Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 16, 2014

Watson unlikely for Port Elizabeth

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Shane Watson will not return to Australia's Test XI in South Africa until he can bowl, effectively ruling him out of the second Test in Port Elizabeth where the tourists will hope to seal the series following their enormous victory over the bedraggled hosts at Centurion.

While Watson has returned to running and batted in Centurion's indoor nets towards the end of the Test, following a calf strain, he has not yet attempted to bowl and cannot be expected to push out any of the incumbent batsmen given their recent performances. The returning Shaun Marsh and debutant Alex Doolan each made telling contributions to the 281-run hiding, even if they were overshadowed by the brilliance of Mitchell Johnson on a pitch of variable bounce.

Australia's coach, Darren Lehmann, who rated the result alongside any he had been involved in away from home, expressed his preference for Watson being able to bowl before he returned, while also adding that it would be extremely difficult to change the combination that had so humbled Graeme Smith's side inside four days.

"We'll have to see if he's fit and ready to play, and then we'll make a decision. That's what we did with the touring party and with this Test match, the next Test match is the same," Lehman said. "It's always very hard to fit him in if you're winning. We don't like to change the side too much, but if he's fit and ready to go we'll have to wait and see.

"You'd like him to bowl. Firstly we've got to get him fit, then we'll see what happens from there. From my point of view we've got to get him fit. He's pretty close. He was running [on Saturday], but at the end of the day we've got to get him fit and right and ready to go to play cricket at this level."

Australia's ambush of South Africa on a ground where they had previously boasted a dominant record bore comparison to the seismic defeat of England in Brisbane to set the tone for a 5-0 Ashes sweep. However, Lehmann observed this match was of even greater import in the context of the series, as South Africa now had only two matches left to re-group.

"It's a three-match series, it's pretty important isn't it?" he said. "If it's a five-match series then obviously you would like to win the first one but it's not as important as it is in a three-match series. It was a great result for us, away from home. We spoke about that at the start of the tour ... that you have to start winning away from home to get noticed and climb up the ranks and be respected by your opponents, but also play the brand of cricket you want to play. We need to do that day-in, day-out. That's no different next week."

Apart from the efforts of Johnson, Marsh, Steven Smith, Doolan and David Warner, Lehmann also highlighted the committed and thorough nature of the team's fielding. Next to a South Africa side that looked rusty and vulnerable in the field, putting down numerous chances, the Australians did not miss a single one, and were still diving around as if their lives depended on it well after victory was in sight.

"Obviously we caught very well in this game - I don't think we put down a catch, so that's good," Lehmann said. "The pleasing one for me is at nine down when Chris Rogers dived for the boundary. That means the hunger [is there]. That's what we want from our side. Each and every day we represent Australia we want to have that hunger and drive to play the best we can. At nine down ... when you're seeing blokes dive, I like.

"I'm proud of everything we did, we ticked off everything we wanted to do in this game, now it's a case of backing it up."

One man Lehmann expected some improvement from in Port Elizabeth is Ryan Harris, who looked short of rhythm in the first innings before returning to his more familiar high standards in the second. At times he appeared to struggle with the chronic knee problem that will require surgery after this tour, but Lehmann reckoned he would be better for the run.

"He struggled a bit," Lehmann admitted. "I think not playing for a while hampered him a little bit. But he certainly bowled better [second innings], in his second spell, it was a bit more like the Ryan Harris we know. So I expect him to get better."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris_P on February 18, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    @disco_bob. You also forget that when he was Captain in the 4th test vs. India he still didn't open & put Maxwell as opener the 2nd innings!

  • DragonCricketer on February 18, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    Phillip Hughes needs to work on his medium pace bowling.

  • OneEyedAussie on February 17, 2014, 22:52 GMT

    Watson's played a few good ones over the years. Perth 2010, 95 in the second innings to secure a decent lead. 93 and 120* MCG 2009. Mohali 2010, 126 (though India won the game by one wicket in the end, probably not Watson's fault though). Also the 5th Ashes test recently in England that was weather affected. And of course, there are a few 5-fors as well.

    Would have agree with the general statement that Watson from the perspective of his whole career to date has been an underperforming top order batsmen but given Australia's lack of talent over recent years he has been a capable all-rounder.

  • swauzzie on February 17, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    @paddyclark I actually don't think all critisism is about him being in the side only. I think it mainly stems from him quite obviously not being a top order batsman in tests anyway. At no. 6 or 7 is possibly a more correct placement for him in a test batting lineup. But come on - an Australian no 3? Surely you can't say that both he deserves to be there & has done enough with all his chances to stay there???

  • cricketsubh on February 17, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    i do not think watt can makes a come back in the test team he is not a test player doolan is a batter test player then watson and his 28 watson is 33 aus should go for younger player not old players i think 1st test team should play last 2 test i do not think aus need to change the team becoz of watson aus got 4 world class bowlers and best attack in the world they do not need watson bowling warner and smith can do the part time job also clarke can bowl some spin .

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    Rubbish disco - you were just plain wrong and by the way all ashes tests matter. If you think they don't then I dont think youknow what your talking about. I.e the difference bwtween us beating Eng 5 - 0 as opposed to 3 - 2 or 3 - 0. Its a massive difference and they all matter. It was terriffic ton under extreme pressure in eng- particularly with the pressure put on him re: lbw that series by the media and eng squad. Im not saying he is don bradman reborn but I hate the overly negative rubbish posted about him.

  • disco_bob on February 17, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    @Paddyclark, "...and the question was has he played one..." Come on mate, you're being disingenuous now, Warner carried his bat on a difficult pitch and got us to within 7 runs when the series was still alive. That is what I meant as the sort of spirit that Watson has NEVER shown, when it really mattered. Unless Smith suddenly has a catastrophic form collapse there is simply no room for Watson, because he is not a top order batsman and his bowling is not good enough to carry him higher than 6, not only that but remember that he said he wants to be an opener and that he refused to bowl in India. Refused. He said he'd let the coach know when he can bowl again. Surely he's having a larf.

