New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton March 25, 2010

Watson looking good for second Test

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Shane Watson's chances of playing the second Test in Hamilton looked promising after he had a strong workout during a batting session in the Seddon Park nets on Thursday. Watson appeared unencumbered by the hip strain that kept him out of the win in Wellington, driving and pulling with full power against Clint McKay and a group of local bowlers.

Should Watson prove his fitness it will mean the axe for Phillip Hughes, who blazed to an unbeaten 86 as Australia chased down 106 to win the first Test at the Basin Reserve. Michael Hussey said Hughes would not be fazed by making way for Watson and the Australians were confident that Hughes would become a full-time member of the Test side in the future.

"He's a great young guy," Hussey said. "I think he just loves being around the group at the moment. He is so young, there's so much time for him. All you can say is keep churning out the runs for New South Wales and when he gets his chance to play for Australia, keep showing everyone that he is good enough. I'm sure his opportunity is going to come up, where he'll make that position his own at some stage."

Hughes took a shine to the New Zealand pace attack in the second innings in Wellington, where the home bowlers took only five wickets for the match. James Franklin has been added to the New Zealand squad to replace the injured Daryl Tuffey and with some rain around in Hamilton two days out from the Test, the hosts faced a tough call on whether to use Franklin or the second spinner Jeetan Patel.

New Zealand lacked a spearhead in Wellington, where Chris Martin struggled for impact and his new-ball partner Tim Southee failed to take a wicket. The loss of Shane Bond and Iain O'Brien to Test retirement in the past few months has been a blow for New Zealand but Simon Katich, who saw plenty of the seamers in his innings of 79 and 18 not out, said there were still challenges for Australia's top order.

"There's no doubt those two are big losses, Bond with his pace but also O'Brien, he has bowled well against us in the past and he was able to bowl at a lively pace and moved the ball," Katich said. "Both those guys are big losses to their attack. But their guys posed problems for us the other day. We had the best of the conditions batting first, there was a bit of hard work to be done early."

New Zealand must also decide on what to do with their batting line-up, with Peter Ingram under pressure having failed in both innings at the Basin Reserve. The veteran Mathew Sinclair and the teenager Kane Williamson are in the mix to come in to the side, although the conditions closer to Saturday will help determine the balance of the team.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bagman on March 29, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    More importantly mate, you've gotta earn a baggy green.

  • on March 26, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Id stay with the same team. Hughes will get his chance sooner or later. He is still quite young.

  • on March 26, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    to be honest you have to go with a younger line up for the future. sure keep hussey in the team as he's experienced and is the 'glue' in the middle order. but perhaps aussie should consider giving smith a go against nz, nz have the worst test batting line up theyve had for years and thats coming from a kiwi in myself. keep hughes, he's talented and just needs to find his feet in test cricket. north is getting old and watching him bat... well to be honest, is unbeleivably boring. he also doesnt have as bigger future in the game as hughes clearly does.

  • Rev0408 on March 26, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    JonnyBoy777 - any hammering coming your way will because that is a poorly balanced side, not because you're a Kiwi. Why would you pick so many batsmen in a team that scores runs, but occasionally struggles to find 20 wickets? That tail is ridiculous, though they'll probably never lose a game seeing how you have guys who can/have scored centuries all the way down to no. 10. WJStryder is on the money - Ponting should drop down the order as he gets older, although the stubborn bugger probably won't.

  • onlinegamer55 on March 26, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    Paullie: You assert that Hughes was "found out" by the poms, but all that is just nonsense if you ask me. Ponting was apparently "found out" by Roach to have a "weakness" against the short ball. Suppose Ponting was axed within three failures (or even 6 failures) because of this apparent "weakness"? That's what happened to Hughes. Every batsmen gets "found out" now and then, but you've got to give the batsmen time to fight back. That's exactly what Ponting did; people began to suggest that he should retire, but he hit back with a double ton. Hughes was incorrectly given out on 34 against England, and dropped subsequently; suppose he was given not out? He could well have scored a ton and put all this "technique nonsense" to bed. You say that South Africa couldn't "find him out", but Dale Steyn is the best bowler in the world, and has found out Gautam Gambhir (a world-class opener), who averages 27 against him, within one test. Shouldn't he have done that to Hughes as well? He couldn't!

