The Ashes 2013-14 November 18, 2013

Watson returns to bowling crease

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Shane Watson considers himself a strong chance of resuming at the bowling crease during the first Ashes Test, the major question a matter of when. In the latter phase of his recovery from a hamstring strain, Watson took his first tentative steps towards bowling at Allan Border Field on Monday, and will build up further as the Test creeps closer to the toss on Thursday morning.

Watson told ESPNcricinfo he was keen to bowl in the critical first encounter of a series in which he will hope to play a pivotal role with bat and ball, but was also enjoying the fact he was not under pressure to be fit to bowl on the first morning of the match, in contrast to last summer when he was left out of the team to face South Africa for two Tests on the basis that he needed to bowl to earn his place.

"It was nice to be able to roll my arm over and see how I pull up tomorrow, which I'm sure will be okay, and just gradually building it up to see what capacity I'll be at for the Test match," Watson said. "Potentially absolutely [I will bowl in the Test], the great thing is the pressure's not on me to make sure I'm pushing to bowl on day one if we bowl.

"It will just depend on how I continue to go over the next few days and get a gauge on what capacity I'll be able to play. Everything's progressing really well at the moment, but I'm not putting a huge expectation on me being able to bowl a huge amount in the first innings, it is more seeing how it progresses to get the balance right between getting as close to full capacity as I can without heightening the risk of re-injury."

Australia's physio Alex Kountouris had opened the possibility of the allrounder being able to reach his top gear at some point during the match. While Watson's bowling was decidedly gentle, off a handful of steps, the sight of his return to the crease re-opened the hosts' selection options for Brisbane as they ponder the inclusion of Nathan Lyon or James Faulkner.

The hamstring strain occurred during the final match of the recent ODI series in India when Watson was moving into his delivery stride at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Watson said he was not inconvenienced by batting or running, leaving only the motion of bowling his fast medium swing and seam to be negotiated at training.

"Doing running between the wickets has been absolutely fine so far, it's mainly just the bowling aspect, how I initially hurt it, which is trying to get that perfect balance," Watson said. "If I'm not feeling it batting-wise like I did during that last one-dayer then I'm certainly confident it won't get hurt batting."

Kountouris, who has groaned and grimaced as much as anyone over Watson's litany of calf and hamstring ailments in recent years, offered an optimistic view of his recovery, noting that the fact he had been bowling consistently until suffering the strain meant less strength and conditioning work would be required to get him up to speed. This contrasted with the bowling coach Craig McDermott's view that a return in Brisbane would be unlikely, leaving Watson and his captain Michael Clarke to consider their options.

"The thing is he's only stopped bowling two weeks ago," Kountouris said. "He could just as easily have had a rest for 10 days and then come back to bowling so we're not too worried about building him up with workloads. He's going well with his rehab, he's on track to play the game obviously, he was running today, he's been running since last week. He did a little bit of bowling today so that's in the infancy but he's going well at the moment.

"He's on track to be bowling in the next week so which means he might bowl in this Test match if he keeps making good progress. He hasn't had a long-term injury, so getting him up and going again is the most important thing and really he's just got to get through a couple of sessions and then he can bowl some balls in the game. Probably not going to bowl 40 overs, but he can bowl some balls."

Watson's fitness to bowl has implications for plenty of players around him in the Gabba squad. If he is unable to fulfil the duties of the fourth seamer the position of Lyon comes under increasing threat, given the likelihood of a grassy surface due to recent heavy rain around Brisbane and the presence of Steven Smith and Clarke as potential part-time spinners.

However, a clean bill of bowling health would permit Clarke to employ Watson in the linking spells he delivered so usefully in England, allowing the pace vanguard of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson some respite while allowing greater latitude for Lyon's flighted offbreaks.

"I was batting at the time but I heard he bowled and they came out well so everything's okay," Smith said. "Hopefully he pulls up well tomorrow and can do a bit more because he's certainly going to be valuable if we can get 10 overs out of him in an innings at the Gabba. He was invaluable in England and if he do that again here it will be great for us."

Lyon possesses a fine record in the two Tests he has played in Brisbane, scooping 11 wickets at an average of 24.09 across matches against New Zealand and South Africa. Typically team-oriented, Lyon said he would be happy to bowl tightly on a surface more favourable to fast bowlers.

"That's going to have to come down to the conditions," Lyon said. "If it's turning a lot I'll be more attacking, but if it's not turning as much and if it's seaming I might be thrown the ball to do a containing and holding role so we can rotate our fast men from the other end and try to create some pressure. That's going to be game-dependent, and talking to Pup (Clarke) when and if that circumstance arises.

