of 106, but will probably have to wait for his eighth Test after the team's physio Alex Kountouris rated Watson a "better than even-money bet" to play at Seddon Park from Saturday.

It was only Watson's hip injury that allowed Hughes to come in for the first Test and he impressed the captain Ricky Ponting by giving Australia a bright start in the first innings and then guiding the chase. Hughes had not passed fifty in a Test since he struck two centuries in Durban last year and Ponting said he could take plenty away from his performance in Wellington.

"Every opportunity and every bit of exposure he gets is going to be good for him in the long run," Ponting said. "He's just such an exciting player. When he gets in that frame of mind there when the ball's in his area, it's going to go. If he keeps getting off to starts like that in Test cricket, it really sets up games. I'll encourage him to keep playing that way.

"Someone like Virender Sehwag is a fairly similar Test match opener to what Hughesy is. Being that sort of player you will have your ups and downs but when you are up you win games and you give your side a good chance to win games."

The success of the No. 6 Marcus North, who entered the match under pressure and made an unbeaten century, means Hughes and Watson cannot fit into one side this week. Just as important as Watson's batting is his role as a fourth fast bowler, which could be more relevant than usual when the next team is selected.

Both teams have only three days between Tests and the fast men will be particularly exhausted after spending four consecutive days, totalling 787 minutes, in the field. It was especially difficult for the debutant Ryan Harris, who toiled into the harsh Wellington wind for most of his 41 overs, having played no other first-class cricket since early December, when he took part in his only Sheffield Shield match of the season.

"He's definitely feeling the pinch, as is Dougie [Bollinger]," Ponting said. "Mitch [Johnson's] workload over the last couple of years has been exceptional anyway, the way he's managed to get through and keep presenting in a really good shape. We have to manage them really well in the next couple of days.

"[Watson] just gives us so much better balance in our side, the fact that you can throw the ball to him and he can get his 10 or 15 overs out per innings. Every team in the world is after someone who bats in the top six and can bowl like he does. He has shown since he has been in our side just how important he is, so hopefully we'll get him back. If we do it means the bowlers won't have to do as much next week."

It was the fast bowlers who ran through New Zealand's lower order on the fifth morning and ensured a small target of 106 for Australia. Harris began with the key wicket of Brendon McCullum and collected two more, before Johnson finished the innings by bowling Chris Martin.

The result justified Ponting's decision to enforce the follow-on for the second time this summer, a call that began to look a little questionable on the fourth day when McCullum and Daniel Vettori put together a frustrating partnership of 126. However, Ponting said at no stage did he regret declaring so early or bowling again, as the unpredictable Wellington conditions meant he had little choice.

"The declaration had a lot to do with what I knew about the weather coming," he said. "We could have batted on and got 600 or whatever we wanted to, but by doing that and losing the majority of the day yesterday, it would have been touch and go whether we would have got a result in the game. For me and the Australian cricket team it's all about giving ourselves the best chance of winning.

"We've done it really well. I'm happy the way the bowlers have stuck at it the last couple of days. We've been in the field for four consecutive days, so they're all a little bit tired and sore in the rooms and we'll give them a couple of days off and make sure they're in as good a shape as they can be for the start of the next one."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harsh on March 26, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    @ Marty NO man I am not fan of country music. I heard his one song this aint country, he is great but I will pass. I like my Coldplay & LP, I don't hate miley, but because of "overboard fan following" lot of teenagers are not studying well in high school, and they end up ruining their opp. to get proper knowledge. When they become older, they whine about everything. Anyway, why on earth I am saying all this lol, back to cricket yeah Aussy produce best cricketers (all 11) till this date. However, I believe they are expected to produce great athletes, if I make a list of number medals they win in Olympics and compare to other countries, then you will see what point do I want to make. Its lame excuse, I know but come on, decent sport awareness came to other countries in last 40 years. There are more Aussy cricketer fans in India than even Aus. It was becoming like by default they are expected to win, others have to stop them. Watch out Next 20 years it will be very stiff competition Peace

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    How can one compare a batsman like Sehwag who scored three triple centures to a batsman like Hughes who has a become a overhyped player with just a 89.It would have made some sense if you people compared the playing style of Sehwag to the likes of Gilly and Hayden.

