Australia in South Africa 2013-14

Watson to replace Doolan or Marsh

Daniel Brettig

February 24, 2014

Comments: 149 | Text size: A | A

Darren Lehmann speaks to Shane Watson, Centurion, February 10, 2014
"As long as he's bowling overs and he's fit, we would love to have that extra bowler," Darren Lehmann said on Shane Watson © Getty Images
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One of Alex Doolan or Shaun Marsh will make way for Shane Watson provided the Australia allrounder proves his fitness. James Pattinson and Jackson Bird will also push for recalls ahead of the decisive third Test against South Africa at Newlands, following the hosts' resounding victory in Port Elizabeth.

Major contributors to Australia's victory at Centurion, neither Doolan nor Marsh could add much at St George's Park, where both were dismissed cheaply in each innings. Doolan hung around marginally longer than Marsh, who made a pair that gave him the unflattering tally of six ducks in his past 11 Test innings.

The coach Darren Lehmann said he was eager to return Watson to the team, leaving the selectors to deliberate on who should make way for a match in which Australia must find a way to banish memories not only of Sunday's defeat but also their razing for 47 to lose the dramatic Cape Town Test of 2011.

"As long as he's [Watson] bowling overs and he's fit, we would love to have that extra bowler," Lehmann said. "We'll have to wait and see how that comes along. He seems all right, batting doesn't seem an issue. Hopefully he'll be able to bowl.

"At the end of the day, if we have to fit Shane Watson in and someone misses out, it will be really unlucky. It depends on whether we need the fifth bowler or we don't, and we'll have to wait until we see the wicket. And he's got to be fully fit. All those things come into it."

Watson was among a group of players who returned to St George's Park to train on what would have been day five of the Test, as forecast heavy storms did not eventuate. Others included Pattinson and Bird, the reserve fast bowlers on the tour who are now notably fresher than Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. Lehmann admitted there would be a temptation to bolster the bowling attack after Harris and Siddle showed signs of flagging under their heavy workload in Port Elizabeth.

"We'll have a look at it, velocity's a big thing for us," Lehmann said. "You certainly need pace, we've seen that with Johnson, Harris and Siddle when he's up and running he's bowling 135kph plus, so we'll have a look at that over the next few days, we'll see how they pull up.

"It'll be conditions and what we think is going to get us 20 wickets. We've got to make sure we've got the side to do that, because if you can't get 20 you can't win the Test match. And I hate draws. We don't seem to play draws anyway so that's alright."

Lehmann's quip about draws highlighted Australia's knack for extremes, though he argued this batting collapse in Port Elizabeth had been less galling than that in Durham last year due to the quality of the bowling on display. "It did take me back, what did we lose, 9 for 64 working from when we were 1-152? We weren't in a bad spot then," Lehmann said. "The pleasing thing for me is that we got bowled out, if that makes sense.

"They bowled very well and we didn't cope with it well enough so we have to improve in that area, but with their high-class bowling attack, full credit to them. In Durham we played some bad shots to lose those wickets, the disappointing thing was our first innings runs, we harp on it all the time but we have to get better in the first innings. I wasn't pleased to be bowled out, in the manner we got out we got bowled out, in Durham we played some poor shots but they were too good for us here."

 
 
I hate draws. We don't seem to play draws anyway, so that's alright. Darren Lehmann
 

Australia's poor record on slow pitches of the kind produced at St George's Park is now well established, and Lehmann said the best ways to counter reverse swing would be discussed by his batsmen before the Newlands Test began. He used the attitude demonstrated by Chris Rogers and David Warner opening up in the second innings as a starting point.

"It was our first innings batting. We didn't bat long enough or well enough, that's as simple as it gets. We weren't patient enough with our batting," Lehmann said. "If we had that patience [of Rogers and Warner] we would have made 350, 400 in the first innings and those deliveries wouldn't have got you out in the first innings because the ball wasn't reverse swinging like that. That's just a part of the great game we play. We need to talk about it because we need to keep learning how to play the game. We need to keep improving."

As for the return to Cape Town, scene of an extraordinary match Lehmann was not a part of, the captain Michael Clarke said his men could look at how South Africa rebounded from Centurion as an indicator of what was possible. "Probably the same way South Africa got over it after Centurion," he said. "I said last time we were here I wished there was a third Test match being 1-1, so now we've got that challenge.

"Cape Town is a magnificent place to play cricket. Generally when the sun's out, it's a good wicket, and when it's overcast there's a lot of hard work to be done for the batters. So it's going to be a challenge no doubt about it, but it's exciting. What we're seeing now is two teams pushing extremely hard to have success, we're trying to challenge the No. 1 team in the world in their own backyard. So we know how difficult that is and we're excited by the challenge."

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 4:08 GMT)

Cannot believe Watson is going to get another chance,if Australia field first what is the bet he will break down yet again(getting quite boring). And of course it will be Doolan who gets the chop, lets face it Tasmanian's have never been welcome since the man with the moe (Boonie) played have they Bill Lawry. Another curly one I heard they could rest R.Harris why would you playing for the series or does that not matter any more as long as we put up a good show?

Posted by RandyOZ on (February 26, 2014, 22:14 GMT)

You know you are terrible when Shane is replacing you!

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (February 26, 2014, 5:52 GMT)

@VivGilchrist on (February 25, 2014, 9:15 GMT): I'd rather see neither Marsh nor Watson (at least not the version of Watson likely to play at CT i.e batting at 3 and only managing to bowl a few overs). I would have preferred the selection of a squad that rewarded domestic FC performance, but that's just me.

Posted by 9-Monkeys on (February 26, 2014, 4:51 GMT)

65 in 10 innings makes for an average of 10.83' RandyOz. Hardly spectacular but better than you maths at least.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 26, 2014, 4:33 GMT)

Newlands is SA's best pitch for spinners. Has always been that way. Nathon Lyon may well have a big role to play for Aus. He could be key! I'm more worried about him than Johnson!

2 key components at Newlands: spin and swing, with seam off the pitch close behind.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 26, 2014, 4:11 GMT)

In his last match at Newlands, Watson took 5/17 in SA's batting collapse. Watson could prove to be a headache for SA again. Like it or not, he can swing the ball, which the rest of the bunch are not much good at. I'd take him over "Duck Pond" Marsh any day.

Debate about their batting is academic, Neither is any great shakes, and should be relied on, but Watson can add much needed bowling strength. It seems obvious to me, & I don't even want Aus to win.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 26, 2014, 4:02 GMT)

@ disco_bob now believes "I think it is safe to say the Marsh experiment is over."

Here's an oddball stat for you Bob. Shaun Marsh has scored a duck - zero, nada, nothing, every 2.5 test innings he has played. That average is worse that of The Phantom himself. Yes, Chris Martin scored a duck once every 2.89 innings. That does seem hard to believe, but it certainly suggests the Marsh experiment has run it's course.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 25, 2014, 23:23 GMT)

It wont be a change of thinking or strategy at all by Australia - the intention was always to play Watson who only missed through fitness. The bowlers will not be changed unless there is a niggle. I think although a lot of people are talking down our bowling performance in the first test but there was a lot of quality especially early until worn down by the grind (Watson lessens the grind). There was a lot of balls that could have got wickets on another day ie Elgars prods to the leg gully off Johnson. The South Africans showed incredible discipline and need to be commended. They played an exceptional match. On another day we could have picked up those early wickets and easily have won the test. Dont change a thing from the original plan, this team won the first test and the series is still on. Can't wait for the last match.

Posted by finncam on (February 25, 2014, 20:25 GMT)

Can't believe Watson the batsman is being hyped up. The only significant contributions he's made to the batting all summer have been when there was no pressure. Under pressure to make runs when the Aus bowlers haven't been successful, he's almost as weak as Marsh. Another talent that is given far more due than he deserves.