  • disco_bob on February 17, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    @Paddyclark "disco_bob - yes he did exactly that when he scored a ton in England last Ashes", you could not have proved my point better if you tried, for reasons already explained by MUP.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 17, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    @Paddyclark Certainly not, I never said that. But wouldn't it be nice if once in all the test series he's played he actually made a difference to the series off his own bat? I'm not saying he has no place in the team yet, but I don't think he's a top order batsman, he's just plain unreliable. Also against a new ball and any half decent seam attack in world cricket his technical issues are plain as day for all to see. He's played 51 tests and not many memorable innings, it's way too many chances for anyone batting in the top 5. The problem was our batting had huge holes in it and he was a valid stop gap at the time. Now that we have some batsmen who don't have glaring technical flaws his only real place in the team is at 6. But if he can't bowl then as it stands right now there's no way he has a place in the team purely on his batting. Dale Steyn would eat him for breakfast, and if Philander gets one to nip back a bit you know what's going to happen next.

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Also I don't disagree that we have wanted to see more from Watson with the bat, but he has turned several matches with his bowling. You will see his value when we have fresh frontline bowlers taking the second new ball not to mention that a bowling average of 32 is very respectable in its own right.

  • Chris_P on February 18, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    @disco_bob. You also forget that when he was Captain in the 4th test vs. India he still didn't open & put Maxwell as opener the 2nd innings!

  • DragonCricketer on February 18, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    Phillip Hughes needs to work on his medium pace bowling.

  • OneEyedAussie on February 17, 2014, 22:52 GMT

    Watson's played a few good ones over the years. Perth 2010, 95 in the second innings to secure a decent lead. 93 and 120* MCG 2009. Mohali 2010, 126 (though India won the game by one wicket in the end, probably not Watson's fault though). Also the 5th Ashes test recently in England that was weather affected. And of course, there are a few 5-fors as well.

    Would have agree with the general statement that Watson from the perspective of his whole career to date has been an underperforming top order batsmen but given Australia's lack of talent over recent years he has been a capable all-rounder.

  • swauzzie on February 17, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    @paddyclark I actually don't think all critisism is about him being in the side only. I think it mainly stems from him quite obviously not being a top order batsman in tests anyway. At no. 6 or 7 is possibly a more correct placement for him in a test batting lineup. But come on - an Australian no 3? Surely you can't say that both he deserves to be there & has done enough with all his chances to stay there???

  • cricketsubh on February 17, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    i do not think watt can makes a come back in the test team he is not a test player doolan is a batter test player then watson and his 28 watson is 33 aus should go for younger player not old players i think 1st test team should play last 2 test i do not think aus need to change the team becoz of watson aus got 4 world class bowlers and best attack in the world they do not need watson bowling warner and smith can do the part time job also clarke can bowl some spin .

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    Rubbish disco - you were just plain wrong and by the way all ashes tests matter. If you think they don't then I dont think youknow what your talking about. I.e the difference bwtween us beating Eng 5 - 0 as opposed to 3 - 2 or 3 - 0. Its a massive difference and they all matter. It was terriffic ton under extreme pressure in eng- particularly with the pressure put on him re: lbw that series by the media and eng squad. Im not saying he is don bradman reborn but I hate the overly negative rubbish posted about him.

  • disco_bob on February 17, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    @Paddyclark, "...and the question was has he played one..." Come on mate, you're being disingenuous now, Warner carried his bat on a difficult pitch and got us to within 7 runs when the series was still alive. That is what I meant as the sort of spirit that Watson has NEVER shown, when it really mattered. Unless Smith suddenly has a catastrophic form collapse there is simply no room for Watson, because he is not a top order batsman and his bowling is not good enough to carry him higher than 6, not only that but remember that he said he wants to be an opener and that he refused to bowl in India. Refused. He said he'd let the coach know when he can bowl again. Surely he's having a larf.

  • disco_bob on February 17, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    @Paddyclark "disco_bob - yes he did exactly that when he scored a ton in England last Ashes", you could not have proved my point better if you tried, for reasons already explained by MUP.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 17, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    @Paddyclark Certainly not, I never said that. But wouldn't it be nice if once in all the test series he's played he actually made a difference to the series off his own bat? I'm not saying he has no place in the team yet, but I don't think he's a top order batsman, he's just plain unreliable. Also against a new ball and any half decent seam attack in world cricket his technical issues are plain as day for all to see. He's played 51 tests and not many memorable innings, it's way too many chances for anyone batting in the top 5. The problem was our batting had huge holes in it and he was a valid stop gap at the time. Now that we have some batsmen who don't have glaring technical flaws his only real place in the team is at 6. But if he can't bowl then as it stands right now there's no way he has a place in the team purely on his batting. Dale Steyn would eat him for breakfast, and if Philander gets one to nip back a bit you know what's going to happen next.

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Also I don't disagree that we have wanted to see more from Watson with the bat, but he has turned several matches with his bowling. You will see his value when we have fresh frontline bowlers taking the second new ball not to mention that a bowling average of 32 is very respectable in its own right.

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    No Brother_of that's just the last one i watched, and the question was has he played one...

    Modern umpire - I dont think Watson can be singled out given the failure of the whole batting order on that tour

  • Shaggy076 on February 17, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    Ramachandran Narayan; I suppose you would be very happy to see drawn matches and batting teams make a 1000 runs. The bowler has to have something and he is not the first bloke to use his tactics, watch him and you will find only 33% of the balls are short. I suggest cricket is not really the sport for you, perhaps you should watch lawn bowls as I dont think anyone is going to get hurt in that sport. Its about time the batsman had a new challenge, look at AB Devilliers he had no issues with the short ball.

  • Brother_of_Shane_Watson on February 17, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    So, just the 1 innings in 51 tests then, Paddyclark.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 17, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    @Paddyclark You mean the one when we were already down 3-0 and it didn't really matter anymore? Yeah, that sounds like Shane Watson. He scored 418 runs in that series and 176 were in a dead rubber in the last test match. He probably did about as well as Steve Smith who was still copping a ton of flack about his style of play after that series.

