South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 3rd day November 19, 2011

Watson in doubt for first Test against New Zealand

41

Shane Watson has conceded that he is in doubt for the first Test against New Zealand and even if he does play, he will be unable to bowl. Watson left the field on the first day at the Wanderers after he strained his right hamstring while bowling and while he was able to bat and run between the wickets well enough to score 88 in Australia's first innings, the injury remains a concern.

That leaves Australia with three of their best players in danger of missing the Gabba Test against New Zealand, which begins in 11 days. The new No. 3, Shaun Marsh, flew home from South Africa after injuring his back during the loss in Cape Town, while the in-form fast bowler Ryan Harris has also returned to Australia to deal with a hip problem.

But neither of those men would be as big a loss as Watson, who is the team's vice-captain, opening batsman and an important wicket-taking change bowler. Watson said it was important over the next two days that he balanced pushing for a victory to help Australia level the series with ensuring he does no further damage to the hamstring.

"With running between wickets it's [a matter of] not pushing it too hard. I don't want to make it worse and rule myself out for longer at the start of the summer," Watson said. "I am trying to find a balance between getting through this Test match and contributing as much as I can, even if it is only with the bat, and not doing too much damage so I give myself a chance of playing in Brisbane.

"Most probably bowling will be out in Brisbane but we will just have to wait and see. I am going to get a scan done after this Test to see the extent [of the injury] but hopefully it won't be a significant one. Hopefully it will only put me out for a little while. When I've strained hamstrings in the past it's taken a little bit of time once it's healed for me to get back to a full bowling workload, so hopefully it won't be too long."

Watson was forced to bat without a runner in the first innings - the ICC abolished runners earlier this year - and depending on the target Australia need to chase he could have a heavy responsibility over the final two days at the Wanderers. He said it was important that after this match was over Australia's medical staff made the right call on whether he should play at the Gabba.

"That is going to be a decision that we talk to Alex [Kountouris], our physio, about. Hopefully the worst-case scenario is that I can play as a batsman without any chance of it flaring up and delaying my bowling comeback. I'm very confident we will get the decision right but we need to get it right."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 22, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    If Watto is not fully fit......... dont enforce him to play against NZ. We will desperately need him against India. We can have Warner as an option for NZ series.Even though Khwaja can also open the inning if Shaun is fit.

  • zenboomerang on November 22, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    @featurewriter... have you forgotten to look at the long term weather forecast?... Rain here for the next week... On recent form the pitch will be a fast bowlers paradise... Like your team, though Johnson has no form & would prefer Harris (if fit), Butterworth or Starc

  • zenboomerang on November 22, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    @RandyOZ... yes agree... Lyon hasn't bowled badly considering his level of experience & is in the team as an attacting spinner... Hope the selectors give him a go throughout the summer... Though I still don't know why the selectors picked him before O'Keefe who has experience, form as a good spinner & can get some useful runs at times... Surely SS experience has to mean something...

  • zenboomerang on November 22, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    @Meety... Your comment about the Gabba being bone-dry recently doesn't stack up... Have you been down to the ground in recent weeks... As green as... No water restrictions... Rain/Showers/Thunderstorms forecast for Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon... The Kiwis will be lucky to get in 3 days of cricket at Allan Border Field against Australia A... I'll be in the pavilion at ABF & grandstand at the Gabba... Hopefully we get a few hot/dry days on Tues/Wed next week before the Test... Expect the Gabba wicket to do a lot in the first 3 days... Pacemens dream pitch...

  • Dashgar on November 22, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    A few people calling for Peter Siddle to be the only man dropped from the team. How short are your memories. We made 47 a game ago. We need to change up this batting order. It's time for Hughes, Ponting, Haddin and Johnson to go. My team Marsh/Khawaja, Cowan, Bailey, Clarke, Hussey, Faulkner, Cutting, Harris/Siddle, Cummins, Lyon

  • Meety on November 21, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @ featurewriter - I think it will be dry, hard & fast with plenty of bounce (more variable than usual maybe). Not sure about no spinner - given Warney success there & not sure about leaving Siddle out, he got hat trick at the Gabba last year. In fact I'm not sure now about the bowling attack, I think the 1st man selected is Cummins, & I think 2nd is Cutting - that's obvious (to me anyway) - the remaining 2 spots will be an interesting debate amongst the selectors. I think Pup will want to retain the Jo'burg attack! Lets face it - the Saffas only once past 300 (just), so its really about the batting?