Posted by Chris_P on (February 25, 2014, 19:48 GMT)

@Andre117. 39.1 is a poor average? Interesting take, I would suggest you don't play cricket or haven't tried it at a serious level if you think that is poor, but you got every right to post what you think no matter how left field it is. FYI, Marcus North hadn't played cricket for an extended break due to the horrific death of his brother, Cooper's form in first class didn't deserve consideration, nor Cowan's while Maxwell had, at the time of selection, ordinary form in first class cricket. White had form along with Hughes. I have seen Doolan bat on difficult tracks at the SCG a number of times & he showed me enough to consider selection as he really applied himself in tough conditions.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

Australia should replace doolan with watson .. Watson he is a great player. Shaun marsh ,yeah he is inconsistent ,but he deserves another chance. Clarke should play 4 and shaun marsh should play at 5. Australia should replace ryan harris ,with james pattinson and give a break for siddle and they should play jackson bird.1.Warner 2.rogers 3.watson 4.clarke 5.marsh 6.steven smith 7.haddin 8.johnson 9.james pattinson 10.lyon 11.jackson bird.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 25, 2014, 14:48 GMT)

If it comes to a choice between Marsh and Doolan then it has to be Marsh who goes. Doolan was scratchy, but he still shoed guts. He only scored 5 but batted for an hour odd, he tried to make it work and he is mentally stronger than Marsh.

Over an extended period, i think Doolan will reap better rewards.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 12:52 GMT)

The test match at PE was a virtual inversion of the one at Centurion. Despite what the knockers and little chirping birdies say the Australian victory against the Saffas rates as much better as the reverse defeat due to being the away team, ranking differences and losing the toss; and the scoreline is 1-1 each by a large runs margin and not 2-0 SA each by an innings. Still, moving on. It was always going to be a tough ask to fill the middle order with two newbies against a formidable bowling outfit but that is academic now. Most likely Marsh has to make way for Watson to strengthen the batting a touch and lessen the fatigue on the bowling outfit. On the bowling front it is obvious that they are slipping a little and Harris is accumulating knee issues. He's not 100%; if he can't get fully fit in time the right call is Bird over Pattinson just because Pattinson is more wayward. Bird as fresh blood + Watto taking up the bowling slack will be fine.

Posted by ygkd on (February 25, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

141 81 18 44 0 0 3 0 11 3 0 148 44 0 0 - these are Marsh's career test innings in order. His ability to not bother the scorers is considerable. In fact, with any more ducks to his name, could a Marsh not then be upgraded to the status of "Pond"?

Posted by VivGilchrist on (February 25, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

@OneEyedAussie, I'd rather see that then -

Marsh c Smith b Steyn 0.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

@Beertjie, all good points my friend... I think the lateral movement we will hopefully see at Capetown is all that our bowlers need to get back into the wickets. I would not change our attack at all. If there is movement then those three guys are our best at exploiting it. Even Steyn and Morkel looked flat at times at PE, certainly until the ball started reversing in the last innings they must have been wondering where the wickets were going to come from.

On the batting side I'm sure we can put together match winning scores, but batting first will be a big help, maybe even crucial. Clarke is the only guy in the top 6 that hasn't made a score in the series to date and for me that is a good sign.

Getting AB and Hash early is going to be a big key for us. I am hoping Alviro will come back into the SA side as opener as I reckon that gives us a quick pathway into the middle order, with he and Smith not firing at all it certainly extends us an opportunity, we need to take it!

Posted by gmsjgmsj on (February 25, 2014, 7:10 GMT)

Unless Aussie batsmen curb their impatience and instinctive stoke play, it is going to be tough for them to bat SA out of the match. Forget having bowlers to take 20 wickets. No one doubts Australia not to do it.

Posted by Beertjie on (February 25, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

Well, it's about time MC won the toss. This can, however, prove to be a poisoned chalice. There'll be something in it initially. Can the top order mostly survive till lunch? If they can, it's game on. Conditions will ease and there will be little signs of reverse swing for SAF (according to the curator). Also there'll always be something in it every morning. The bounce will not be too low, but nothing for Mitch to get too excited about. Now it's up to the Aus. batting. Can they post a decent total against a four-pronged pace attack? If they can, it's game on. Time to stand up and no place to hide. Two changes reluctantly: Watto for Dools and Bird/Patto for Rhino. Keep it tight with the ball. Lyon to pick up vital wickets (another five-for?): a real team effort or accept defeat graciously. Time for MC to get a decent score to help post the kind of first innings total Boof talks so much about. Are you lot up for it? SAF have their tails up and it is going to be tough but it can be done

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:38 GMT)

22, 24, 23, 10, 6, 10, 6, 23, 17, 19, 1 - Clarke's recent scores after the 2 successive 100s. He has basically dozed off once the rest started performing. It's not good for a leader to be taking things for granted. Smith, Haddin covered a lot for Clarke's failures.. Marsh just scored a defining century last test and there's talk of dropping him already? I do not understand trying players out for short durations of time. It neither helps the team nor the individual. Invest in some players, once you've done that trust them and watch the approach/attitude and performance.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 25, 2014, 6:17 GMT)

Hoping for Clarke to win the toss at-least this time. If we lose it, unless we bowl them out for less than 200 which is highly unlikely given that a similar wicket is expected at CT, we can kiss good-bye for the golden chance to beat the world's best test-playing team-by-a-mile away from home. No other team has come this close to beating SA in SA in recent times.

Posted by Protears on (February 25, 2014, 5:56 GMT)

Make no mistake the rain threat on Monday saved Australia from what would have been another marathon grind until tea on Day 4. If not for that Australia would have spent another 130 odd overs in the field and faced a barage in the evening session.

Tailoring slow wickets, is that what you call a track that Australian bowlers got nothing from? Steyn again shows why a guy with 60 tests and a guy with 70 tests have more than 100 wickets gap between them and why Steyn is among the greats at this stage in his career and why Mitchell Johnson is hot then very cold. Dale Steyn doesn't need to aim for your head to be dangerous, ask Brad Haddin, Clarke and Smith. Even Philander is chipping in with massive wickets on craft and guile. It comes to skill sets, at Centurion we were caught snoozing, at PE it was more of what was expected.

Posted by Andre117 on (February 25, 2014, 5:47 GMT)

I'm still mystified at how 28-yo Doolan, who scored 391 Sheffield Shield runs at a poor 39.1 was picked over Marcus North (has test experience), Tom Cooper (who is younger, has an excellent ODI record and is in excellent form) and a number of other players with more runs than him incl. Cameron White, Hughes, Maxwell and Cowan. Can Australia show the same turn-around that we did? I doubt it very much especially with the crowd being cannibals. We also have 8 wins and 3 draws there since our last loss in 2005 (against Aus).

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (February 25, 2014, 5:37 GMT)

Shane Watson 10 (30) LBW b: V.Philander.

I am expecting to see that twice in the next week or so.

Posted by jain84 on (February 25, 2014, 4:34 GMT)

I suggest replace both Marsh and Doolan with Watson and Pattinson..Including both will bolster the bowling and Aus tail is very much capable with bat.

Posted by austentayshus on (February 25, 2014, 4:27 GMT)

I think watto shoul dbe picked for doolan .. Not that i want watto (not so proper test batsman in the test tem ) But its like having another bowling option.

My tema for 3rd test 1)Rogers.2) warner.3)Watson 4) Marsh 5) Clarke 6) Smith 7) haddin 8) Siddle 9) pattinson 10) Johnson 11) Lyon

I would drop haris too not too popular decision but pattinson gives us extra reverse swing option

Posted by ygkd on (February 25, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

It is a tough decision, splitting Marsh and Doolan. How about not bothering with this decision? Make another one instead. Bring in Phil Hughes as well as Watson, then you can have two replacements and neither of Marsh or Doolan will miss out to each other. Seems fair.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 25, 2014, 4:04 GMT)

Whether a ball swings or not is entirely due to the condition of the ball and the skill of the bowler, overcast conditions is the most ridiculous furphy in cricket. This has been well studied and fully documented by, of all people NASA, who have published a paper on the aerodynamics of a cricket ball. Google it. Therefore it looks like Cape Town will be a good batting wicket, which does not bode well for us.

Posted by azzaman333 on (February 25, 2014, 4:02 GMT)

If Johnson, Harris and Siddle are fit, there's absolutely no reason to change the bowling lineup. One slightly off match doesn't make them bad bowlers. The batting still leaves a lot to be desired particularly in terms of consistency, but even there the only change should be Marsh for Watson and any associated reshuffle of the order. Doolan deserves the full series to prove himself, whereas Marsh has been proven to be incapable of consistent performance at test level.