"I'm happy to do whatever role it takes for Australia to win a Test match. I'm all for the team, I don't care who's taking the wickets. If Ryan Harris takes five and six wickets, I take none for the game and we win the Test match I'm over the moon. I'm happy with whatever role Michael Clarke comes up with and hopefully I'll be able to take that and help get wickets from both ends."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 18, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    I think Watson is at his best when he can perform the all-rounder role, and has shown (albeit sporadically) that he can bat, bowl and field well. I think Aus. are nuts if they don't pick a specialist spinner, so Lyon should be there and he's got a great attitude: i.e. if the pitches are seamer-friendly, the spinner's role will be containment rather than attack. This applies to Swann as well, and I've already said this will be character building for him as he generally loves to attack and be in the limelight.

  • deeplongon on November 21, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    He may as well bowl. His batting was crap yesterday. What have we got to lose.

  • Optic on November 20, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    @ShutTheGate No but no but no but weren't all the England pitches all doctored for spin, surely he should have got more than just over a wicket an inning on such spinning minefields.

    If I was an Aussie fan I'd certainly want Lyon to play, along with the 3 seamers and if Watson offers anything so be it but I wouldn't be counting on it. He may become more important if Watson doesn't bowl because you want someone that can tie down an end somewhat. I know all you Aussies think Mitch is going to be the savoir but if he starts poor and good old mitch appears, you'll want someone that can keep the runs down and let Siddle and Harris rotate.

  • Optic on November 20, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    @wonderstar1 I think that what's you call reaching mate. Dale Steyn also got smashed for 30 runs in an IPL game this year, what does that prove, apart from very good bowlers can go for plenty in T20. Paneasr got smashed by Gilchrist, a great player on a absolute pancake all those years ago, not quite sure what any of that's got to do with the here and now, oh that's right nothing, but it's all you've got isn't it mate.

    It really is hilarious how many bites FFL continually gets even after these last couple of years, obvious wum wumming. Some of you really do get bent out of shape by him/her.

  • Clavers on November 20, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    @2MikeGattings

    You mean, will Watson reach number 3 in the world batting rankings in this series? At least, Mate :)

  • WeirPicki on November 19, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Watson will break down by the second test. His bowling is limited anyway.

  • on November 19, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    Watson's position in the team can only be justified if he can bowl, otherwise they will have to pick Faulkner

  • ScottStevo on November 19, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    @dunger.bob, more like Watson played musical chairs and got shuffled up and down the order, as he did when Cowan temporarily took over his role as opener. You are dead right in that it was a contributing factor as our line up has been completely unsettled for around 3-4 years. Part of that certainly is where to play Watson because it impacts the whole side - also doesn't help when all of our top 6 barring Clarke, want to bat 1, 2 or 3! If only Arthur had been as ruthless with Cowan as we've been with many of younger batsmen of late, maybe our line up would be much more settled now! Getting back to my point though, where do we play Watson. Well, that question brings so much to deliberate. Can we open him with Warner and have 2 aggressive guys at the front, can he bat in the middle order and contribute? If he opens, then we need to get rid of one of the guys wishing to bat 1/2/3 for a mid order bat. It's a tough one.

  • CricketMaan on November 19, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Walking paitents - Watto, Harris, Clarke, Patto..all form core of Aus lineup. With Patto already out, even if 1 of the first 3 break, Aus chances will go with them. Mitch won't play 5 games for sure. Neither will Lyon. Rogers and Warner might stick around and Bailey will start at Gabba but can he play 5 games? Siddle is fit and can play 5...that doesnt sound very 'healthy' for Aus fans

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 19, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Hey go easy on @FFL, the random anti-Australian comment generator he uses was busted so he had to pull them out of a hat. A hat with no facts in it. Watson should only play if he is fit to do so as an alrounder.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 18, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    I think Watson is at his best when he can perform the all-rounder role, and has shown (albeit sporadically) that he can bat, bowl and field well. I think Aus. are nuts if they don't pick a specialist spinner, so Lyon should be there and he's got a great attitude: i.e. if the pitches are seamer-friendly, the spinner's role will be containment rather than attack. This applies to Swann as well, and I've already said this will be character building for him as he generally loves to attack and be in the limelight.

  • deeplongon on November 21, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    He may as well bowl. His batting was crap yesterday. What have we got to lose.

  • Optic on November 20, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    @ShutTheGate No but no but no but weren't all the England pitches all doctored for spin, surely he should have got more than just over a wicket an inning on such spinning minefields.

    If I was an Aussie fan I'd certainly want Lyon to play, along with the 3 seamers and if Watson offers anything so be it but I wouldn't be counting on it. He may become more important if Watson doesn't bowl because you want someone that can tie down an end somewhat. I know all you Aussies think Mitch is going to be the savoir but if he starts poor and good old mitch appears, you'll want someone that can keep the runs down and let Siddle and Harris rotate.