  • thebigone on November 21, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    ozzies doing well by end of their summer will be pressing for 3rd position with india. tbo

  • featurewriter on November 21, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    The Gabba is going to be a dry, hard pitch for the NZ Test. With Watson, Marsh and Harris out, I'd love to see Warner and Cutting or Swan in (considering Khawaja is already in). Hughes, Warner, Khawaja, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Johnson, Cummins, Cutting, Copeland. (I'd forgo a spinner on the Gabba this summer; it's that dry.)

  • on November 21, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    How about Queensland openner Ryan Broad to replace Watson at the top. Hes 29 and seems to be a mature batman. Perfect chance to play to him at Brisbane his home ground? My 12 for first test against New Zealand is 1:Broad 2:Hughes, 3:Khawaja,4:Clarke, 5:Hussey 6:Ponting, 7:Haddin,8:Johnson, 9:Copeland,10:Cummins 11: Lyon 12: Bailey . Give Broad a chance.

  • RandyOZ on November 21, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    Lyon has kept taking his 2 wickets and in my opinion is doing his job on green tops. He needs a bit more of a chance in the side. Siddle and Johnson simply have to go. harris, cummins, cutting and lyon would be an awesome attack. Hughes needs to stay there.

  • on November 22, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    If Watto is not fully fit......... dont enforce him to play against NZ. We will desperately need him against India. We can have Warner as an option for NZ series.Even though Khwaja can also open the inning if Shaun is fit.

  • zenboomerang on November 22, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    @featurewriter... have you forgotten to look at the long term weather forecast?... Rain here for the next week... On recent form the pitch will be a fast bowlers paradise... Like your team, though Johnson has no form & would prefer Harris (if fit), Butterworth or Starc

  • zenboomerang on November 22, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    @RandyOZ... yes agree... Lyon hasn't bowled badly considering his level of experience & is in the team as an attacting spinner... Hope the selectors give him a go throughout the summer... Though I still don't know why the selectors picked him before O'Keefe who has experience, form as a good spinner & can get some useful runs at times... Surely SS experience has to mean something...

  • zenboomerang on November 22, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    @Meety... Your comment about the Gabba being bone-dry recently doesn't stack up... Have you been down to the ground in recent weeks... As green as... No water restrictions... Rain/Showers/Thunderstorms forecast for Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon... The Kiwis will be lucky to get in 3 days of cricket at Allan Border Field against Australia A... I'll be in the pavilion at ABF & grandstand at the Gabba... Hopefully we get a few hot/dry days on Tues/Wed next week before the Test... Expect the Gabba wicket to do a lot in the first 3 days... Pacemens dream pitch...

  • Dashgar on November 22, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    A few people calling for Peter Siddle to be the only man dropped from the team. How short are your memories. We made 47 a game ago. We need to change up this batting order. It's time for Hughes, Ponting, Haddin and Johnson to go. My team Marsh/Khawaja, Cowan, Bailey, Clarke, Hussey, Faulkner, Cutting, Harris/Siddle, Cummins, Lyon

  • Meety on November 21, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @ featurewriter - I think it will be dry, hard & fast with plenty of bounce (more variable than usual maybe). Not sure about no spinner - given Warney success there & not sure about leaving Siddle out, he got hat trick at the Gabba last year. In fact I'm not sure now about the bowling attack, I think the 1st man selected is Cummins, & I think 2nd is Cutting - that's obvious (to me anyway) - the remaining 2 spots will be an interesting debate amongst the selectors. I think Pup will want to retain the Jo'burg attack! Lets face it - the Saffas only once past 300 (just), so its really about the batting?