Posted by James_Murphy on (February 25, 2014, 3:41 GMT)

Doolan or Marsh? Toss of the coin. Probably Marsh should go. Looks shakier than Doolan though Doolan needs to bat more aggressively. Marsh is injury prone so there is always that risk and a very nervous starter. I'd go for Bird over Siddle. I think Siddle is struggling a bit at the moment, as is Harris and we can't have both in the team, we need to mix it up a bit. Pattinson would be a better option however his control is a worry. If conditions are over cast, having Bird and Watson come onto bowl after Harris and Johnson will offer no relief. Warner, Rogers, Doolan, Clarke, Smith, Watson, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Lyon, Bird.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 3:30 GMT)

Rhino and Sidds are tired - no doubt about it. It was on display for all to see in the last Test. I'd rest (not drop!) them both and bring in Patto and Bird. Fresh blood needed. Be brave, Australia! Mitch and Patto can provide the speed and aggression, while Bird can tie down an end. Can't choose between Doolan and Marsh, Boof? Don't bother. Hughes for Doolan and Watson for Marsh. Four changes is a lot, but a much better side with all bases covered. Problem is, I can't see them doing it.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 25, 2014, 3:19 GMT)

Let's just hope that there is no pitch doctoring this time.

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (February 25, 2014, 3:11 GMT)

This is a selection no brainier surely. Marsh was picked because his 'head was in a good space'. After a pair his head must be in a space somewhere up near Neptune . The last time he scored consecutive low scores in a test match his head left the solar system all together rather than stay over the ball and he was almost there in PE. Despite what has been said about his dismissal he was out to a leg stump half volley in the second innings. As far as the top order dismissals go in general why did Harris last so much longer than the top order considering he was batting in worse light, under more pressure with the ball reversing at its worst? I think the top order's problems extend way beyond reverse swing.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (February 25, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

Bowling... the temptation is to rest Harris because there's always the thought that he's an older fast bowler who has been injury-prone in the past. Then there's the other side of the coin: he's an extremely good, older fast bowler and why drop him when he's still fit? Personally, out of the three in the team I reckon Siddle loses effectiveness the most when his pace drops (largely because Harris and Johnson are faster to begin with). Personally, out of Pattinson and Bird, I regard Pattinson as the more hostile, attacking option. With Watson coming back into the team, there's another bowler to allow Harris to be used in short spells and rested sufficiently.

I'd go with Watson for Doolan and Pattinson for Siddle. Watson to bat at #3 because that scares me less than the alternatives (Smith or Marsh doing it). Or do they put Marsh in at #3 as a sink-or-swim?

Posted by gdevilliars on (February 25, 2014, 2:29 GMT)

Australia should drop half their team, out of their batsmen only 1 averages over 50 which looks like it will be back in 40's before long, next is Warner in the low 40's the rest is in the 30's. This needs to be addressed now because these players are simply to old to be patient with i would rather see a team full of 21 and 22 year olds getting beat than watching this Australian side it's humiliating. Why is Johnston never pushed up the order at times he seems like the only Australian batsmen willing to take on the opposing bowling attack, even if he only scores a fiery 30 or 40 at no 5 it will give the team a boost.

Posted by andy2142 on (February 25, 2014, 1:32 GMT)

Why does Watson has to come back? Everyone knows he breaks down after bowling more than 4-5 overs. This is just a pathetic excuse (about the extra bowler) to somehow include Watson at the cost of Marsh or Doolan. What will happen to the confidence of those two in the future when either of them is dropped after one bad test? It's not as if Watson will blast a century on comeback.

Posted by Humdingers on (February 25, 2014, 1:00 GMT)

@Ashokdmightyindian - mate, sorry but there is no way you can rank India no.2 after being whitewashed and losing in NZ comprehensively. 4th at best. And yes - this is about Watson, Aus, SA - so maybe this post needs to be in another forum.

Posted by Humdingers on (February 25, 2014, 0:58 GMT)

Watson is a better Bat then Doolan or Marsh anyway. He also offers a bowling option, not to mention slip fielding. I don't think his place in the team needs to be questioned - just where he bats. He should bat at 6 or 7 - not Opening or 3. Take on the 2nd new ball and either build or hit out aggressively which he can do. Pattinson for Siddle any day. Nothing against Siddle but if the pitch is going to be low/slow, Pattinson offers way more.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 0:42 GMT)

I can't wait for 3rd test '

Posted by Bbbarti on (February 25, 2014, 0:41 GMT)

Whoever won the 1st and 2nd Tests is completely irrelevant now the series is tied it comes down to the final Test Match plain a simple.

Posted by shetto on (February 25, 2014, 0:40 GMT)

If the selectors choose Watson he will need to bat down the order - his batting average of 36 is way too low for a top order batsmen. Batting at 6 or 7 would be more than handy. Batting at 3 or 4 would weeken an already fragile batting line up. I think Watson will be found wanting against a world class bowling line up like South Africas - he needs to bat lower down the order so he can bat with freedom.If the pitch prooves to be a pacemens pitch, I would drop lyon and bring in another fast bowler and use Steve Smith as the 5th bowler and replace Alex Doolan or Geoff March with Phil Hughes to try and revive the batting.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 25, 2014, 0:33 GMT)

Now everybody misses Watson. It's funny reading these comments, because they are almost unanimous in that Watson's got to comeback into the team, yet when he IS in the team he gets bagged to no end.

I told you this bloke would be missed more than you think he will when he is gone.

Posted by phermon on (February 25, 2014, 0:28 GMT)

Yippee, Shane L.B.Watson of the half-forward prod. This should seal the series in SA's favour!

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 0:21 GMT)

get over urself indians that is aussies section so stay out of this

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 25, 2014, 0:19 GMT)

@Ashokdmightyindian I think Ross Taylor does stamp his authority on games. He just doesn't get enough exposure against top level test teams which is unfortunate. Amla should definitely be on that list as well, he's a big part of why SA have such a destructive batting lineup. He may get outshone by AB but he's still consistent and has the ability to make big scores.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (February 25, 2014, 0:19 GMT)

Time to get Ryano into surgery on those dodgy knees. He looks a shell of his best and is probably hurting the team more than helping now. He also is a big liability of breaking down and leaving Aus a bowler short.

Marsh should never have been in the squad, regardless of his 148. This is no different to his FC career, one good score followed by extended periods of complete rubbish, at least watson gets 20-40 runs in his extended periods between good innings. 6 ducks in 11 tests is abysmal.

Watson and Hughes in for Doolan and Marsh. (Doolan isn't ready for the big stage yet). Pattinson in for Harris. Pattinson troubled SA in Australia before breaking down if he's fully fit and firing i see no reason why he shouldn't be back in the side.

1. Rogers 2. Warner 3. Watson 4. Hughes 5. Clarke 6. Smith 7. Haddin 8.MJ 9 Pattinson 10. Siddle 11. Lyon

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 25, 2014, 0:18 GMT)

@Gurdit: IS all well and good to call Warner '9 lives' but as he put it himself, you can only control what you can control. Not his fault that SA's fielding is absolute rubbish, they have dropped well over 10 chances, wouldn't be surprised if it was 20.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

Aussie supporter here and I must say Rhino is overdue for some rest/knee surgery, he has bowled brilliantly and has somehow played 7 tests in a row! No one would have expected that at the start of the summer with his history of injuries. Watson if 100% fit must come in for either Marsh or Doolan and Pattinson in for Rhino. Siddle stays because he is the teams workhorse and can bowl many overs, also picks up handy wickets. But like many have posted already this attack is all about Mitch, he is the spearhead and if he fires everyone around him seems to step up a notch too. Can't wait for the deciding test lets hope both teams are 100% fit and it is good weather for all 5 days. May the best team win. Go the Aussies!

Posted by Roshan_P on (February 24, 2014, 22:59 GMT)

I would put Watson in for Marsh, and move Clarke up to 4 and have Watson at 6. Then he can occupy the allrounder role that Oz use him for.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 24, 2014, 22:20 GMT)

If Watson is brought back please bat him at 5 or 6 not at 3.

It's been well documented that Ryan Harris needs knee surgery, I hope that he is honest with how he pulls up and if his knee isn't 100% then he'll sit this test out. I'm a bit concerned with bringing Pattinson into the team as he hasn't had any first class cricket since returning from injury.

If the wicket is slowish maybe bird would be effective?

Posted by CrikiLeaks on (February 24, 2014, 22:14 GMT)

Great coach. Poor batting cost us this test. Failure to bat some time in the first innings put too much pressure on the bowling - we very much saw that here. If you bat like that you kill your attack that allows you to dominate for the 3rd and 4th innings. @Gurdit Singh - hahaha... I think we'll keep Warner for the India in Australia series all the same.