    Clarke and Rogers were by far the standout batsmen in that series for Australia. Dave Warner came in once we were already behind and he didn't have any time to really play himself in after his suspension, so I can't draw any real conclusions by comparing Watson to Warner. None of the other current batting lineup were involved in England. In SA against a better bowling attack Doolan scored a hard fought 27 and a chanceless 89 in the first test, Marsh scored 148 and a solid 44 in the first test of a series, Doolan came in under extremely trying circumstances in the first innings as did Marsh. They affected the series. When did Watson do that?

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    disco_bob - yes he did exactly that when he scored a ton in England last Ashes

  • disco_bob on February 17, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Has Watto ever once, one single time ever played a long dogged knock under difficult conditions, as for example Warner did in Hobart?

  • Micky.Panda on February 17, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    Agree with mondotv. Its a massive gamble not to have the all rounder/extra bowler. As soon as one critical bowler breaks down, possibly big problems. Bowlers get over worked and cannot play the following test. The smart thing to do with a break down is to bowl your important bowlers normally and find fill ins from Smith, Clarke and Warner so as not to wreck the following test chances. Remember its bowlers that win matches for the most part. Perhaps Mitch can do it again, so the gamble is worth taking.

  • Paddyclark on February 17, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    For people knocking Watto, you should bare in mind what a tight quality seamer he is. Its all well and good to dismiss his importance when you take 20 wickets in 120 overs but this is not always going to be possible. In my opinion, as much as I like Rogers, I would take him out for Watson simply for what Watson can also offer with the ball. Again, I like Rogers, but given Rogers' age and the fact that they have essentially the same batting average I would include Watson (when fit to bowl). We have another potential opener in Marsh if you wanted to (and I think we should) bat watto down the order.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 17, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    @facebook guy MJ on the field is a lean, mean wrecking machine, but off the field he is a quietly spoken, polite family man. That's more or less the perfect role model as far as most Australians would be concerned. We don't want our sporting heroes to be soft when they're playing the game.

    It's not like 8 year olds playing milo cricket are going to start banging 150 kph bouncers at each other. By the time you're old enough to do that I don't think you can blame MJ anymore.

  • venkatesh018 on February 17, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Prudent decision not to pick him for PE. This might be the beginning of the end for Watto in Tests unless he transforms himself into a No.6 batsman(which he actually is given his technique) who can bowl 15 overs in a day.

  • on February 17, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Johnson is trying to scare batsmen by short pitched intimidatory bowling which has the blessings of Allan Border, Boofy and others. Michael Holding says he should not hurt but that is what ihe is trying to do. He even threatened KP that he would throw the ball on his body. This is not cricket. Let him do normal bowling and let us see the number of wicket that he gets. Why Siddle and Harris got only one wicket between them in the first essay. Instead of asking him to be role-model Captain and Coach are instigating him and setting a bad precedent for youngsters.

  • zenboomerang on February 17, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    The biggest problem with Watto is that he regular is injured, so when batting up the order he disables team balance when not there. Batting above 6 causes continual team reshuffles which is detrimental to cohesion of the top order + selection issues.

    Actually his stats are similar to Haddin (no.7) so Watto hardly deserves to be ranked any higher than that, yet for our teams future Smith deserves the no.6 spot...

  • zenboomerang on February 17, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    @disco_bob "When we had top shelf bowlers and batters we never needed an all rounder, it was great when Symonds came through with his breakthrough Ashes ton but he was a luxury who was fun to have" - Rubbish...

    When we had 4 good bowlers we also had the 2 Waughs & when you add both their bowling stats up to the teams performance they were big contributors. Also Mark Waughs stats bat & ball + fielding are very similar to Symonds, while Watto is down batting wise in recent years to MWaugh/Symonds his bowling is superior.

  • Shaggy076 on February 17, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Australias greatest strength is our bowling line up and has enabled us to win the last 6 tests. That being said there will be a time we need to bowl 120-130 overs and when that happens we don't want the freshness taken out of our main bowlers. Watto is ideal for when this occurs because he is expendable and can do the donkey work. Marsh produced a great innings but he was also the last bloke in the team and Watto should face him if fit to bowl. If it so happens he breaks down well he has done his job saving Johnson, Harris and Siddle.

  • on February 17, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    Watson's batting in the past has been barely adequate given the fact that everyone else tried at #3 has been far worse. The most valuable thing he brings to the table is his bowling which keeps the pressure on (remember the spells Watto bowled in the two prior Ashes series where he went for about 1 RPO?) and gives the other bowlers a bit more time to rest. If he can't bowl at 100% then there's no point including him. However the absence of Watson means the team loses balance and needs to make up the bowling shortfall somewhere else. Given that Clarke is reluctant to bowl nowadays the onus must fall on other players to develop their part time bowling. Smith should get a bit more practice on landing his deliveries in the right areas and Warner doesn't look terrible with his new medium pacers.

  • Morgan78 on February 17, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    Pssht! Warner looked pretty tidy rolling his arm over and nudging 130kph and tonning up.

    Shane who?

    Jokes aside Aus needs to be able to chip in 10-15 quality overs an innings from outside the main 4 bowlers if required. SA batting is too good to expect them to be bundled out in 60 overs every innings.

  • __PK on February 17, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Anyone else notice Warner bowling a few overs of mystery medium pace? Preparing for life without Watson. Disco_Bob, when we had top class bowlers we didn't need an allrounder because there was always a Waugh in the top order to bowl medium. You need a backup for the quicks, because sooner or later, you're going to get caught on a flat deck. And Watson doesn't just spell the quicks, he gets breakthroughs.

  • mondotv on February 17, 2014, 1:02 GMT

    Well regardless of the old "don't change a winning side" mentality I think Aus probably are desperate to get a fit Watson back into the side. Ryno (and I'm a huge fan) is only ever a ball away from breaking down with those suspect knees, so imagine going into a test match with Mitch bowling short spells only, Siddle and Ryno and no backup pace option. It's a gamble - it paid off at SSP but it won't work every test match. In the past Aus had options like Waugh and Martyn and even Ponting at a pinch - decent 120k + bowlers who could hold an end up (well Waugh was prob a little better than that). Unless Watson can stay consistently fit maybe it's time to give Henriques a go. The uncertainty that continually surrounds Watson's fitness regularly upsets the team balance.