  • thebigone on November 21, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    ozzies doing well by end of their summer will be pressing for 3rd position with india. tbo

  • featurewriter on November 21, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    The Gabba is going to be a dry, hard pitch for the NZ Test. With Watson, Marsh and Harris out, I'd love to see Warner and Cutting or Swan in (considering Khawaja is already in). Hughes, Warner, Khawaja, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Johnson, Cummins, Cutting, Copeland. (I'd forgo a spinner on the Gabba this summer; it's that dry.)

  • on November 21, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    How about Queensland openner Ryan Broad to replace Watson at the top. Hes 29 and seems to be a mature batman. Perfect chance to play to him at Brisbane his home ground? My 12 for first test against New Zealand is 1:Broad 2:Hughes, 3:Khawaja,4:Clarke, 5:Hussey 6:Ponting, 7:Haddin,8:Johnson, 9:Copeland,10:Cummins 11: Lyon 12: Bailey . Give Broad a chance.

  • RandyOZ on November 21, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    Lyon has kept taking his 2 wickets and in my opinion is doing his job on green tops. He needs a bit more of a chance in the side. Siddle and Johnson simply have to go. harris, cummins, cutting and lyon would be an awesome attack. Hughes needs to stay there.

  • Stevo_ on November 21, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Cutting must play; Toting an astonishing average of 14.65 with a competition high 23 wickets after four outright Bupa Sheffield Shield wins, In 2009-10 , Cutting was the leading first-class wicket-taker with 46 scalps - 10 more than his nearest rival. He clearly has kept up his form this summer, he must play if Aust are serious about the Argus review "Players must earn their positions in the time-honoured way of making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level''

    If he was from NSW he would be picked already.

  • Stevo_ on November 21, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Cutting must play; Toting an astonishing average of 14.65 with a competition high 23 wickets after four outright Bupa Sheffield Shield wins, In 2009-10 , Cutting was the leading first-class wicket-taker with 46 scalps - 10 more than his nearest rival. He clearly has kept up his form this summer, he must play if Aust are serious about the Argus review "Players must earn their positions in the time-honoured way of making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level''

    If he was from NSW he would be picked already.

  • Meety on November 21, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - I doubt the GABBA will be a Green Top this summer, it hasn't rained all month! Everywhere is Brown! The GABBA will be rock hard - plenty of pace & plenty of bounce. I'm betting the fastest & bounciest test pitch in Oz since the old WACA pitches. @Johnny_129 - Bollinger has some sort of injury - either way there is a belief that he needs to keep on top of his fitness & breaking down during the recent Shield match won't help! @Nathan Kiely (& others) - I would not select an Oz line up that had Marsh, Watson & Clarke in the same side. They all have injury concerns (Pup being the least of them). I think no matter how good they may be - it would be a seriously unstable line up. I can't argue with everything else though except I would have Cutting in the side.

  • zenboomerang on November 20, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    Hope the new selectors have the brains to rest injured players... there are enough players in the talent pool to rest 1st pick players... Watson needs to forget the next dumb mini Test series & get ready for the 4 Test series against India... Aus v NZ series: Hughes, Warner, Marsh/Khawaja, Ponting (retire in Hobart in home State), Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Harris, Butterworth, O'Keefe, Cummins... Butterworth best First Class bowling last season & best stats for all bowlers... O'Keefe by far best stats as spin bowler in Oz... Time to give the performers a go...

  • Wozza-CY on November 20, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    @nathan kiely- Make that a fourth. Only I would have O'Keefe batting higher than Harris. Watson not bowling really disturbs the balance of the ozi attack (particularly when other bowlers aren't bowling accurately). If he is not in the team, then somone like Copeland is a must, although it would be very tempting to play Cutting in Brisvegas. Playing the kiwis at the GABBA & Belrieve means they might go without a specialist spinner. We really need a spinner who can add a lot of runs as well. O'Keefe fits the bill perfectly (others are D.Hussey & G.Maxwell) - especially if Watson is injured. If Watto doesn't play, SOK @ 6 & bring Cutting in for a nicely balanced four pronged pace attack & SOK at the ready if there is any turn.