Posted by AlSmug on (February 24, 2014, 21:34 GMT)

If Australia are to turn it around they need to tighten their fragile minds, Clarke needs to be more patient with the bat and the same goes for most of the Australian batsmen. Siddle bowled to leg side and to short to often , he needs a rest, Watson to come in at 3 . Lets hope south africa have the guts to produce a fast wicket and see if they can beat the Aussies on a real mans deck, i doubt it , I bet it will be a slow boring deck

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

To avoid a career-ending brain injury coupled with multiple leg fractures and broken ribs, Watson should avoid any stretching pre-match. No, but, seriously, the best current test team (world) is:

1. Amla 2. Kohli 3. Clarke 4. Taylor 5. McCullum (c) 6. De Villiers (wk) 7. Anderson 8. Neesham 9. Steyn 10. Johnson 11. *Ajmal / Philander / Boult / Southee (*depending on pitch)

Sorry @Ashok and co. I would include Dhoni, Pujara, Jaeja and an Englishman (perhaps Stokes would fight it out with Anderson / Neesham)... but I had to include the best players only... lolz. Also I like a mix of form and class, so new guys with great talent are ok with me.... Pus my line-up reminds all those lefties that right-handers can still kick butt now and then! My top 6 are RH.

Posted by BobCo on (February 24, 2014, 21:19 GMT)

@Leggie, I don't agree. South Africa were criticised plenty before the game, and even on the 1st day, about the tepid state of the pitch. There were two differences though. Firstly, this was an exception to the rule in South Africa, not the norm we see in India. Secondly, some of the fast bowlers, notably Morkel, got life out of it in the 1st innings. Thats one thing that doesn't seem to happen in the subcontinent enough. I'm not defending the BCCI or the South African board. We could go into some depths on the different reasons we think that happens, but its well trodden ground for all of us.

Posted by mixters on (February 24, 2014, 21:18 GMT)

PHIL HUGHES?????? anyone remember this guy, he is in cape town but they seem to have forgotten him. Bet the saffas remember him

Posted by Chris_P on (February 24, 2014, 21:14 GMT)

@ Leggie. Really, no true Aussie fan would argue about the pitch that was prepared. It may not have been slow, but it certainly wasn't "doctored", & SA had every right to prepare any pitch so long as it was Test Class standard. As for our selections, @JonoMakim, I agree with one change, but as you know from previous posts, Marsh holds no prospect for me. 9 Centuries in 12 seasons, 6 ducks in past 11 innings, his first test century, did us more harm than good as it gave him the chance to remain in the team longer than he should have. I have seen both Marsh & Doolan bat in Shield games at the SCG, on difficult pitches, & Marsh has never looked the goods, while Doolan has applied himself on several occasions in tough batting conditions. If Watson can't bowl, then I would bring in Pattinson, but otherwise, agree with you.

Posted by Remember438 on (February 24, 2014, 21:07 GMT)

SA didn't have to specifically tailor a slow pitch...St Georges has always been a slower pitch...and if you noticed, their fast bowlers still did the job on it..not like it was to their advantage compared to Aus, in fact, Aus had a recognized spinner.

Posted by IndianDragon on (February 24, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

The poll suggests that we love to see Marsh bat, don't we?

Posted by Leggie on (February 24, 2014, 20:22 GMT)

While I'm happy to see SA come back to level the series and make the III Test that much more interesting, I would've loved to see South Africa victorious on a surface that had more pace and bounce. The Indian team is often criticised when such kind of surfaces are made and am mightily surprised that till now no one has commented or criticized SA's tactics of preparing a slow wicket for this match.!! This double standard in world cricket is what creates the likes of BCCI.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 20:09 GMT)

Why are there Indians discussing the Indian cricket team on an article regarding Australian selection issues?

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 19:59 GMT)

this is an article about Shane Watson coming back into the team. What's it got to do with Indian cricketer's

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 24, 2014, 19:57 GMT)

Really tough decision... Good luck Boof! Both Marsh and Doolan showed what they can do in the first game, but like the rest of Australia's middle order neither could weigh anchor and hold/graft an innings in the second. Watson, aka Mr Marmite (or is it Vegimite in Aus. @Biggus?) would add a new dimension to the bowling no doubt, and his slip fielding is commendable (although those catches by Doolan in Game 1 = awesome!); but his batting is nothing short of frustrating: blasts a respectable knock here and there, but has he ever held the team together in a tricky innings like was needed in Game 2?

Don't think Australia should panic and go for wholesale changes in bowling department. Johnson and Harris cover the pace; Siddle and Lyon cover the rest, and there are also the part-timers like Smith, Warner, Clarke - and then Watson if he plays. If the pitch is dead, mix it up instead.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 19:18 GMT)

@Ashok I've seen Pujara bat and he's excellent but I don't think he stamps his authority. Thats something De villiiers and Kohli do. For a no. 4 in case of quick wickets you've to counterattack which he does at times. Have a look at 2013 england series (in england). In auckland you must have seen he made 45 odd in a total of 100. Pretty much sums up NZ batting and how well Rosco proves himself.

Posted by Ashokdmightyindian on (February 24, 2014, 18:40 GMT)

@Andrew Amsden I included Jadeja in the list following Ajmal because he has only few test match experience in abroad and has shown great deal of qualities a spinner in abroad must have. In second test in SA where every pace bowler was struggling, Jadeja not only controlled runs at an impressive average of 2.3 but also took a 6 fer. And in NZ where there was no help for spinners at all in the second test Jadeja was brilliant in his 12 over spell giving away only 10 runs. created a lotta pressure on batsmen which eventually lead them to commit mistakes. S o don't say unless you have completely analysed the situation. @shane bond yep Am extremely sorry mate . I completely forgot ROSS TAYLOR. he is pretty good test batsman but I won't head him ahead the likes of pujara and kohli.I would though redefine-ABDV KALLIS PUJARA KOHLI TAYLOR AND CLARKE. to be completely realistic you must feel the difference of stamping the authority and the confidence between them. Ross, I feel lacks that!!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 18:16 GMT)

@Ashokmightyindian Mighty delusional aren't we? Ross Taylor has been averaging 50 and Tim Southee averaging 24 for past 2 years in batting and bowling respectively.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 18:10 GMT)

Ashokdmightyindian what are you thinking? India don't have any spinners of quality at the moment, Ashwin and jadeja are only good for t-20 and one dayers not test matches. The latest team to deal with so called spinners is New Zealand and neither have been any productive. As bad as England are right now they dealt with what so called spinners in India to win that series. Spinners need to be good at home and away, since Harbhajan and Kumble India have not had a quality spinner

Posted by bzzd on (February 24, 2014, 17:53 GMT)

This is goood for SA because it means that Australia will only have 1 review batting and bowling. Watson can be counted on to waste a review, especially when batting.

Posted by Ashokdmightyindian on (February 24, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

Well after a bit of analysis after recent concluded match I presume the following-SA has undoubtedly the best bowling attack. One bad doesn't mean anything to them.Any BEST team can suffer an upset. list of best pace bowlers are-steyn,philander,Morkel, junaid, johnson,Irfan,broad and to some extent harris.Among the rising crops I would have- Shami ,parnell, Bhuvneswar and Boult when it comes to spin India undoubtedly has best. But the list won't be same--Ajmal, jadeja, Herath, narine and aswin & lyon on the same spot!! when it comes to best Batting line up -India is still a few inches ahead of SA. the llist could be-India, SA, AUS and Eng. But the list won't be headed by the Indian anyway-ABDV KALLIS PUJARA KOHLI AND CLARKE. Overall conclusions are-SA IS BY MILES THE BEST. For the second spot I would keep both India and Aus on the same . The reason is where India hasn't been consistent in pace attack, Aus is no good in their top order with an average middle order attack. Eng on 3rd.

Posted by Thefakebook on (February 24, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

Well Oz loose one match and think of making so many changes keep Watson out of the team for now let him fully recover. Harris can be rested though he's played too many test for guy with so many injures at his age what is he 34 now?Get Bird in,he and Ryan are almost same bowler.