  • Optic on November 20, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    @wonderstar1 I think that what's you call reaching mate. Dale Steyn also got smashed for 30 runs in an IPL game this year, what does that prove, apart from very good bowlers can go for plenty in T20. Paneasr got smashed by Gilchrist, a great player on a absolute pancake all those years ago, not quite sure what any of that's got to do with the here and now, oh that's right nothing, but it's all you've got isn't it mate.

    It really is hilarious how many bites FFL continually gets even after these last couple of years, obvious wum wumming. Some of you really do get bent out of shape by him/her.

  • Clavers on November 20, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    @2MikeGattings

    You mean, will Watson reach number 3 in the world batting rankings in this series? At least, Mate :)

  • WeirPicki on November 19, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Watson will break down by the second test. His bowling is limited anyway.

  • on November 19, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    Watson's position in the team can only be justified if he can bowl, otherwise they will have to pick Faulkner

  • ScottStevo on November 19, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    @dunger.bob, more like Watson played musical chairs and got shuffled up and down the order, as he did when Cowan temporarily took over his role as opener. You are dead right in that it was a contributing factor as our line up has been completely unsettled for around 3-4 years. Part of that certainly is where to play Watson because it impacts the whole side - also doesn't help when all of our top 6 barring Clarke, want to bat 1, 2 or 3! If only Arthur had been as ruthless with Cowan as we've been with many of younger batsmen of late, maybe our line up would be much more settled now! Getting back to my point though, where do we play Watson. Well, that question brings so much to deliberate. Can we open him with Warner and have 2 aggressive guys at the front, can he bat in the middle order and contribute? If he opens, then we need to get rid of one of the guys wishing to bat 1/2/3 for a mid order bat. It's a tough one.

  • CricketMaan on November 19, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Walking paitents - Watto, Harris, Clarke, Patto..all form core of Aus lineup. With Patto already out, even if 1 of the first 3 break, Aus chances will go with them. Mitch won't play 5 games for sure. Neither will Lyon. Rogers and Warner might stick around and Bailey will start at Gabba but can he play 5 games? Siddle is fit and can play 5...that doesnt sound very 'healthy' for Aus fans

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 19, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Hey go easy on @FFL, the random anti-Australian comment generator he uses was busted so he had to pull them out of a hat. A hat with no facts in it. Watson should only play if he is fit to do so as an alrounder.

  • hotcric01 on November 19, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Australian fans can argue about a lot of things.But it doesn't matter who bowls,who bats,who is the allrounder,England is going to win this series quite easily.

  • wonderstar1 on November 19, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    @FFL. In 4th Test last ashes Lyon got pietersen out in both the innings with good deliveries. Do you call that as hammering in Eng? amazing. If so then how will you call a bowler from your camp who gave away 36 runs in an over though its T20 or your spinner who was hit out of the park some yrs back in Perth? waiting for your awesome and logical response? cricinfo pls publish.

  • Mitty2 on November 19, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    Haha @shuthegate, what's worst is that Lyon's economy rate was by far the lowest out of all the front line bowlers! Good ol' FFL. It's why he has to play at the Gabba, he offers the most control and more importantly, balance and variety to the attack. There's also the small fact that just from two games there he's the third highest wicket taker for an off spinner ever at the gabba - with 11 wickets at an average of 26.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 19, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Does anybody - anybody in the world - think Watson will finish the series batting at 3?

  • ShutTheGate on November 19, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    @ FFL do you consider 9 wickets in 6 innings at an economy rate 2.56 getting hammered?

    If so then logically you must be under the impression that Bresnan got hammered as there stats were very similar @ 10 wickets in 6 innings at an economy rate of 3.25.

  • popcorn on November 19, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    This is fantastic news! With Watto bowling too, we will decimate the Poms!

  • on November 19, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    @HansonKoch - Watson might have only taken two wickets in England but he dried up the runs, allowing pressure to build up and wickets fell at the other end. There's an old adage in cricket - "it's not how many wickets you take when you're bowling but how many the team takes while you are bowling".

  • dunger.bob on November 19, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    @ usapsunil : I guess I'm one of your 'Watson haters' since I've posted a few times along those lines.

    I think the first thing is that Hate is far too strong a word. I don't hate the bloke. In fact, I think he's a very good cricketer and not a bad guy at all. He's surprisingly funny actually. .. no, it's not that I dislike him or anything like that. It's simply that I don't think he should be batting in the top 4 and it frustrates me that every time he gets injured (which is a pretty regular thing) the rest of the team has to play musical chairs at the top of the order. .. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it could even be a contributing factor into our unsettled and jittery batting of late. Not the only reason of course and maybe not even a biggish one but I don't think it's helped us much.