  • Joffa12 on November 20, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    dont risk him, have him primed for india series, give khawaja the opening spot, see if he plays alright there so watto can bat down the order when he returns, and if marsh doesnt play, its a good chance to try some new players for the future just in case, experience means a lot, even keeping haddin and giving matty wade a crack as a batsman to be ready for a takeover could be a good idea

  • bobagorof on November 20, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    As SixFourOut mentioned, this is a great opportunity to find a more permanent opener to replace Watson at the top of the order. Or potentially bring back Katich (though his form is the last match doesn't warrant it). When Watson is fit again, slot him back in down the order. But with the India series coming up, it doesn't make sense to rush him back or play him half-fit against NZ. Ponting and Johnson really need to go - they've failed for too long. If Marsh is fit then he can either open or come in at 3, with Khawaja at 3 or 4. Then you have a spot open either at 1 or 4, either of which Warner could fill, or you could pick the next in line. With Cummins having a great debut he's sure to play, so if Harris is fit he replaces Johnson, with Copeland and Siddle to jostle for the other pace bowler's place. If Harris isn't fit, either just replace Johnson with Copeland or anotherin-form bowler - Bollinger (if his hamstring is ok), Goerge, Cutting, Starc or even Hilfenhaus.

  • on November 20, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    @Nathan Kiely and Straight drive 4. I third that

  • straight_drive4 on November 20, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    @nathan kiely - absolutely spot on. Very well written. Couldn't agree more.

  • on November 20, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    I think Watson is a great starter! So he doesn't make the 100. What he does do is almost always get us of to a good start. The disappointment is that no one has given him support and his good starts go wasted by his team-mates. (In my opinion)

  • Aussierise on November 20, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    ive been saying for a while....selectors think left field and give punter a last role of the dice as opener. Let him play his shots and get after the bowlers rather than sitting in the dressing rooms getting figity in the middle order....he could seriously get Australia off to some solid starts with his experience alongside a young good technique partner. Not sure hughes should be his partner though....prefer marsh, khawaja or warner. First test against Kiwis - 1 Ponting, 2 Marsh, 3 Clarke (as our best batsman & captain he needs to man up and play at 3 where we need him most to support the top and middle order. we need him here for 2013 ASHES), 4 khawaja, 5 hussey, 6 paine/wade/hartley, 7 christian, 8 M marsh or butterworth or maxwell, 9 Cutting, 10 Cummins, 11 Lyon. I think hussey will retire after India tests and watson will slot in at 4/5. If punter misfires as an opener bring in warner. I think that when aussies get Paine up and running we will need him at 6 for better balance.

  • soorajiyer on November 20, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Its highly unfair to expect Watson to open when he actually is not one. He is a high impact player much like Flintoff, but he is not as good as Kallis. So get him to bat at No 6. Throw Haddin out, get Paine/Wade to bat. Show Mitchell Johnson the door and get Even Copeland, he did a decent job in Lanka. MJ has been a liability for too long. The rest of the things would fall in place.

    Isnt Mitchell Marsh a good chap to get into the team? I thought he was a very decent bowler..

    I dont want to comment on Ponting, as being an Indian most people would think that I dont want him to outscore Sachin.. Truth is, it pains to see when a Legend struggles (for me legends are Sachin/Rahul/Lax/Ricky/Kallis).

  • balajik1968 on November 20, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    This is the time for Australia to look for a couple of specialist openers. They haven't had a specialist since Hayden retired (Hughes does not count because he has'nt nailed down his place yet). Both Katich and Watson were middle order players pushed up due to lack of options. Watson is better off down the order. Also, it is time Australia stopped looking for another Gilchrist. Gilly was a one-off. His batting was a tremendous bonus which has made the Aussies greedy, but it would have been useless if his work behind the stumps had been poor. Now Australia should ideally look for a good keeper, who can bat. If they decide to drop Haddin, that is.