Posted by TrumperLives on (February 24, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

What is more pathetic is that Australia were thrashed by ten men. Parnell only bowled 8 overs in the first innings and was unable to bowl in the second. For Clarke to heap praise on South Africa's bowling attack is obsfucation at it's worst. Their attack consisted of two part-time spinners, and three seamers. Clarke is being intellectually dishonest. This collapse was worse than Chester-le-Street. His cookie-fortune wisdom is wearing thin.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 16:47 GMT)

As a SA supporter I would hate to see the following Aussie team in CT: Warner, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Watson, Henriques, Johnson, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon. We have respect for Siddle and he gives his everything, but he looked tired. I have no doubt that it is rather difficult to win a test match with only 4 bowlers. S. Smith, as "a part timer", got an easy wicket, but it was that of a player on debut. Hughes may make ugly runs, but he does not give his wicket away easily. I attended the first test and was impressed with Doolan. In the second test he looked a total different player! Perhaps the moment was too big for him as it was only his second test. His catching at forward short leg is of course worth at least 50 to 60 runs. But whoever says what : AB de Villiers is the key wicket for the Aussies to get. You get him cheaply and we will be in trouble! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 16:38 GMT)

It will be a big mistake to drop anyone from the present Aus. team. it's a winning team ! if Watson fail, they lose again, then what ? Drop some-one else ? Make changes ? from what to what ? Darren, you are talking too much ! Stay put.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 16:20 GMT)

Give Harris a rest now.He has worked tirelessly for 6 months.He played 11 conscecutive tests thats a lot for him.Bird/Pattinson now should have a go.And Clarke also should start winning tosses

My Team for CAPETOWN

1)David Warner 2)Chris Rogers 3)Alex Doolan 4)Shaun Marsh 5)Michael Clarke 6)Steve Smith 7)Brad Haddin 8)Mitchell Johson 9)Jackson Bird 10)Peter Siddle 11)Nathan LYon

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 16:18 GMT)

Talk about knee-jerk reaction! Even if both failed in the second test, at Centurion Marsh scored 148 and 44 while Doolan scored 27 and 89. Together they scored 308 of Australia's 628 runs from the bat, i.e. half. If anyone needs dropping to make way for Watson it's Clarke himself.

Posted by ZkAneela on (February 24, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

Now we all know SA are no.1 test team in the world for a very good reason.The way they comeback in this test(not only this one,overall ability of coming back hard after defeat) is just unbelievable coz I have not seen any team for the last decade which has such remarkable capability.A proud SA fan from pakistan.

Posted by Diamondback on (February 24, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

So I want to hear from Ian Chappell who said that there was no way SA could come back at the start of the 2nd Test. He said that MJ had scarred them and that he would get under their skins the 2nd time around too. I think I do not like his views anymore. Should have waited and seen. Too quick to conclude!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

@PrasPunter, that is exactly the point, we did have a great summer and to win the first test here was a great result too, so why make wholesale changes after one loss? I just don't get it. Bring back Watto, as he played a role in the Ashes and hang onto Marsh who played a great knock at Centurion. Other than that I see no reason for change. As good as Australia has gone this summer they were always going to lose a test somewhere along the line. SA beat us fair and square here, but to make four changes to a side that also beat SA just a week ago is crazy.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

Harris looked all in and well below his normal pace, but as hes what, 33/34 his days are numbered, he does not seem the bowler he was when his pace declines. Pattinson i would expect to take his place.

Posted by Proudly_SA.47 on (February 24, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

@ZkAneela It was sunny in the morning and started to rain just after noon. It hasnt been raining heavily, it's been drizzling on and off all day since noon, but cloudy and overcast. It is now just after 5pm local time. So had the match continued, South Africa would have had up until lunch to bowl out the Aussies.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 24, 2014, 14:58 GMT)

XI for Newlands -

Rogers, Warner, Marsh, Clarke, Smith, Watto, Haddin, MJ, Patto, Bird, Lyon. Given Siddle and Harris a break. Won't do worse if we can even have Henriques in place of Lyon. That will strengthen the batting a bit as well, depending on the nature of the wicket.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 24, 2014, 14:50 GMT)

He hates draws. But at the cost of a loss ? I don't buy this argument at all. But that's generally the way we play - remember Calcutta 2001 ? We set to chase 375 odd in 75 overs , which we could easily have settled for a draw and who knows what would have happened in the next one !! Anyway, the best thing for DL is accept that there indeed is a problem. We had a great summer but that's history now. We just lost a test match fair and square !! Cape Town waiting for us !!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

All we hear down here is Darren Lehmann this, Darren Lehmann that, like he is some sort of messiah. Lets get one thing straight - Australia played a poor england, MJ was in the form of his life, yet DL gets the credit.

What Lehmann needs to do is to tell these players to bat according to the situation. Perhaps he hates draws, but at the same time, it might teach the batsman to not get out playing the worst shots i have seen, or succumb to spells of bowling like here at PE or Durham. I would rather a fighting draw/loss then a loss which had stupidity written all over it.

"Hey, we are AUS, we scored 5 runs an over but we got all out in 50 overs, but we scored way faster then SA did" Darren, if your any good, get that sort of mentaility out of the group and make the batsman value their wickets

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (February 24, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

@PutMarshyOn - Watto would have made a huge difference on this wicket. He is a very controlled line and length bowler who has the knack of taking wickets (or building pressure). His bowing would have been an asset. His batting is of more contention - if he fired then there would have been some handy quick runs but i suspect he would have struggled like the others against the bowling of Steyn - he certainly showed his class. Interesting thing is going to be the new order if Watto comes back in. Does he go into 3 and will Clarke stay at 5. Personally i think Clarke should go back into 4 with Smith at 5. We need Clarke to stand up and lead - he is still our best batsman so would be nice to see him lead from the front.

Posted by Clyde on (February 24, 2014, 14:04 GMT)

I don't think Australian coaches have the imagination to know how good a batsman has to be to play Tests. They coach anyway and the batsmen come out only as good as the coach can conceive they can be and they average a miserable 40 or so, max, in First Class cricket. I would rather see a lot more losing of Tests until someone comes along and tells the coach to get out of the way and let him make a decent average. Of course, if there is not enough First Class cricket, then write the whole project off. It's over.

Posted by ZkAneela on (February 24, 2014, 14:04 GMT)

Just wanna know how is the weather in P.E today,doesnt matter now but just wanna know how much crucual it was for SA to wrap things yesterday.anyone from PE or near PE???

Posted by PutMarshyOn on (February 24, 2014, 13:56 GMT)

How much difference would Watson's bowling have made in PE? You wouldn't ask him to bowl many more than 10 overs in an innings for fear of injury, so Harris & co. would have bowled about 3 overs less each in the SA 1st inns.

These are the times we live in though, so he will play.

Let's give JP & JB a go, Siddle & Harris need a rest. JB is similar enough to Stuart Clark to make me wonder if he might cause SA some problems. Sure it is a gamble but you never know. In any case a 2-1 loss against this mighty fine SA team is no disgrace.

Posted by inefekt on (February 24, 2014, 13:33 GMT)

Harris is clearly struggling with his bad knees. Marsh is, has been and will always be a very ordinary batsman in the long forms of the game. I suggested to people that he might be good for one test but he'll fail miserably in the others. And why is there no talk of Hughes, a guy that scored 80 in his first test in SAF and then backed it up with a century in each innings in the next? Of course then the coaches got hold of the guy and ruined him but he's come back strong of late scoring lots of runs at domestic level. Watson adds more with his bowling than he does with his batting, he took 5 wickets in that famous 47 all out test match and he gives Clarke the opportunity to rest his strike bowlers. So Doolan out, Watson in. Marsh out, Hughes in. Harris out, Bird or Patto in.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 24, 2014, 12:53 GMT)

Would love to see Pattinson and Watson given a go. I would drop Doolan and maybe Harris who seems to have lost his mojo. Harris has been disappointing this series and unfortunately his career as a test player maybe reaching an end.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:52 GMT)

Is Darren Lehman being serious? So Stuart Broad didn't dismiss Australia with a superb spell of fast bowling? Jimmy Anderson didn't get a 10 for in the 1st test to win it? Swan didn't bowl them to a massive loss at Lords. If the thickhead is still in charge when the Aussies come to England next time he had better get ready to watch his team get dismantled & bowled out on a very regular basis. It probably won't count as the wickets won't be prepared to suit his bowlers just the home team. That's how it works mate, get used to it astfu.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:48 GMT)

I would fly over voges and north. only decent batsman we got that's making runs. seriously Marsh has got to go he makes a hundred once a season and that's it. ive gone off Watson, he also scores a big score once in a blue moon and has major problems with his front pad. We just don't have batsman scoring piles of runs on a consistent basis anymore. there are some good batsman out there like maybe burns and Lynn, maddinson, silk, Maxwell, cooper but gee they all struggle to keep their averages above 40 in 1st class cricket. Lynn is injured again, was hoping to see him play the remainder of the shield season and hopefully see him get a couple more centuries and some good scores to really put himself forward. IDK im out of ideas with our batting. Bowling is pretty good, good depth.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

I think Watson needs to come in for Doolan and Clarke needs to bat at 4 with Marsh batting at 5. You need your best batsmen in the top 4 in test cricket as they set up the innings for the lower order.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (February 24, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

Marsh has the ability, but is mentally very weak. He doubts himself, and basically self-destructs after success because he doesn't believe in himself. You can't have him and Watson in the same team.