  • MinusZero on February 17, 2014, 0:59 GMT

    Watson is not now and has never been a test quality player. Hopefully this is the end of the obsession Australia have with all rounders. If you have the best batsmen and bowlers, why do you need someone who does two things half as good?

  • disco_bob on February 17, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    If Marsh and Doolan both failed Watto would be back in the team because I do not believe that his niggle has not healed. I think that Lehmann is not wanting to embarrass Watto, (which is the right thing to do) because we definitely need another look at Dools. And Doolan also brings Bailey's enthusiasm and skill in the field back. One of those reflex catches would have been remarkable but to take two of them is extraordinary. Doolan has shown something a bit special and I'd be surprised if he does not nail himself to the no. 3 spot by the end of this series.

  • wix99 on February 16, 2014, 23:48 GMT

    If Australia can bowl out the opposition in 80 or 90 overs there is no need for a fifth bowler. The problems with managing bowler workload only occurred because teams were making big scores against Australia and bowlers had to share a workload of more than 120 overs per innings.

  • disco_bob on February 16, 2014, 23:46 GMT

    @tanstell87 it didn't work for India against England, doctoring pitches is endemic of a losing mentality. Just look at England, it just papered over grand canyon sized cracks.

  • on February 16, 2014, 23:45 GMT

    Rogers is 36. Within a year Watson can come back to open with Warner if Marsh & Doolan keep laying well. @Dravid_Pujara, pace is SA's cup of tea. De Lange bowls at 150 and took6 on his debut innings. Parnell is bowling 150. Drop slow Vernon and bad length Morne, and then we will see. Also, De Kock for Alviro, and Albie (averages 45 in first class, outbatted Duminy every match they played together on the England tour) at 6, Duminy at 7.Kyle Abbott for Robin P, Duminy at 7 to bowl spin.

  • Chris_P on February 16, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    @IndCrab & @Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist. That's progressive thinking, I am sure the ACME mud pitch & spinning pitch company has one specially ready to rapidly transport to PE by Thursday!. Great idea! Over to you, CSA.

  • Chris_P on February 16, 2014, 23:15 GMT

    @ModernUmpiresPlz. No only do I doubt he watches it, he shows the world he has no idea about either.

  • dsig3 on February 16, 2014, 23:03 GMT

    Warner can bowl a few more mediums if we need. He looked handy enough. Not too worried about Watson the walking LBW not playing. He might get Steyn back in form.

  • mike_b on February 16, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    @Front-Foot-In-The-Grave - "just one problem with your suggestion. Saffers do not doctor or fix pitches". Response to @IndCrab.

    This is why most Aust cricket fans respect how the Saffers play their cricket.Of course we want to smash 'em but at the same time we respect their attitude to the game.Play hard & fair.The doctoring of wickets doesn't help you in the long term.England prepared slow,dry,unEnglish wickets for their home Ashes.This suited Swann but hardly helped them be ready for the traditional bouncy wickets in Aust.How do the Indians ever expect to be a useful team away when they struggle to produce decent fast bowlers?Who would want to be a fast bowler in India? Of course Indian fans think we doctor wickets in Aust.Well we don't.They are often naturally bouncy and fast.We never changed them when we had to face the Windies in their prime, even if it meant being hammered in 3 days at Perth.We didn't make turners to suit Warne.We'll see how the Indians go in Aust next summer!

  • Shaggy076 on February 16, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    disco_bob; Before Symonds came through all of Hayden, Martyn, M Waugh and Ponting regularly bowled a couple of overs. We always had someone available to relieve the pressure of the main 4. Lets face it in that time we also had the most reliable spinner in history who you could lock in for 30 overs + in a day. Lyon is good but not that good. Watson has two tons and an 80 from his last 6 tests so his batting is not as weak as people suggest, when fit he is a very good bowler. Id play him if completely fit.

  • OneEyedAussie on February 16, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    Watson's had it pretty good for a while. He's been able to come straight back into the team because there hasn't been six batsmen unarguably better than him for quite some time. Now it looks like his long stretch of lacklustre performances with the bat will come back to haunt him (even though his form since the India tour is not that bad).

  • ShutTheGate on February 16, 2014, 22:16 GMT

    To the Watto supporters.

    Can you please name an innings where Watto batted at the top of the order and set up the game for Australia in the first innings? Like Marsh in the first innings @ Centurian or Smith's ton @ the WACA.

    I think Watto has been in the side long enough to be picked based on results not potential.

  • Shaggy076 on February 16, 2014, 22:13 GMT

    I think if he can bowl he adds important flexibility to the team. Marsh was the last in and should make way for him if he is fit to bowl.

  • ShutTheGate on February 16, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    @ Disco-bob - I agree re Watto, we should save his fitness for ODI and T20.

    I thought it was great to see Doolan come in at number 3 when the ball was moving around and being careful with what balls he played at which gave us an opportunity to re-group and build partnerships. This is contrasted to Watto who would come out get 20 odd and then try to drive balls well outside of off and get caught in the cordon.

    If Watto does come back int he side I think he should play at number 6 and there is no way he'll get picked ahead of Smith.

  • Peterincanada on February 16, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    @disco_bob How right you are. When the attack had McGrath Gillespie Lee and Warne no all rounder was needed. Watson has not shown that he is test class with bat (low average ) or ball (lacks the stamina to bowl 20-25 overs per innings). When Flintoff was so successful in 2005 we decided we needed one but 06-07 showed we did not. And Kallis was given a battering by Mitch in 2009 so he would not have made a difference either.

  • on February 16, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    Like Boof I think I'd rather have Watto fully fit than half cooked. It will also be very instructive to get another look at Marsh and Doolan side by side. I was highly surprised at the composure shown by both of them at Centurion. Not sure if this is down to the calming influence that Lehmann has bought to the side but I want to see if these guys can repeat that great calm under pressure, rather than the hurried, fidgety, unsure approach we've seen from the likes of Hughes, Ussie and others in recent times. Whether that was also down to the prevailing environment under Arthurs is up for debate, but regardless, Doolan and Marsh showed us a lot last week and with Watto not yet 100% i'd prefer to go unchanged. Lets not forget, we are still in the process of building a team here and will be for a little while yet, if we can gain an insight or two on fringe players now it will make replacing guys like Rogers, Haddin and Harris over the next little while a whole lot easier.