  • shuvo_bba on November 20, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Doug Bollinger for Ryan Harris, Callum Ferguson for Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja for Ricky Ponting & David Warner for Shane watson would be the perfect replacements for Australia in coming NZ series.

  • sunny1307 on November 20, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    Watto injured,Marsh Injured implies that Ponting is safe.Forget the nz series,it will boxing day test..1.Watto,2.Hughes,3.Marsh,4.Ponting,5.Clarke,6.Hussey,7.Paine,8.Johnson,9.Siddle,10.Harris,11.Cummins.....sorry but no spinner needed against India,it will be a waste.

  • on November 20, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Australia could use someone like Glenn Maxwell as a hard hitting batsman playing at 6 and a good second spin bowler to play aside nathan lyon, he has shown in sheffield shield that he can be consistent with good runs and he has been one of the leading spinners this season. Also i feel Watson should play against NZ as a specialist batsman.

  • on November 20, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    1. Khawaja (He is a rock who can battle through tough conditions) 2. Warner (powerful stroke player who can dominate an attack when he gets going) 3. Marsh (level-headed and willing to work hard for his runs) 4. Hussey (this is where he's played most of his test cricket and been most successful) 5. Clarke (counter attacking batting position that suits his style) 6. Watson (balanced position -- the home of a true allrounder -- can hammer hoem an advantge from here too) 7. Wade (fit and scoring runs so why not?) 8. Harris (no more needs to be said) 9. O'Keefe (statistically the best and most proven spinner in the country -- experienced as well) 10. Copeland (tight and accurate, ties down an end, erant his spot through weight of wickets) 11. Cummins (demonstrated that he's worth the risk by being able to trouble some high quality batsman in teh second test)

    hughes is rubbish when he isn't on a road, ponting is never going to refind form, johnson leaves us a bowler short most og the time.

  • MikeMiller on November 20, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    hyclass, you're all class! Spot-on in your conclusions about Watson's batting. However, who would you open with in his place? In Tests, I think he should bat at 5-6, interchanging with Hussey depending on the state of the game, and his bowling, when he's fit, can be a bonus and not something that's desperately needed to paper over the shortfalls of the rest of the attack.

  • Joh22 on November 20, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    Rest Watson to get him right and bring in Mitch Marsh or if he is injured James Faulkner at 6 and another opener (Shaun Marsh if fit or Warner) for Ponting and if the opener works bring Watto back at 6.

  • VivGilchrist on November 20, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    Thank you Dr Hyclass. Kallis seems to have a muscular frame too. Maybe Watto should bat at 4 like Kallis.

  • hyclass on November 20, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    @Naikan...In my opinion a more factually supportable deduction is that due to his overly muscular physique,Watsons body burns energy far faster than usual.It contributes to accelerated mental fatigue.I have calculated,based on his performances since his elevation to the opening position,that he regularly loses concentration between 90 and 120 minutes.It also explains why,despite the perception that he is an attacking batsman,that his strike rate is barely above 50 and that his conversion of 50s to 100s is woeful.He often commences inning with a flurry of shots and then becomes becalmed before being dismissed to what is perceived as poor judgement.I believe it is simply mental fatigue.I would look at diet and blood sugar for solutions.His techniqe is good enough as an opener.My observations would be that with his penchant for legside hitting,that the shape of his drives on the off-side can lead to airbourne driving,particularly from cover around to point.Its a flaw I would accept.

  • Johnny_129 on November 20, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    IMO, Bollinger needs to be brought back in. Johnson can be brilliant on his day and also there is the added bonus of his batting. However, bowling should be his priority. Moreover, Johnson can be very inconsistent and his presence can also negatively affect the other bowlers as he can be very wayward and expensive in spells. To form a good 'bowling team' you need guys who will complement each other rather than individualists. Harris, Bollinger, Siddle & Cummins will form a great bowling partnership.

  • mthw on November 20, 2011, 0:34 GMT

    with no injuries, the 12 for 1st test against NZ should be: Marsh, Hughes, Kawaja, Clarke, Hussey, Watson, Wade/Paine, Harris, Cummins, Cutting, Lyon, Pattinson, One of the young bowlers to drop out and the rest in batting order. Basis of a storng team there.