Posted by Cricmaths123 on (February 24, 2014, 12:26 GMT)

My 11 for the third test : 1. Warner 2. Rogers 3. Doolan 4. Clarke 5. Smith 6. Watson/Hughes 7. Haddin 8. Johnson 9. Siddle/Bird 10. Harris/Pattinson 11. Lyon

Posted by 2929paul on (February 24, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

I can't quite understand the Australian love affair with Watson as a Test cricketer. He is a very poor imitation of Jaques Kallis and is very over rated. He is rarely fit enough to bowl wicket taking spells, although he sometimes fills a hole as a holding seamer who goes for just two per over. He's a grumpy so and so in the field who is only any good for standing in the slips. His batting is very one dimensional and he still can't find his true position in the line up. If he were good/confident enough, he should have given up bowling and concentrated on batting. By now he might be a top class number 4/5.

That said, he's a fantastic one day batsman who can bowl a few overs to help out.

Posted by FawltyBean on (February 24, 2014, 12:19 GMT)

@David O'Brien - Doolan also scored a century in the first test ... Marsh scores once in a blue moon and most his scores are below 4 with a series of DUCKS. What makes you think he should get more chances at 30?

Posted by Proudly_SA.47 on (February 24, 2014, 12:19 GMT)

@ latecut_04 Let me just tell you and that rest of the world who are not familiar with South African pitches. In South African you get various types of pitches, depending on geographical locations. Which is why South Africa can perform on any kind of wicket and havent lost an away Test Series since 2008 in Sri Lanka. Coastal pitches, like PE, Cape Town and Durban you tend to get slower sub-continent like types of pitches, with Cape Town varying depending on the time of the year. The more in-land pitches on the highveld, like Centurion and the Wanderers that is where u will find the faster, bouncier tracks. It is as simple as that. To every one saying that South Africa prepared a slow pitch for PE to nagate Johnson. Why would South Africa do that and than go into the match with an all seam attack and no specialist spinner. We love competition out here in South Africa and we like nothing more the facing the very best, that's the only way we will become great. Australia has been brilliant, Johnson is a marvel to watch. Can't wait for Cape Town, looking forward to a great contest between two great sports loving competitive nations.

Posted by oscoli67 on (February 24, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

When Doolan walked to the middle he may as well have been carrying a banner saying "Here is total control of this game, please take it South Africa bowlers." Despite the promise of the opening partnership and being 126/1, even at that stage defeat was inevitable. What Doolan did was set the tone for the weak willed meek capitulation that followed. Lehmann suggesting that yesterday was a better performance than at Durham is absurd. suggesting that SA got them out & in England they played bad shots ..... ridiculous. He must've been out the back making the tea when Marsh, Smith & Haddin got out. Rabbits in the headlights I'm afraid, and I can't see what's going to change in the next 5 days (apart from Marsh mixing the cordial that is).

Posted by bobrod on (February 24, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

I can't believe people are still calling for Phil Hughes to be picked, and complaining about how unlucky he is not to be in the team.

He has been given plenty of chances, he has been picked and dropped 3 or 4 times. A few years ago Rob Quiney ended up sacrificing his test career to protect Hughes from the South African attack. Quiney failed in that series, then Hughes took his place in the next series against New Zealand, and still failed.

I don't care how many first class runs he's scored this season. He's always been able to make runs at first class level, but his technique doesn't stand up against international quality pace attacks. Similar to Michael Bevan, whose first class average was almost 60, but only averaged 30 in tests.

Yes, he did well in his first few tests against South Africa, but he was an unknown back then. It only took a few innings for teams to work out his weaknesses. If you ignore his first 2 tests his average is under 30.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

Watson will stick his familiar front pad right in front of his stumps again, against SA Philander and Steyn has feasted on him over and over, would rather stick with the other 2 they brought in atleast they made runs in the first test, what message are you sending to your players if they score 148 in a game make nothing the next and gets dropped bit quick I say

Posted by tinkertinker on (February 24, 2014, 11:36 GMT)

Why do people keep saying if not for johnson the aussies wouldn't have won as much recently, what SA would have won this match without steyn?

All teams are worse if their better performing players are taken out, without ian bell in england the english would have lost that ashes but so what? he was there and he did what he did and so did johnson.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

I think Doolan will miss out. You just can't drop someone, even coming off a pair, after getting 148 in their first game back in the first innings of a series against the best bowling attack in the world on a bouncy wicket.

The wicket in Cape Town you can bet will be much the same as this last one, they're not going to give Mitch any assistance if they can avoid it. Australia need swing, Watson's return will give them one swing bowler, I'm not so familiar with Jackson Birds swing skills but Pattinson is more a line and length Glenn McGrath type bowler, he'd bowl well in tandem with Mitchell Johnson I suspect but I think Harris will play unless he's too stuffed.

They should get Hilfy back if they need some swing. Personally I'd love to see Hughes open with Rogers and Warner to come in at 3 and Watson at 6 but that's not gonna happen.

Rogers Warner Watson Marsh Clarke Smith Haddin Johnson Harris Bird Lyon

Posted by latecut_04 on (February 24, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

I find it amazing no one has mentioned or is sure of the pitch which is going to be dished out for the decisive test.It will be slowish with ample bounce (similar to what we saw for second test).SA bowlers can make impact on these pitches as well as against tear away Aus quicks who sem to struggle a bit on less fast surfaces.(too early to say they may very well do swing the ball both ways come next test)BUT all bowlers do well on bowler friendly surfaces even Ind did well in Durban as against SA bowling attack which thrive on any sort of pitch

Posted by mike_b on (February 24, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

@ crh8971 - I think you're spot on about Marsh. We got lucky with him in the 1st test. He'll never be a long term option. How can the selectors possibly believe his Test career will be superior to his unsatisfactory 1st class career where, for 10 years, he's been following a century with a string of woeful efforts. He's a serial single figure scorer that breaks it with a great innings which makes us all want to believe in him. Border was the king of making ugly runs. I'd rather have 10 workmanlike innings from AB than 1 ripper from Marsh! So, Watto in for Marsh, but at no.6. Smith up to 5 as he has shown he scores 1st innings 100s. I agree Siddle & Harris need a rest. So, Patto and Bird in. Our turn to bounce back after a heavy defeat? I believe we can.

Also, Aust did chase well in Melbourne - the only test where Eng should have put us away. Buck Rogers led the way there, as he did yesterday. He needs to give the team a masterclass in how to be patient & maintain concentration

Posted by willy_upper on (February 24, 2014, 11:21 GMT)

Would love to see Pattinson get a run in place of Siddle, who looks down on pace and a bit burnt out. Marsh has got to be the one who makes way for Watson. I think Doolan looks a much better prospect

Posted by Joe-car on (February 24, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

......cont.....As for SA, I think losing Parnell is a bigger blow than some people might think. I think his left armers gave us better balance and variation that you sometimes need against a team that has a few left bats as Aus have, but I can't see who we would replace him with if he's not fit. I'd probably have Abbott in for him and the selectors will probably bring back Alviro in for De Kock. One last thing: I think when bowling against Warner we should really consinder placing a gully(maybe even2), a point, a third man and a sweeper. The sweeper and third man would be attacking options rather than defensive one as he likes getting off to quick starts and blocking off those areas would frustrate him. An off-stump line should also be pessisted with him, sooner or later he'll edge one to someone. We also need to take our chances as they come, lest they come to haunt us some day.