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    haHa knowledgeman you must be one of the haters ! Im a fan of lots of music miley not one of them ! ididnt put that on my page but im not proud My favourite is David Allen Coe actually check him out ! and im a big fan of cricket ! take a look at the scoreboard ! Ive bin waiting along time to hear back because most things i say make sense your comment dosnt have anything to do with cricket ! Go AUSTRALIA ! AND GO HUGHSEY !

  • Harsh on March 25, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    @RobOfBruce haha spot on but you should also ask the author of this article, who have once won the "giving best title" award. Don't hate fans mate, they are the one who show up in big numbers when cricket is played. They are the one who sits in front of TV for hours to see one four for their star players. May be Indian media stock is not fooling themselves after all. The article was much needed, when IPL noise was reaching Aus. and it was harassing them to concentrate on Test. I support punters comment if you have read my earlier response, he has put Hughes in very hot spot. So may be GH was right, everyone needs controversy. P.S. - don't get carried away from comments, because I know for fact, some comments are very very deceptive and manipulative.

  • Rob on March 25, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Someone please tell me the best Indian Media stocks to buy! Judging by the level of comment on this website by Indian fans, they have shown themsleves to be childish, irrational, and completely reactionary - perfect fodder for online media revenue. I wonder if these people actually even read the artice properly? Ponting was merely comparing the fact that both Hughes and Sehwag have similar, unorthodox, & attacking methods that give your team a great foundation when they manage to pull it off. That's it. Nothing more to be read into it. No comparing of records. No other comparisons at all actually. Anything else is fanciful speculation. READ THE ARTICLE CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU MAKE COMMENT AND A FOOL OF YOURSELF.

  • Sujay on March 24, 2010, 23:19 GMT

    Sehwag?? It is sad that a man of Ponting's intelligence is selling Hughesy short... I mean Hughesy with his staggering test record of 7 matches...13 a whopping strike rate of 61 v/s Sehwag with a paltry 76 test...130 an abysmal strike rate of 81...also forget about sehwag's two 300+ scores...300s are sooooo overrated man!

  • Billy on March 24, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Please check your facts Kelvin TR before commenting on the forum. The Australians never playing on the subcontinent is merely illusory. Australia only play once every 4 years in England, South Africa and West Indies. In the previous decade, Australia toured India the same number of times as they toured England and South Africa and toured more times than the West Indies. They won once, and lost twice. Australia walloped Sri Lanka in their own backyard 3-0. They also beat Pakistan in the most oppressive of conditions in the UAE. If you would like to see Australia playing more on the subcontinent, then look no further than the cricket boards in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. They are the ones who must offer the schedule to the away team.

  • Harsh on March 24, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    I was going to comment back on Marty Astone, but then I found out, he likes Miley Cyrus. So, I am not commenting, I am never fan of harassing kids. Hahaha Miley Cyrus Epic ROFL What's your next next secret ? Jonas brother lol

  • hayden on March 24, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    @KelvinLTR what are you talking about!??? the aussies are forever going to india!infact i cant remember the last year that we didnt have to go there! it would have to be before the 06 champions trophy for sure! and you do relise that they are playing in NZ right now!

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    Ponting only says stuff like that to stir you Aussie bashers up ! it sure done the trick didnt it Sehwag hasnt caused the Aussies that much greif over the years. Us Aussies like winning ! We are arrogant about it ! Wasnt the great I.V.A Richards arrogant but you all loved him didnt you ! Sehwag is the same i think hes great but also arrogant ? I dont get the Aussie bashing thing is it because we have been the greatest team in the world for nigh on 100 years of cricket ? England maybe 20, S.A for e few, the Windies for the 80's and very early 90's and now india for 6 months. Get a grip you clowns and sit back and watch the Greatest Show On Earth ! The Australian Cricket Team

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