  • Dashgar on November 20, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    Doesn't matter too much, this will give a young player like Faulkner, Mitch Marsh or Glen Maxwell a shot. We have plenty of good allrounders in Sheffield Shield to come in for Watson.

  • VivGilchrist on November 19, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    Rest him from the 1st Test. Bring him in for the 2nd if he's fit. The priority this summer is the series v India. We need Watto and Harris fit and firing on Boxing Day. This gives the Aussies a great chance to look at Warner, and maybe an all-rounder such as Butterworth, Christian, or McDonald at 6. Aussies are also missing the control and pressure of Copeland to balance the attack as Siddle and MJ shouldn't bowl together. Funny that Hilfy is in great form for Tassie at the moment too. Could he be a chance on a Gabba green top?

  • SixFourOut on November 19, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    This will force Aus to do what they were going to have to do eventually anyway and that is find an opening partner for Hughes.

    Watson is not a long term prospect and you need guys that can make hundreds. Harris is good, but aging. It's time to build with new blood

  • zico123 on November 19, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    hope watson is fit for NZ series, if not David Warner should be given a run, Australia is expected to win NZ series easily, so that is the best time to blood in young players.

  • zico123 on November 19, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    yet another wayward, inconsistent day for Johnson, he should be dumpped ASAP, he can not continue to be regular in the side but deliver once in 6 months, simply not good enough, no wonder why Australia is ranked no. 4-5 as they have been carrying out-of-form Johnson for last 2 years!! means they are always a bowler short, he is the most inconsistent bowler in the world

  • Naikan on November 19, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Shane Watson made a switch to the opening position (batting) sometime in Jul 2009. For the next 8 tests or so he succeeded remarkably at it and scored at an everage of 63. However during that period his bowling suffered and he managed only 11 wickets at an average of 30. Following that period which is basically the last 16 matches, he has done extremely well as a bowler taking 31 wickets at an average of 23.9 but his batting has slipped to a below 40 average of around 36. When one compares his Test career to the shorter versions, it is quite noticeable that he performs better as shorter the format and he is excellent in T20s. It is apparent that the temparent (and possibly the technique) he is currently carrying is unsuitable for being an opening test batsmen, even though he tries batting much slower. In the interests of his team and his own performance too, he should step down in the batting order and try positions between 4 & 6 down if he wants to continue to be a prime bowler.

  • on November 19, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Given how (in)effective the rest of Australian bowling attack (apart from Cummins) was yesterday, it seems to me Australia need another bowler (perhaps with Johnson playing as an all rounder). However, that would mean Haddin batting at 6, which is hazardous in his current form. Would James Hopes be the answer? If so, what on earth is the question?

  • katandthat3 on November 19, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    We'll still need him as a stick but still use the opportunity to play him in the middle order against the Kiwis. It means bringing in an allrounder, as a fan of Luke Butterworth I think he could do the business especially at the Gabba and then at his home ground at Hobart. Guys like McDonald & Hopes shouldn't be discounted either with plenty of experience. Is it too early for Mitchell Marsh? With the way our attack is going Cutting or Pattinson could be a chance along with a fit Harris to join Cummins. A side like Hughes, Khawaja, Marsh, Watson, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Butterworth, Harris, Cummins, Lyon, Cutting in the 12 would look ok. I'd like to see Punter go out in Australia but it's been so hard to watch, a match winning ton might help his cause. I think Lyon has bowled ok but he needs to bowl more overs otherwise it leaves the other 3 bowlers without Watto to do too much. The other way would be to leave Watto open and then bat Wade at 6 and bring in a extra bowler, short-term opt.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • katandthat3 on November 19, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    We'll still need him as a stick but still use the opportunity to play him in the middle order against the Kiwis. It means bringing in an allrounder, as a fan of Luke Butterworth I think he could do the business especially at the Gabba and then at his home ground at Hobart. Guys like McDonald & Hopes shouldn't be discounted either with plenty of experience. Is it too early for Mitchell Marsh? With the way our attack is going Cutting or Pattinson could be a chance along with a fit Harris to join Cummins. A side like Hughes, Khawaja, Marsh, Watson, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Butterworth, Harris, Cummins, Lyon, Cutting in the 12 would look ok. I'd like to see Punter go out in Australia but it's been so hard to watch, a match winning ton might help his cause. I think Lyon has bowled ok but he needs to bowl more overs otherwise it leaves the other 3 bowlers without Watto to do too much. The other way would be to leave Watto open and then bat Wade at 6 and bring in a extra bowler, short-term opt.