Posted by Ragav999 on (February 24, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

Hughes is a match winner in form and should be part of the team. Watson may get one or two wickets and 60 runs per match which won't win a game against the SA team looking at the huge margins of victory in this series so far. So Australia need a game changer like Hughes who has a chance of punishing the SA quicks like Warner did in the 2nd Test. I think Harris should be asked whether he feels 100% fit and can bowl as well as he did before the start of Ashes. If yes, then include him or else give him a rest. The bowling did a decent job. Had Australia scored 350 in 120 overs in the first innings, the bowlers would have had a good rest and the match would have been closer. The batsmen have been culpable throughout the Ashes and in the 2nd Test. Don't change it if isn't broken is the mantra.

Posted by Joe-car on (February 24, 2014, 11:15 GMT)

If Watson can't bowl then he should not play. Aus would be making a grave mistake again if they went into the 3rd test match with only four bowlers. They should play 4 fast men and Lyon. Playing only 3 fast men is a great risk because SA showed sings of being aggressive against Lyon. Granted, it was the 2nd innings and they already had a huge lead, but you need that fourth seam option and I also think Lyon will be a threat at CT given how well spinners have performed there in the past. He's also a decent bolwer too and I wouldn't drop him even if it's a green top......cont

Posted by ninjapintu on (February 24, 2014, 11:13 GMT)

Well, what I am wondering is that Doolan has that problem in the offside channel too and he can't play spin at all, so what was the point in bringing him for Bailey

Posted by Redbackfan on (February 24, 2014, 11:07 GMT)

Watson in for Marsh/Doolan won't do much for the batting line up. Watsons batting is inconsistent but his bowling is very handy if he can stay fit. No talk of Hughes getting a run is interesting. Marsh has a double failure is is likely to stay and his first class and test record is poor. Doolans first class record is average but given time could stand up. Patto should come in as he is in our best bowling lineup when fully fit and raring to go. Bird could get it to move around a bit and hopefully trouble the SA batsmen but I think they will make only one change in the bowling department. As for calls of Faulkner on here, guys he is injured! Henriques is our back up all rounder and another who is lucky to be there same as Doolan and Marsh. Pick on shield for Selectors please. No surprises for me with the batting troubles, White and North should've been in front of a few others. Lets hope Clark, Smith and Haddin step up for the next test.

Posted by RajitRajaram on (February 24, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

I see a lot of people asking for Faulkner to be in for the next test. isn't he injured and still in Oz, not part of the touring party? bit tough to make the side is he's in Tasmania I would think!

Posted by mike_b on (February 24, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

@ DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement- "without the performance of Johnson,oz are ordinary. " How is that different from the statement that could have been said after the 1st test? "without the performance of Steyn, SA are ordinary." @ GermanPlayer -why are SA fans SO sensitive about their No.1 status? Who cares what the rankings are?When Clarke claimed the Aust bowling attack was the best he qualified it with "in my opinion".He never at any point said that his opinion was fact! Besides,what sort of captain would go into a series against this SA team & not back their players,yet hope to win? Aust have high aspirations & want to be top dog.There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.What SA learnt from the 1st test is that they have to bring their A-game when playing a confident Aust.SA showed their quality in the way they regathered & realised they're not up against a popgun Indian attack. At 1-1 we have a series in the balance & more mutual respect & less bluster from all fans would be nice.

Posted by Swan_Draught on (February 24, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

What does Hughes have to do? He's a superior batsman to all of Watson, Doolan or Marsh.

Bring in both Hughes and Watson

Posted by CustomKid on (February 24, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

@ crh8971 on (February 24, 2014, 10:01 GMT the reason you can't remember it is they have rarely done it in the last 20 years. The most recent would be Punters epic @ edgbaston where he made a rear guard 140 I think it was. One of the great innings and they held on by 2 wickets. Even when AUS were destroying teams all over the world from 89-2005 they very rarely were able to do defend for a draw when it was required. THink of all those great players they had over that time, and the results were essentially win, loss, and the every occasional draw brought on by a totally dead batsman paradise ie Pakistan where Taylor made 334 or due to weather. You had Waughx2, Ponting, Martyn, Hayden, Langer, Boon, Katich, Clark, Border, Taylor, Lehmann etc etc. As I said in another post its just not in their DNA. Which is good and bad. Particularly bad when you try to make at least 400 in the first innings of this test just gone at 5 per over. They need to learn how to grind like rogers.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:53 GMT)

Amazing how Australia lose one match overseas and they make significant changes. On the other hand, India can lose test after test overseas and make no changes. I would stick with Marsh and Doolan because you have to build a team and invest in talent. They played well in the first test and deserve a bit of faith.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (February 24, 2014, 10:51 GMT)

i thought they were over all this nonsense when lehmann became the coach , replacing new batsman after 1 test ,preemptive resting of bowlers because they are supposedly tired , Watson the 'king of attractive 30's' back in test squad !! sounds like mickey arthur all over again.. they have to accept that Australian batting is a bit of weak spot and accept few more collapses until new talents come through the system , as for people criticizing warner the guy is an impact batsman but will fail a few times , he is a match winner , the problem is Aussies do not have enough solidity in their lineup to compensate for warner's failure , India had dravid vvs and sachin to steady the ship if sehwag failed , england had trott , cook and bell to compensate for KP , Aussies lack this solidity except for clarke (out of form) and rogers (not getting any younger) !

Posted by kensohatter on (February 24, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

Australias bowling started to look stale this test and whilst im usually against wholesale changes I think that we need to throw the kitchen sink at SA and give them something new to look at. Provided Pattison and Bird are bowling well and fit id bring both in for Harris who is overdue for a break and Siddle. As much as this pains me and with Faulkner out id also bring in Watson provided he can bowl for Marsh. My team for next test. 1. Rogers, 2. Warner, 3. Doolan, 4. Clarke, 5. Watson 6. Smith, 7. Haddin, 8. Johnson, 9. Pattison, 10. Bird, 11. Lyon

Posted by smudgeon on (February 24, 2014, 10:47 GMT)

The thing that sticks in my mind about Marsh: "...tally of six ducks in his past 11 Test innings." Troubling. I'd be sticking with Doolan for the next Test, maybe swapping Siddle for Bird or Harris for Pattinson (but not swapping both) - if the next pitch looks a little more seam-y, I'd definitely say Bird. I think Australia need to keep things in perspective: they were just hammered by the world's best. Hubris is good, but SA are #1 for a reason. A series win was always going to be a long shot, SA are mentally a tougher bunch than the England who toured last summer. It'd be nice for a better showing from the Aussies in the next test, though!

Posted by CustomKid on (February 24, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

@cccrider on (February 24, 2014, 9:37 GMT) I was thinking the exact same thing. Sure it was fast but stand a foot out of your crease and it certainly nullifies the LBW. The thing is that DS would just start bowling epic bouncers that would also swing at your head such is his class all at 145kms lol.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 24, 2014, 10:44 GMT)

Watson in for Marsh. Replacing Lyon is crazy talk. Harris and Siddle if they say they are fit I wouldnt replace them either. Pattinson and Bird havent played a first class game for too long and this game is too crucial to hope that they are right.

Posted by TheCricketeer on (February 24, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

@BradmanBestEver - I think the Centurion test woke the SA selectors up to the treading water thing. We have some very exciting young prospects playing first class cricket and I expect to see them playing in the next 12 months and let me telly you - SA are only going to get better when that happens. One question which needs to be answered is what Graham Smiths plans are because he is pretty essential to the side I believe. Not only on the field. It seems AB De Villiers is the heir apparent and I must concede his ODI captaincy has left much to be desired so we shall see.... An early retirement for Smith could spell a little trouble for SA.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

Aussies have to quickly regroup. And that would mean changes to the team... Both Faukner and Watson have to come in. So also Pattinson... Who goes out is up-to the Aussie selectors. May be Doolan, Harris and Marsh... Though Clarke too is lucky to be retained, being the captain.. Com' on Auusies think on your feet and come back...

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 24, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

@muki_fan , I would say yes, but Faulkner is injured and he is not available. We must play four pacers with Watto being the fifth one. One of Harris/Siddle must go . I would pick Harris ahead of Siddle. MJ, Pattinson, Bird and Harris, if Watto is not available. If Watto is in, Lyon for Bird. And out goes Marsh !!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

I would not be changing the bowling attack, they are still our best three seamers and Patto and Bird have literally played no cricket at all for months now.