  • on March 26, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    Shane Watson is a poser. He should not be in the Australian top 4 and should not be rushed back into the side. All he manages to do is loft straight drives and swing through the line of a short ball. His only value is reverse swing, and he is better of teaching someone else to do it. Vote 1 - No more Watson.

  • MinusZero on March 26, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    North should never have been selected for the first test. Now he has scored a century he has a free ride to fail for the next ten tests. I wish the selectors would have some guts to make decisions and stop being influenced by Pontings mates club. Australia will suffer the same fate as the West Indies if they dont bring in the young players and give them time to prove themselves. Hughes was dropped while averaging 47 after 6 tests. North was averaging 36 after 13 and was retained. Work that one out. I am still not convinced by Watson, one century in 29 innings is not world standard. Ponting has one in 1 and Hussey one in 7. One in 29?? I am so sick of the boys club. Look at India, they give their players a start young, wasn't Tendulkar 16 in his first test? Despite the retirements of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman looming, they have been bringing through young players to ensure their future standing at the top of the game.

  • jaztech on March 25, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    The problem with Hughes is that while he may very well be an opener for the future, right now he's super streaky and plays poorly against the short ball. It's almost embarrassing to watch. He caught so many outside edges, inside edges, and catchable heights just wide of fielders in that 80 odd against the Kiwis that he was lucky to make 20 runs. What he needs is another 2 or 3 years playing state cricket and refining his technique a bit. Bring him back when Katich retires in a few years. One of the main reasons for Australia success over the last 7-8 years has been stability and consistency at the top of the order. Hughes, at the moment, can not provide that.

  • anshu.sunny on March 25, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    Drop North immediately n bring watto in his place...

    Hussey is ur glue..u drop him...u r gone... Hughes is ur future opener ..persist wth him..North is no hussey...n an allrounder in his place is far more useful than keeping juggling ur openers

  • on March 25, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    i think hughes should be retained in australia squad and shane watson also

  • Bagman on March 29, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    More importantly mate, you've gotta earn a baggy green.

  • on March 26, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Id stay with the same team. Hughes will get his chance sooner or later. He is still quite young.

  • on March 26, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    to be honest you have to go with a younger line up for the future. sure keep hussey in the team as he's experienced and is the 'glue' in the middle order. but perhaps aussie should consider giving smith a go against nz, nz have the worst test batting line up theyve had for years and thats coming from a kiwi in myself. keep hughes, he's talented and just needs to find his feet in test cricket. north is getting old and watching him bat... well to be honest, is unbeleivably boring. he also doesnt have as bigger future in the game as hughes clearly does.

  • Rev0408 on March 26, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    JonnyBoy777 - any hammering coming your way will because that is a poorly balanced side, not because you're a Kiwi. Why would you pick so many batsmen in a team that scores runs, but occasionally struggles to find 20 wickets? That tail is ridiculous, though they'll probably never lose a game seeing how you have guys who can/have scored centuries all the way down to no. 10. WJStryder is on the money - Ponting should drop down the order as he gets older, although the stubborn bugger probably won't.

  • onlinegamer55 on March 26, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    Paullie: You assert that Hughes was "found out" by the poms, but all that is just nonsense if you ask me. Ponting was apparently "found out" by Roach to have a "weakness" against the short ball. Suppose Ponting was axed within three failures (or even 6 failures) because of this apparent "weakness"? That's what happened to Hughes. Every batsmen gets "found out" now and then, but you've got to give the batsmen time to fight back. That's exactly what Ponting did; people began to suggest that he should retire, but he hit back with a double ton. Hughes was incorrectly given out on 34 against England, and dropped subsequently; suppose he was given not out? He could well have scored a ton and put all this "technique nonsense" to bed. You say that South Africa couldn't "find him out", but Dale Steyn is the best bowler in the world, and has found out Gautam Gambhir (a world-class opener), who averages 27 against him, within one test. Shouldn't he have done that to Hughes as well? He couldn't!