  • ddrath on February 16, 2014, 21:35 GMT

    Sorry to say this... but Lehman should have NOT been given the place when Simon Katich scored 100 in Sri Lanka after his injury..... so he wouldn't have his this 27 match career ended on the spot before it become 27 tests!! This not the way to handle seniors... Watto was former Vice Captain and scored hundreds in Aussie summer...just because he didn't bowl he is out of the XI.

  • kensohatter on February 16, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    Darren Lehman is spot on. Watsons inclusion has always been a bug bear of mine but was necessary in a previously weak australian side. The side 2years ago needed a 5th bowling option and Watson, when fit, could provide that and some useful batting. His main problem though is attitude. Small things like is inability to rotate the strike which effects grafters like rogers or his inability to go on and score hundreds after making 50s. Or the fact he goes missing at votal times in a game or wastes reviews when he is clearly plumb lbw. That he tried to claim specialist batsman privilidges just because he found some form and wanted to not get injured did him no favors either. Dont get me wrong as an ODI or 20/20 player he is an asset I just think his time in test cricket is done given we now have a batting line up thats young and needs developing and a very good bowling line up that doesnt need the safety of a 5th bowling option. Lastly if an allrounder is required its time faulkner got in

  • disco_bob on February 16, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    When we see Rogers out early twice it becomse crystal clear why we need someone like Doolan at no. 3, because Hughes is going to come in at no. 1 soon and we don't want him playing scared, knowing that 1 for not many automatically becomes 2 for not many. Not only that but the Proteas have more pride and talent than England, they will be hurting a lot and so Doolan will be facing a wounded worlds best attack who have a lot to prove and the series at stake playing at home. If Doolan can survive the examination he will surely get then he's our no. 3 for the next 6 years.

  • PFEL on February 16, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer, sorry mate but Watson isn't even in the top 8 or 9 batsmen in Australia.

  • on February 16, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Watson is one of the best all rounders of the world but Australia should maintain the winning XI at the 2nd test.Shaun marsh would have been the hero of the match if not for mitch&doolan also showed great composure on his debut.If they do make a change,then maybe Pattinson can be brought in for harris,who was struggling a little bit in centurion.that is if at all they want to make a change

  • disco_bob on February 16, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    When we had top shelf bowlers and batters we never needed an all rounder, it was great when Symonds came through with his breakthrough Ashes ton but he was a luxury who was fun to have, but there was no hand wringing when they decided to dump him. It may look like the SA team have fallen apart without Kallis but does anyone really think the carnage would have been much less without him? Watto is an ODI player only, it suits his style and his temperament. As an ODI specialist he can be a match winner. Groom him now for the ODI world cup.

  • disco_bob on February 16, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    Watto has a diplomatic niggle, I knew Lehmann could do it, you beauty. I can't believe he's the highest paid cricketer in Australia. Watto looked useful while we were trying out Cowan, Khawaja, Quinny, and the rest, but now the final 11 is firming up Watto is not really Test quality even when fit he does not have the temperament.

  • swauzzie on February 16, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    @ IndCrab Why? Why in the world would you want to make à mud wicket? Mud wickets are only for countries that can't make à real cricket wicket! So they use mud instead! In this part of the world they understand that à cricket pitch is to have GRASS not mud or clay or dirt etc.

  • on February 16, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Henriques was picked on the tour as cover for Watson but his non-selection indicates that the selectors took a punt on picking the batsmen they liked rather than opting for a selection to maintain the team balance. I found this rather interesting - the need for a fifth bowler is seen to be obviated by having a dominant bowling attack lead by Mitch Johnson.

    Since its hard now to drop either Doolan or Marsh, if the team keeps winning then Watson won't be forcing his way back in the side for this tour.

  • on February 16, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    Watson should rest, considering the T20 world is just around the corner. he should nurse his injuries and should be back as an all rounder as he is known for.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 16, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    SA should try to prepare spinning tracks and use their spinners to win this series. Otherwise, I don't see any hope. Pace is not their cup of tea. If they prepare another pace friendly track, the series is gone. Simple as that! Steyn is no Mitch. Morkel is no Harris. Philander is a joke. SA should see the signs that their batsmen are no good at facing bouncers and that SA pacers are not effective and so prepare pitches accordingly. A friendly advise from India. Cheers...

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on February 16, 2014, 19:28 GMT

    @IndCrab - just one problem with your suggestion. Saffers do not doctor or fix pitches.

  • IndCrab on February 16, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    Prepare Traditional Indian Wicket and use Tahir as your secret South African weapon. Styen is a fantastic exponent of reverse swing. Tactic vs Moustache pace

  • on February 16, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    There are so many Watson haters and I honestly don't know why. With Kallis' retirement he is probably the best all-rounder in the world, with a batting average of 36 and bowling of 31.

    I think he should come into the team as soon as possible. Doolan and Marsh were magnificent in Centurion but take a guy like Marsh who averages 35 against domestic Australiam bowlers against Watson who averages 36 in Test against the world - AND can bowl.

    And what happens if SA score 700 runs in Port Elizabeth? The bowlers will get fatigued without an all rounder. Watson is a very good player who has unfortunately been plagued by injury his entire career. People should be less derogatory about a guy who has won the AB medal twice through said injury.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on February 16, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Interesting comments. I am a Watto fan but a couple of things mean he will probably sit this one out.

    The missing pieces of the puzzle for Aus have been quality 3 & 4 batsmen and having found them they are unlikely to discard them. Also with MoJo in top form an extra bowling option seems surplus to requirements. And even when fit Watto's maximum contribution without injury seems to be 8-10 overs per innings.

    But, injury and loss of form are not unknown and Watto's time will come.

  • crickketlover on February 16, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    I agree with coach. Watson is good only for IPL. I think Aus test cricket is fine without him.