I would be leaving Doolan out and bringing Watto in. Bat Watson at no.3 for mine, he was doing a good job over the ashes series and SA have not been very venomous with the new ball for mine. Doolan doesn't have the game for test cricket in my opinion, he has the right mental game but he has no ability to play forward outside the off stump.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

Replace Harris and Siddle with Pattinson and Bird.. Shane Watson for Marsh and give another chance to Doolan..

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

If Watson can bowl, then he comes in for Marsh. push Clarke and smith back up and let Watson be the allrounder he is supposed to be. Marsh was the last in, so he should be the first out. I'd like to be able to bring in Pattinson, but I've got no idea as to his form. Although it pains me to say it, I would probably "rest" Harris, he just hasn't seemed up to his usual high standards. I know he is off for clean up surgery after this test anyway, so perhaps send him early. He's a class act, and is straight back for the next test series.I'd also like to bring in Bird, but I wouldn't go making wholesale changes to the bowling unit.

Posted by rajuramki on (February 24, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

From the first Ashes test till the 1st test against SA , Johnson and company had very well hidden the brittle Australian batsmen.barring Warner and to some extent Rogers , by contributing with bat and ball . For once, they could not do it and the result is a big loss in the second test . Clark and company will have to take more responsibility and contribute with the bat so that the bowlers can focus on their main job, which is bowling .This Australian team CAN beat SA in SA.

Posted by muki_fan on (February 24, 2014, 10:15 GMT)

Out: Harris, Siddle, Marsh & Lyon(Yes, depends on the pitch)

In: Pattinson, Bird, Watson & Falkunar

Strengths batting and bowling..

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

warner was just lucky to get runs in this series.he has got out 15 times in 2 tests so far.his runs in ashes was just a fluke and every Australian batsman scored centuries against pathetic England bowling. warner is very overrated and he has a very bad attitude.warner is a t20 material and Australia has lot of talented young batsman who are better than warner.

Posted by GermanPlayer on (February 24, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

The best pace attack in the world is already talking about adding 'reinforcements'. Meanwhile the original best just took 9 wickets in a session with a bowler down. The Aussies are as funny as they come!

from the SA point o view, ill be happy to see Doolan go. He seems a very settled player and its difficult to get into his head. Marsh is a walking wicket and he already made a century so he ain't gonna score for some time to come.

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (February 24, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

without the performance of johnson, oz are ordinary.

Posted by Le_Jeu on (February 24, 2014, 10:02 GMT)

Predictable. Watson to edge Doolan out, pick up a couple of wickets and arrange a couple of LBWs for South Africa.

Posted by crh8971 on (February 24, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

From 15 test innings Marsh has 8 scores of 3 or less including 6 ducks! Both Marsh and the selectors got lucky in the first test but everything about his first class and test record suggests his failure at PE was predictable. With only 8 FCC hundreds in his career he has shown no ability to cash in on form. The quality of his good innings suggest he is mentally very weak. He has to be the one to go.

This test has reaffirmed my suspicion that whilst Australia are improving as a test team, they still have a way to go before they are the equal of the South Africans who are deservedly number 1. To me the Aussies are great front runners and have improved at putting a team away but I can't remember the last time an Aussie team gutsed it out for a creditable draw. Every opportunity they have had to stand up and fight they have collapsed with the only exception being Agar's debut test. Even then the to order collapsed meekly in both innings only to be flattered by the tail.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 24, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

Lehmann is a great coach - far better than the South African previous incumbent.

Lehmann realizes that losing a test here and there is part of the transition from a weaker team to a stronger team, which is the process that Australia is currently going through. It is the recent trend in team performance that is relevant, rather than the most recent single performance. And undoubtedly, the recent trend is up for the Aussies.

SA, India and Pakistan on the other hand are treading water, and England are on the way down.

Posted by AnthonyMD on (February 24, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

Hopefully Watto will be brought in to replace Marsh, I would like to see them stick with Doolan, he seems to have a decent temperament and I'd hate to see him mismanaged and shafted by the selectors like they have done to Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja. Marsh however, you can stick a fork in, he's well and truly done. While I am have the utmost respect for Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, perhaps it might serve the team well to give Pattinson a run and give one of them a spell. I must say I am enjoying this series immensely, shame it's only three tests.

Posted by ravi_hari on (February 24, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

I think Clarke misread the pitch for the second test. Otherwise he would have opted for an extra bowler or allrounder. If Watson is not fit Henriques should have been in. Look at how SA picked the team. They sacrifised frontline batsman for an extra pacer. Aus should have done that. Cape Town should not be different. I dont think the big three can last 5 days if they have to bowl 120-140 overs in the first innings. It is better have a allrounder. If Watson is fit will walk straight away replacing probably Marsh. If he is not ready, I wil pick Henriques. He is a decent bat and very effective with the ball. Will take a lot of load from the pacemen and will help Lyon purchase wickets as he dries up runs at one end. Clarke and Smith will move a place up in the order so that Henriques comes in at 6. If Watson is fit, he should be at 3 followed by Clarke, Doolan, Smith and Haddin. Aus should rub this off and get ready for the series decider in positive mode. I am sure they will bounce back.

Posted by 11_Warrior on (February 24, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

Autralia's world's best pace bowling attack was a joke. (http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013-14/content/story/707723.html) This one was a greater joke. (http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-australia-2013-14/content/story/720473.html)

Posted by Petesta on (February 24, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

Dan I thought you said these 4 bowlers we're more than enough after the first test? You referenced their form, but only Johnson showed he was in good form in Centurion.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:56 GMT)

On return, Pattinson will bowl better than harris and watson should take doolan's place as Marsh has the ability to push safers back... Clarke is all due to hit a double ton

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

Thank god we have Lehmann as our coach now. What a man.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

Watson ann Pattinson will no doubt strengthen the Aussie side. Harris looked jaded but he was a handfull last time around in Cape Town. The fact of the matter is that there is little to choose between him, Siddle, Pattinson and Bird. As a SA supporter I am rather weary of Pattinson as he is also a good batsman. In Adelaide and Brisbane he bowled well against SA. He then reasoned that he wanted to put the record right when his brother played that one-off test for England against the Proteas! He will be rested and keen to play. Watson will also strengthen the Aussie batting especially when he bats at six. He always takes a few wickets but, you never know whether his body is going to last five days. Can he also avoid planting his left foot? I think the Proteas will prefer the current Aussie line up.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

Marsh has had more chances, Doolan is still finding his feet!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 24, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

Watson in for Doolan for sure. Doolan led to Australia's downfall by scratching around for a 60 balls before getting out for 5 runs. Both Siddle and Harris could be replaced, they both look blown out. Selectors will probably only drop Harris for Paterson to inject some more youth and pace.

Posted by sreehk on (February 24, 2014, 9:39 GMT)

One thing that other cricketing nations should learn from Aus is that they play to win and not for a draw. This is what makes Aus the most competitive team regardless of their playing eleven or conditions. Ironically SA despite possessing huge talent, they miss the SWAGGER. It is so important to psyche out strong team like Aus. SA played good cricket to win the second test. But they should look to win 3-0 at home. Only Steyn has the aura now, but it is too much on him and it will also kill him. ABD, Amla, Morkel also have to pitch in to impose their personalities. But as a cricket lover, it is absolutely great to watch Aus V SA.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 24, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

OUT: Marsh, Harris, Siddle IN: Watson, Pattinson, Bird

Simples!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

If Watson gets green light his inclusion will definitely strengthen ozzie batting and bowling, Marsh been experienced should remain and doolan should be dropped. Further another fast bowler Pattinson or bird to be included depending upon pitch and lyon can be dropped accordingly. Clarke and Haddin need to perform with their bats if ozzie to come on number 2 rank.

Posted by cccrider on (February 24, 2014, 9:37 GMT)

Why didn't Australian batsman bat out of their crease, change things up.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 24, 2014, 9:33 GMT)

Marsh is too inconsistent as he has demonstrated time and time again. Time to go and never return. Out : Marsh, Siddle, Harris In: Watto, Pattinson, Bird

Posted by Webba84 on (February 24, 2014, 9:33 GMT)

Got a good attitude, anyway. So looking forward to the decider!

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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