  • on March 26, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    Shane Watson is a poser. He should not be in the Australian top 4 and should not be rushed back into the side. All he manages to do is loft straight drives and swing through the line of a short ball. His only value is reverse swing, and he is better of teaching someone else to do it. Vote 1 - No more Watson.

  • MinusZero on March 26, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    North should never have been selected for the first test. Now he has scored a century he has a free ride to fail for the next ten tests. I wish the selectors would have some guts to make decisions and stop being influenced by Pontings mates club. Australia will suffer the same fate as the West Indies if they dont bring in the young players and give them time to prove themselves. Hughes was dropped while averaging 47 after 6 tests. North was averaging 36 after 13 and was retained. Work that one out. I am still not convinced by Watson, one century in 29 innings is not world standard. Ponting has one in 1 and Hussey one in 7. One in 29?? I am so sick of the boys club. Look at India, they give their players a start young, wasn't Tendulkar 16 in his first test? Despite the retirements of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman looming, they have been bringing through young players to ensure their future standing at the top of the game.

  • jaztech on March 25, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    The problem with Hughes is that while he may very well be an opener for the future, right now he's super streaky and plays poorly against the short ball. It's almost embarrassing to watch. He caught so many outside edges, inside edges, and catchable heights just wide of fielders in that 80 odd against the Kiwis that he was lucky to make 20 runs. What he needs is another 2 or 3 years playing state cricket and refining his technique a bit. Bring him back when Katich retires in a few years. One of the main reasons for Australia success over the last 7-8 years has been stability and consistency at the top of the order. Hughes, at the moment, can not provide that.

  • anshu.sunny on March 25, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    Drop North immediately n bring watto in his place...

    Hussey is ur glue..u drop him...u r gone... Hughes is ur future opener ..persist wth him..North is no hussey...n an allrounder in his place is far more useful than keeping juggling ur openers

  • on March 25, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    i think hughes should be retained in australia squad and shane watson also

  • __PK on March 25, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Hughes is an unothodox, ill-disciplined shot-maker who only succeeds at First Class level because no bowling side gets more than two innings bowling at him. Put him in a three test series and any opposition worth their salt will have worked him out by the second test will get him cheaply thereafter. England did it and South Africa admitted they should have done done it. His slogged 80 on a flat track, against a dispirited attack, in a small run chase doesn't rate against North's grafted 100 on a deck which still had some life, from a precarious position, against an attack with its tail up.

  • calypsocricket on March 25, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    Hussey needs to make place for Smith. Hughes will get his chance sooner or later. Australia needs another bowler in the side. When one of the quickies is fit again, Hauritz will have to go. To bowl out England twice, you will need 4 quicks and 1 top notch spinner. Smith needs the experience now. He can also bat after or before Haddin, depends on the situation.

  • D.V.C. on March 25, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    I think it is worth pointing out Katich doesn't open for NSW. And the cited reason for him not bowling more in matches is that he comes up sore for batting. If he were batting 4, 5 or 6 that wouldn't be a problem, he'd have longer to recover. If Katich was batting in the middle order, Hughes could open - then all you have to do is figure out which under-performing specialist batsman to drop.

  • sonjjay on March 25, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    Mike Hussey should not be dropped.. he's like Rahul Dravid is to India in test matches !! these are the guys who u turn to in times of crisis and Hussey's knock against Pakistan to turn the tables in favour of aus should not be forgotten...

  • WJStryder on March 25, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    Id honestly drop Hussey - not because i dont think he is any good, just that he will most likely go when Ponting and Katich go as well. Do Aus want to be in another position where they lose 3 top line players at once. The reason id drop him and not North for Hughes (who i believe is the future), is that in 3 yrs when Ponting goes with Katich he will be where they are now - with a lot of cricket experience thre to help guide the team. Id line up Au like this. Hughes, Katich, Ponting, Clarke, North, Watson, Haddin, Johnson, Hauritz (until smith is ready - which i dont think will be very long), Bollinger and Hilfenhaus. I'd like to drop Ponting to 4 where i think he will score a lot more runs - i believe that part of the reason Kallis and Tendulkar are cuurently doing so well is partly because of their batting position relative to their age and reflexes against the new ball. The only way to do that though would be to play Watson, Katich or Hughes at 3.