  • ZkAneela on February 16, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    Well as a South African fan i will hope Aus pick Watson even if he can bowl in place of Doolan coz it will give SA a good chance of coming back into the series.His balling will not hurt SA neither his batting.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 16, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer The problem with Watson for me is how he played the game. He's great when he can hit out with freedom but when the bowling is tight and the pressure is on and there's a bit of swing or seam he looks like a fish out of water, plonking out the front pad and playing all around it. Doolan and Marsh just LOOKED a lot more substantial than Watson does in those types of first innings situations, Doolan got out for 27 in the first innings but he faced a lot of balls and took the shine off it, and Marsh scored 148 runs. On that nipping pitch we've all seen what Watson would do, he's had SO many chances to prove himself and he's failed a lot. If he can bowl then sure, he has a place, but purely as a batsman? I can't justify that.

    Shane Watson: 51 tests, 4 centuries, avg 36.33

    Shaun Marsh: 8 tests, 2 centuries, avg 37.92 (If this is proof of failure, then what is Watson?)

  • M-UMAiR on February 16, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    In my point of view, AUS should play same 11. Watto should be only for ODI & T20. AUSSIES plz change your mind. You should not focus on senior, your focus should on be six batsmen, one wk and four bowlers but not any allrounder in every test game. All-rounders should be in ODI & T20 game. We want AUS ranked one in all three types of cricket. Darren Lehman & MJ Clarke please carry on. We LOVE you AUSTRALIA. Our one universal truth "AUS is a king of cricket". We salute you AUSTRALIA.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on February 16, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    Boof is a lovely bloke, but he makes far too many illogical statements. Watson, despite his disappointing stats, is Australia's second best batsman, given the way he can take on fast bowling playing authentic pulls and drives. To say that he will be considered only if he bowls is ridiculous and just because the team won, it does not mean that all the xi players are overnight legends who turn into undroppables. And if a winning xi is not to be changed Bailey should not have been dropped after the Sydney test.

    P.S. I am not a Bailey supporter

  • jonesy2 on February 16, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    watto has to somehow prove that he isn't just going to get injured straight away again if he is to be considered as harsh as that is for such a great player

  • footy_99 on February 16, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    When he can bowl, he'll have to be included. Even in Australia's dominating opening test win, you could plainly see his value. Lyon bowled 13 overs in a row to let the South African batsmen off the hook in the 2nd dig while the quicks were rested. There's no need to ever bowl Lyon for nearly that long on anything but the most outrageous turners if you have a decent allrounder to back him up.

    But until he can bowl, it is very hard to justify picking him purely as a batsman. Doolan and Rogers have earned their spot in the 2nd test.

    I also agree with a previous poster re: Steve Smith. Hopefully the off season is really spent honing his bowling. If he can get some consistency going, the 4 pronged pace assault of Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Pattinson, with occasional support from Smith and Watson, is a legitimate proposition and a truly frightening prospect.

  • jonesy2 on February 16, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    there is simply no way they can select him. unless he is 110% fit he cannot be considered. and that comes from him constantly getting injured.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 16, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    @kkk999: Horrible Idea. Watson is NOT a frontline bowler. That would mean going into a test with only 3 frontliners and an allrounder with no spinner?? Suicide. Especially if two of them are injury prone. Watson is not so good that he can waltz into the team at all costs, Lyon is guaranteed to take more wickets than him.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 16, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    It's funny that people are saying "Watto should play incase Ryano gets injured." It's not as if Watson is fit as an ox himself! I'm a big Watson fan and have been an advocate of him being very much in the side. However, his spell out of the team has opened my eyes a bit. I heard Stuart Clark say he would drop Doolan for Watson because he is in the top 6 batters...

    Is he? Warner in under 30 tests already has more centuries than Watson has had in 10 years! Steve Smith in less than half the test Watson has played has as many centuries, Rogers has 3 already in 12 tests, even Marsh has 2 already in 8 tests and Doolan was just a whisker away from one on debut and showed composure that I had hoped to see from Watson but am now doubtful he ever will.

    Watto's gotta miss out.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 16, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    @kkk999 Did you actually read the article? Watson isn't ready to bowl yet. If he's not ready to bowl why would you replace anyone in the team with him? All the batsmen deserve their place in the team before he does based purely on batting. The only value Watson has is in the test team is that he can bowl as well as sort of bat, and if he can't bowl he has no value to the team whatsoever.

  • lillee4PM on February 16, 2014, 14:46 GMT

    Send Watson home to play Sheffield Shield, he is excess baggage on tour. Drop Bucky Rogers for PE and open with Warner and Hughes, and keep the rest the same.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on February 16, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    Rogers has the same number of centuries as Hughes in less than half the tests. Chris stays. Age is only a number. As long is that person is producing, as Rogers was the highest run scorer of the 10 ashes tests, he gets picked. The team needs old heads like Rogers. Good to hear Watson may not be picked. It should be the case of if he wants to play test cricket again, he has to earn it the hard way. Shield runs and wickets plus proof of being injury free. And then only if Doolan's form drops off

  • on February 16, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    "Ambush" suggests a degree of luck and sneakiness - nothing of the sort at Centurion. Try surgical strikes and comprehensive and superbly executed plan of attack. Forget the focus on the pitch, too. Both teams batted on it. And coming up is a spinning wicket where Australia already have three selected players who can bowl spin - Lyon, Clarke and Smith - better than anyone in SA. Talk of preparing a flat track negates SA more than Australia. Watson must, 1. prove his fitness beyond any doubt before he 2. is selected because he is needed. New Test and SA are proven fighters but I'd rather be in the Aussie corner.

  • balajik2505 on February 16, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Good decision. You don't tinker with a winning combination. Anyway Watson is not that good that he should displace someone who has done well, viz. Doolan. Maybe OK if he is bowling, but right now he is not.

  • on February 16, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    @dan otool

    you questions rogers spot for watson after he just tonned up a few weeks ago ? leave watto out build a decent side!