  • on November 19, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Given how (in)effective the rest of Australian bowling attack (apart from Cummins) was yesterday, it seems to me Australia need another bowler (perhaps with Johnson playing as an all rounder). However, that would mean Haddin batting at 6, which is hazardous in his current form. Would James Hopes be the answer? If so, what on earth is the question?

  • Naikan on November 19, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Shane Watson made a switch to the opening position (batting) sometime in Jul 2009. For the next 8 tests or so he succeeded remarkably at it and scored at an everage of 63. However during that period his bowling suffered and he managed only 11 wickets at an average of 30. Following that period which is basically the last 16 matches, he has done extremely well as a bowler taking 31 wickets at an average of 23.9 but his batting has slipped to a below 40 average of around 36. When one compares his Test career to the shorter versions, it is quite noticeable that he performs better as shorter the format and he is excellent in T20s. It is apparent that the temparent (and possibly the technique) he is currently carrying is unsuitable for being an opening test batsmen, even though he tries batting much slower. In the interests of his team and his own performance too, he should step down in the batting order and try positions between 4 & 6 down if he wants to continue to be a prime bowler.

  • zico123 on November 19, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    yet another wayward, inconsistent day for Johnson, he should be dumpped ASAP, he can not continue to be regular in the side but deliver once in 6 months, simply not good enough, no wonder why Australia is ranked no. 4-5 as they have been carrying out-of-form Johnson for last 2 years!! means they are always a bowler short, he is the most inconsistent bowler in the world

  • zico123 on November 19, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    hope watson is fit for NZ series, if not David Warner should be given a run, Australia is expected to win NZ series easily, so that is the best time to blood in young players.

  • SixFourOut on November 19, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    This will force Aus to do what they were going to have to do eventually anyway and that is find an opening partner for Hughes.

    Watson is not a long term prospect and you need guys that can make hundreds. Harris is good, but aging. It's time to build with new blood

  • VivGilchrist on November 19, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    Rest him from the 1st Test. Bring him in for the 2nd if he's fit. The priority this summer is the series v India. We need Watto and Harris fit and firing on Boxing Day. This gives the Aussies a great chance to look at Warner, and maybe an all-rounder such as Butterworth, Christian, or McDonald at 6. Aussies are also missing the control and pressure of Copeland to balance the attack as Siddle and MJ shouldn't bowl together. Funny that Hilfy is in great form for Tassie at the moment too. Could he be a chance on a Gabba green top?

  • Dashgar on November 20, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    Doesn't matter too much, this will give a young player like Faulkner, Mitch Marsh or Glen Maxwell a shot. We have plenty of good allrounders in Sheffield Shield to come in for Watson.

  • mthw on November 20, 2011, 0:34 GMT

    with no injuries, the 12 for 1st test against NZ should be: Marsh, Hughes, Kawaja, Clarke, Hussey, Watson, Wade/Paine, Harris, Cummins, Cutting, Lyon, Pattinson, One of the young bowlers to drop out and the rest in batting order. Basis of a storng team there.

  • Johnny_129 on November 20, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    IMO, Bollinger needs to be brought back in. Johnson can be brilliant on his day and also there is the added bonus of his batting. However, bowling should be his priority. Moreover, Johnson can be very inconsistent and his presence can also negatively affect the other bowlers as he can be very wayward and expensive in spells. To form a good 'bowling team' you need guys who will complement each other rather than individualists. Harris, Bollinger, Siddle & Cummins will form a great bowling partnership.