  • risheechenna on March 25, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    watson is the best fit into opening slot and gives the option of extra medium pacers...come on watto

  • tinkertinker on March 25, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    So north's 100 against a placid attack is worth nothing but you want hughes in the team based on his 80 odd against the same attack...utter nonsense.

  • MarrickvilleDave on March 25, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Why not Hughes at 6? Think of it, Hughes at 6 then Haddin at 7: 20 overs later the opposition are wondering what happened.

    OK I was wrong about Watto he is the goods as opener not a lower mid position, welcome back,well done too North this time but after how many chances is this??

    Hughes is the future and needs to be in the side properly right now.

  • on March 25, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    Watson to open and Hughes at Six.

    Franklin for Southee and Williamson for Tuffey.

  • on March 25, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Good that Watto is back. He is a real natural all rounder. I reckon never leave this bloke out of any Australian team until he retires. Surely we can fit Hughes in as 12th man but he would prob pfefer to keep his form in having a good hit playing for NSW

  • on March 25, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    Yeh I agree Benster2. If North is given this many chances, another century was bound to come. You have to apply some forsight and look at first class averages. North's FC average is only 43.50, whilst Hughes' is an epic 59.72. Typical Aus batsman (although there are exceptions) average a few points below their FC average in test cricket. Therefore it is likely over time North will probably average around 40 in tests. Thats not good enough, a quick hitter like Hughes would be awesome for number 6. Also, imagine if Hughes was made a permanent no. 6. The Aus batting line up then would be probably better than India's.

  • ozziefan08 on March 25, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Drop hussey, put Katich to four where he bats for NSW and play Hughes, you say North made a hundred on a placid surface against a sub par attack. Hussey made 4 or so he has had enough chances now time to bring in Hughes and leave him there.

  • prabhatjha on March 25, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    good news that watson is fit now . I think Rajasthan royals need him more in ipl than the Aussies at the moment as hughes has done so well n deserves another chance.

  • testcric4ever on March 25, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Hughes also made a good score against a terrible Kiwi attack, not as good as Norths. Katich is 34, only a few years to go. Let Hughes spend more time in domestic cricket working on that terrible technique that got eaten alive by Flintoff. As for Smith, dump Hauritz. You know you're not that great a spin bowler when Clarke is thrown the ball before you on some occasions. Or when you can't take a single pakistani wicket, so Katich has to come on and take 3 in 2 overs.

  • JonnyBoy777 on March 25, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Im A Kiwi so may get hammered for dis but i reckon auzzie team should be:Katich,Watson,Ponting,Clarke,M Hussey,M North,Hughes,Haddin,Smith,Johnson,Bollinger, Bowling- Bollinger-Johnson-Watson-Smith-(Clarke-Katich)

  • popcorn on March 25, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    Mike Hussey has given good advice to Hughesy. He has been in an identical situation. Continue to churn out runs, be in the Selectors' Vision all the time, and grab whatever opportunity comes your way. Like Hussey did.He was 30 when he got a Test cap. Now Hussey is a mainstay in the Test and ODI Sides - an automatic selection.I have one more piece of advice to Phil Hughes. Spend some time with Greg Chappell at the Centre for Excellence in Brisbane,(like Shane Watson did - Watto acknowledges the contribution by Greg), and overcome the one chink in his armour - his failing against the short ball.Though Dale Steyn and the other South African quicks could not bowl him out,the Poms exposed this weakness in the ashes 2009. Hughes has time on his side - and he can be ready for the Ashes 2010 -11,in case he fgats a call-up.

  • AvroneelBiswas on March 25, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Good News, Watto is coming back. Hughes looked impressive but i think he needs to get dropped. I really wanted to see some of Steven Smith but North delivered at the very right time and now he will go on. Hughes was very aggressive which was very good and i hope he can get place in our one day team. His techniques though were bit rusty and he really should work on them. I am happy Watto is back and we were definately missing an allrounder in the first test.