  • kkk999 on February 16, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    @modernumpiresplz: replace him instead of marsh and doolan!!! who were the stars from the centurion test??... if port elizabeth has some turn.. then its fine to play lyon. but i would definately play watson in the test

  • cloudmess on February 16, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    Australia were almost a laughing 8 months ago. Now look at them. It just shows how much having the right coach does affect the team - Mitchell Johnson is no Jeff Thompson c1974 coming from nowhere, he's been playing test cricket for 7 years, he obviously just wasn't handled well in the past. The fact that Watson no longer gets in just as a batsman also tells of the improvement.

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    South africa should try shaun von berg as spinner,certainly better then robbie

  • PrasPunter on February 16, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    @ModernUmpiresPlz , I would also have Dave Warner and Smith try out their leggies, an option SA doesnt have. For sure, Clarke will go for this. The few overs Watto is going to fill can duly be done by Warner and Smith, atleast at PE, where they have a greater chance of picking a scalp or two. Think we are fine for PE !! Hope to...

  • on February 16, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    Dan O'TooleLess than a minute ago The only spot that SHOULD be in question to allow Watson to return is Rogers. For all his post-Swann Ashes success, his double failure shows that he probably isn't the complete opener that he seemed in the latter stage of the previous home series.

  • on February 16, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    @heathrf1974 Paul Harris has retired bro

  • tanstell87 on February 16, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    South Africa should prepare sub-continent wickets to negate Johnson factor & play Tahir but it comes with a risk as Lyon is skillful spinner.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 16, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    If PE turns, which is should then SA should go back to Tahir or debut someone from Domestic cricket. Tahir is inconsistent but at-least he can actually spin the ball. In a recent FC game he took a lot of wickets. Robbie Peterson would never make any International Test Team in the world. I hope his days as a Protea player are finished.

    Aussies are in such a strong position at the moment, they can do what they want. Personally, I would have taken Watson back, but if he is not 100% fit then its not worth it. Their strategy of only using specialists is working perfectly.

  • 214ty on February 16, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    Lehmann has it right. Cannot change a winning team. Besides Doolan looks much more like a batsman than Watson. He puts his body behind the ball, has a strong defense and plays straight. We can expect some good scores from him in the future. I think that Australia has the ideal team now to win a test match. As I previously mentioned, Watson is better suited for one day games; look at his record, how many centuries does he have as a test player? Test batsmen from No 1-6 have to be regular century makers. However, if its imperative that Watson plays, he needs to replace Rogers.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 16, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    @kkk999 Do you actually watch cricket? PE is the one pitch Lyon must absolutely 100% play on in this tour. Not that he shouldn't play in all the matches but this is the most likely wicket where he'll get proper turn. Watson would either replace Roger, Marsh or Doolan. Those are the only options available, and none of them look particularly appetizing. Not to mention that if he's not fit to bowl he has zero value to the team as it stands right now.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 16, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha If someone can help Steve Smith land his leggies in the right place 85% of the time without it being detrimental to his batting it would be incredible for the team. At the moment he probably lands about 25-30% but when he lands one they are seriously dangerous. Flight, drift, spin. I really don't think it's going to happen, but theoretically it would be a huge boost.

    Warner's medium pacers didn't look too bad either, bit of work on the wrist position for a bit of seam and a bit more swing and he'd be close to what Watson bowls, he's not a whole lot slower and the 1.5 runs per over they scored off him and his line and length were all very reminiscent of a short Watson burst.

  • heathrf1974 on February 16, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    I think Port Elizabeth takes some spin (I'm an Aussie so I'm not positive) which will be interesting. It might be an idea for Paul Harris to play for SA instead of Peterson if he's available.

  • on February 16, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Fitness is always the issue with Watson. It will be good for him to retire from the tests, so that he can play limited overs cricket for another 2+ years probably

  • kkk999 on February 16, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    "HARD TO FIT HIM WHEN YOU ARE WINNING"... does lehmann know who he`s talking about??... watson`s a class player even if ur winning 5 test in a row he needs to be playing in the 11... i would definitely play him in port elzbth. instead of lyon

  • TheBigBoodha on February 16, 2014, 12:08 GMT

    I have always thought that Watson has serious mental issues with his game. Never seen any player in world cricket give his wicket away so many times and so predictably. How many times does he get out in the last over before a break!? It is beyond belief. It's true though, that his bowling is very valuable. Australia need a plan B for when Harris breaks down. You can't win a test with three bowlers, as we saw in the Adelaide test, not even when you are miles in front. Steve Smith or Warner need to get up to speed with their bowling, just in case.

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 16, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    I agree that Watson doesn't need to be rushed back in. He can take the whole series off while they are winning this well. He can be in contention once someone starts failing. Rogers was the worst of the Aussies in this test so perhaps Watson can take his spot if he continues to fail.

  • pat_one_back on February 16, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    What a position Lehmann is in, Marsh & Doolan have seriously come through for selectors and Watto looks unlikely to even get a look in now. Yes! The Aust attack is light without a change seamer/cutter but to see genuine top order batsmen facing SA is refreshing and proving rewarding Watto needs to look at the likes of young Smith for a reminder of how he once earned a top order role and note how Smith is converting his ground out 50's. This Watto spell will be a great opportunity for Lyon to step up and take on an additional role, assuming MJ leaves anyone any scraps that is...

  • steve48 on February 16, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    Aussies won't change team, hopefully Rogers will be kept faith with for a while yet; age is just a number when you are fit, and I reckon his calm professionalism is helpful to Clarke in an otherwise fiery unit! South Africa must leave out McLaren for a batsman, don't know enough about their soon options to comment, other than Tahir too expensive for a 4 man attack + Duminy.

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Proteas should try shaun von berg as spinner or even go back to tahir,they might play parnell in P.E, doubt they gona play robbieP,watto for rogers

  • on February 16, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    This is positive news as an Aussie supporter I think. We dont need Watto's bowling, and as someone who only recently got his 4th century from 95 innings, well I think we need more from a number 3. Especially when he is apparently well past his batting prime. This was the case before Doolan and Marsh had their great respective innings. All things told, there is no room for Watto in the test team.

  • JoshFromJamRock on February 16, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Watson's Test career might be halted for while (or a long time). I mean just look at it:

    Warner: Pace setter, 2nd inn destroyer and a bowling option- he's in form. Rogers: Hard fighter who almost always sees off the new ball for the middle order - he's in form Doolan: Excellent debut, great temperament and excellent fielder - he's in form. Marsh: Excellent return to Tests and good attacking instincts - he's in form. Clarke: He's the captain of course (an excellent one too) and a bowling option - he's in decent form Smith: Excellent form, consistent, great fielder and bowling option. Haddin: Great keeping form and dependable batsman - he's in form Harris: The most skillful bowler in the attack - he's doing his job. Johnson: The most deadly in the world - he's definitely doing his job. Siddle: A workhorse who is guaranteed to take wickets - he's doing his job. Lyon: A terror for left-hand batsmen, great containment bowler - he's doing his job

    Watson might need to stick to ODI and T20s

  • Macker60 on February 16, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    Dumisani Victor Masaka You can also pencil in the Duminy off breaks vs Smiths Legbreaks, However don't right of Harris on Port Elizabeth Decks Remember he is a Adelaide Boy and Handle those conditions quite well.

  • featurewriter on February 16, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    Anyone who doubts the importance of a good coach to cricket need only look at the difference in performance under Arthur and Lehmann. Arthur had dumped Johnson and Watson - Lehmann brings out the best in both. Being a good coach isn't just about strategy and development, it's about player management. Good job, Boof!

  • on February 16, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    i think hughes should play in place of rogers.no point going with 36 old lad u have to think of ur future also....

  • on February 16, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    THis is a good thing for Australia. Doolan looks in fine form. He has shown more intent than Watson has in my opinion.

    Anyway the PE test will be decided by who has the better spinner and which pace bowlers can bowl well on flat surfaces.

    This leaves only Steyn, Johnson, Lyon, Siddle and Peterson as potential game changers. Philander's record on flat surfaces is horrible, Mclaren's record on flat surfaces doesn't make much good reading, and Harris doesn't look like he can do much damage either.

    Clearly Lyon is a class above Peterson, so I expect Aus to win because of him specifically. Johnson can fire bouncers whether the pitch is flat or seaming. Steyn is capable as well.

    But this test is all about Lyon vs Peterson. Simple as that. (Lyon wins).

  • Webba84 on February 16, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    At nine down ... when you're seeing blokes dive, I like. Best advice for any cricket team on the planet.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Webba84 on February 16, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    At nine down ... when you're seeing blokes dive, I like. Best advice for any cricket team on the planet.

  • on February 16, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    THis is a good thing for Australia. Doolan looks in fine form. He has shown more intent than Watson has in my opinion.

    Anyway the PE test will be decided by who has the better spinner and which pace bowlers can bowl well on flat surfaces.

    This leaves only Steyn, Johnson, Lyon, Siddle and Peterson as potential game changers. Philander's record on flat surfaces is horrible, Mclaren's record on flat surfaces doesn't make much good reading, and Harris doesn't look like he can do much damage either.

    Clearly Lyon is a class above Peterson, so I expect Aus to win because of him specifically. Johnson can fire bouncers whether the pitch is flat or seaming. Steyn is capable as well.

    But this test is all about Lyon vs Peterson. Simple as that. (Lyon wins).

  • on February 16, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    i think hughes should play in place of rogers.no point going with 36 old lad u have to think of ur future also....

  • featurewriter on February 16, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    Anyone who doubts the importance of a good coach to cricket need only look at the difference in performance under Arthur and Lehmann. Arthur had dumped Johnson and Watson - Lehmann brings out the best in both. Being a good coach isn't just about strategy and development, it's about player management. Good job, Boof!

  • Macker60 on February 16, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    Dumisani Victor Masaka You can also pencil in the Duminy off breaks vs Smiths Legbreaks, However don't right of Harris on Port Elizabeth Decks Remember he is a Adelaide Boy and Handle those conditions quite well.

  • JoshFromJamRock on February 16, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Watson's Test career might be halted for while (or a long time). I mean just look at it:

    Warner: Pace setter, 2nd inn destroyer and a bowling option- he's in form. Rogers: Hard fighter who almost always sees off the new ball for the middle order - he's in form Doolan: Excellent debut, great temperament and excellent fielder - he's in form. Marsh: Excellent return to Tests and good attacking instincts - he's in form. Clarke: He's the captain of course (an excellent one too) and a bowling option - he's in decent form Smith: Excellent form, consistent, great fielder and bowling option. Haddin: Great keeping form and dependable batsman - he's in form Harris: The most skillful bowler in the attack - he's doing his job. Johnson: The most deadly in the world - he's definitely doing his job. Siddle: A workhorse who is guaranteed to take wickets - he's doing his job. Lyon: A terror for left-hand batsmen, great containment bowler - he's doing his job

    Watson might need to stick to ODI and T20s

  • on February 16, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    This is positive news as an Aussie supporter I think. We dont need Watto's bowling, and as someone who only recently got his 4th century from 95 innings, well I think we need more from a number 3. Especially when he is apparently well past his batting prime. This was the case before Doolan and Marsh had their great respective innings. All things told, there is no room for Watto in the test team.

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Proteas should try shaun von berg as spinner or even go back to tahir,they might play parnell in P.E, doubt they gona play robbieP,watto for rogers

  • steve48 on February 16, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    Aussies won't change team, hopefully Rogers will be kept faith with for a while yet; age is just a number when you are fit, and I reckon his calm professionalism is helpful to Clarke in an otherwise fiery unit! South Africa must leave out McLaren for a batsman, don't know enough about their soon options to comment, other than Tahir too expensive for a 4 man attack + Duminy.

  • pat_one_back on February 16, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    What a position Lehmann is in, Marsh & Doolan have seriously come through for selectors and Watto looks unlikely to even get a look in now. Yes! The Aust attack is light without a change seamer/cutter but to see genuine top order batsmen facing SA is refreshing and proving rewarding Watto needs to look at the likes of young Smith for a reminder of how he once earned a top order role and note how Smith is converting his ground out 50's. This Watto spell will be a great opportunity for Lyon to step up and take on an additional role, assuming MJ leaves anyone any scraps that is...