  • AvroneelBiswas on March 25, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Good News, Watto is coming back. Hughes looked impressive but i think he needs to get dropped. I really wanted to see some of Steven Smith but North delivered at the very right time and now he will go on. Hughes was very aggressive which was very good and i hope he can get place in our one day team. His techniques though were bit rusty and he really should work on them. I am happy Watto is back and we were definately missing an allrounder in the first test.

  • aakash123abc on March 25, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    i want watto to play and win

  • Benster2 on March 25, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Dump North, put in Hughes. That century North got against a terrible Kiwi attack on a placid surface just means he'll be hanging around costing the Aussie team for another 6-7 test matches before he is inevitably dumped.

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  • Benster2 on March 25, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Dump North, put in Hughes. That century North got against a terrible Kiwi attack on a placid surface just means he'll be hanging around costing the Aussie team for another 6-7 test matches before he is inevitably dumped.

  • aakash123abc on March 25, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    i want watto to play and win

  • AvroneelBiswas on March 25, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Good News, Watto is coming back. Hughes looked impressive but i think he needs to get dropped. I really wanted to see some of Steven Smith but North delivered at the very right time and now he will go on. Hughes was very aggressive which was very good and i hope he can get place in our one day team. His techniques though were bit rusty and he really should work on them. I am happy Watto is back and we were definately missing an allrounder in the first test.

  • AvroneelBiswas on March 25, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Good News, Watto is coming back. Hughes looked impressive but i think he needs to get dropped. I really wanted to see some of Steven Smith but North delivered at the very right time and now he will go on. Hughes was very aggressive which was very good and i hope he can get place in our one day team. His techniques though were bit rusty and he really should work on them. I am happy Watto is back and we were definately missing an allrounder in the first test.

  • popcorn on March 25, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    Mike Hussey has given good advice to Hughesy. He has been in an identical situation. Continue to churn out runs, be in the Selectors' Vision all the time, and grab whatever opportunity comes your way. Like Hussey did.He was 30 when he got a Test cap. Now Hussey is a mainstay in the Test and ODI Sides - an automatic selection.I have one more piece of advice to Phil Hughes. Spend some time with Greg Chappell at the Centre for Excellence in Brisbane,(like Shane Watson did - Watto acknowledges the contribution by Greg), and overcome the one chink in his armour - his failing against the short ball.Though Dale Steyn and the other South African quicks could not bowl him out,the Poms exposed this weakness in the ashes 2009. Hughes has time on his side - and he can be ready for the Ashes 2010 -11,in case he fgats a call-up.

  • JonnyBoy777 on March 25, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Im A Kiwi so may get hammered for dis but i reckon auzzie team should be:Katich,Watson,Ponting,Clarke,M Hussey,M North,Hughes,Haddin,Smith,Johnson,Bollinger, Bowling- Bollinger-Johnson-Watson-Smith-(Clarke-Katich)

  • testcric4ever on March 25, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Hughes also made a good score against a terrible Kiwi attack, not as good as Norths. Katich is 34, only a few years to go. Let Hughes spend more time in domestic cricket working on that terrible technique that got eaten alive by Flintoff. As for Smith, dump Hauritz. You know you're not that great a spin bowler when Clarke is thrown the ball before you on some occasions. Or when you can't take a single pakistani wicket, so Katich has to come on and take 3 in 2 overs.

  • prabhatjha on March 25, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    good news that watson is fit now . I think Rajasthan royals need him more in ipl than the Aussies at the moment as hughes has done so well n deserves another chance.

  • ozziefan08 on March 25, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Drop hussey, put Katich to four where he bats for NSW and play Hughes, you say North made a hundred on a placid surface against a sub par attack. Hussey made 4 or so he has had enough chances now time to bring in Hughes and leave him there.

  • on March 25, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    Yeh I agree Benster2. If North is given this many chances, another century was bound to come. You have to apply some forsight and look at first class averages. North's FC average is only 43.50, whilst Hughes' is an epic 59.72. Typical Aus batsman (although there are exceptions) average a few points below their FC average in test cricket. Therefore it is likely over time North will probably average around 40 in tests. Thats not good enough, a quick hitter like Hughes would be awesome for number 6. Also, imagine if Hughes was made a permanent no. 6. The Aus batting line up then would be probably better than India's.