  • dunger.bob on November 19, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    @ Barry Glynn : "I sometimes wonder why modern players have so many muscle injuries. Perhaps they do too much gym work and not enough exercise specific to requirements, like bowling!" .. Now's there's an innovative idea. Let your bowlers get naturally fit by actually bowling. .. the simplest of all solutions but not even half hip enough to justify all the boys with degree's hanging around the team.

  • TomPrice on November 19, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Everything is certainly progressing well from Watson's point of view. He has been told he is an automatic pick even if he can't bowl. He might just decide to carry a hamstring injury for the rest of his career, or at least until the selectors next shuffle the batting order.

  • disco_bob on November 19, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    As they ponder the selection of Nathan Lyon? Shurely shome mishtake. How can Lyon not be playing. Again.

  • HansonKoch on November 18, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    Well he managed to take all of 2 wickets in 10 innings over in England, so yes Shane, by all means, give yourself yet another injury. We're counting on your contribution.

  • ShutTheGate on November 18, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Watto has been selected as a number 3 batsman and I don't think he needs to bowl to justify his position. To Chappeli's point he has the potential to be a great number 3 for Australia. The million dollar question is whether he can step up and fulfil his potential in this series when Australia need him.

    I think that Clarke will consider either Bailey, Faulkner or Lyon for the 12th man spot. Bailey as 12th man if he decides to play a bowling all rounder as well as 4 specialist bowlers, faulkner as 12th man if he decides to go for 6 batsman and a specialist spinner and Lyon as 12th man if he decides to go for 4 seamers.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 18, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    Watson will probably bowl 4 overs before crinking his neck, an injury so severe it'll put him out for the rest of the series. Have to say I am enjoying myself reading certain Australian newspaper stories today too: Lyon, just for example, got absolutely hammered by England (Pietersen esp) last Ashes, and by India before that, so to have him touted as any kind of a threat is quite startling...:o

  • landl47 on November 18, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    I think Australia has to take the approach that any overs Watson gives them are a bonus. If they're relying on him to carry part of the load they're asking for trouble.

    He's a conundrum as a cricketer; you watch him play and you think he must be one of the greats. He strikes the ball so cleanly, dominates the bowling and with the ball maintains an immaculate line and length and bowls a decent pace. Then you look at his results and he's a batsman with a mid-30s average and a bowler with just over a wicket a game. His century in the last series came in the dead rubber game and he got 2 wickets the whole series. He's Australia's answer to Hick/Ramprakash- looks good but doesn't deliver.

    Maybe this will be his series, but how many times have we said that?

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 18, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    Henrik Loven, I'm with you. I'm after a great contest, something like 2005 would be nice. Admittedly I stir it up here but if we had a gripping series that went 5 tests that would be something to remember whoever won. I can honestly say the 5-0 drubbing we gave England on the return leg was pretty dull with the exception of Adelaide and Gilly in Perth. It might be an unfathomable concept to some but grittily contested test cricket is still the pinnacle for both player and spectator. And so it should be.

  • on November 18, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Fit or unfit, Watson has to bat really long to justify number 3 position. He should be competing for number 5 position. But I agree, as an all-rounder, he is the best Australia has. But Australian selectors should look to do inject more Test focussed batmen with a lot of domestic experience like Quiney, North and bat longer to win this Ashes. Some how they seem to think bits and pieces cricketers can do the job for them at the top level.

  • usapsunil on November 18, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    It difficult to understand some time why so many watson hater , specially from Australia , he is such a good player of ball and bat , he avg 31.92 in test with ball ,in 2011 he was second highest wicket taker for australia and in batting currently his wicket is celebrated most , he can change game in no time , in past one year australia team failed as unit , yaa watson have not perform as per expectation , that does not make him ...

  • on November 18, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    @Ben Williams - You got me completely wrong. I'd rather see a fit Watson make a contribution through tests 2 - 5 than him hobbling off injured for the rest of the series in Brisbane. What I, and I guess most cricket fans, would like to see is a keenly contested Ashes between two strong sides where the best cricketers are on song and perform.

  • binojpeter on November 18, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    I don't understand why both Faulkner and Lyon should not play in the first test. Faulkner has a huge heart to deliver for his team whether be in bowling or batting. Australia might need that in critical situations. I believe that Australia should retain the eleven that played last Test except that Johnson coming in for Starc.

  • Selassie-I on November 18, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Thing is he's Australia's 2nd best batsman...... no one can argue this. Better that you guys don't bowl him in case he gets injured.

  • on November 18, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    Playing Agar instead of Lyon in the first two Ashes Tests a few months ago was an absolute joke. It defied all reasonable logic and harmed the Australian team's bowling attack. It reminded me of England picking Sajid Mahmood!

  • on November 18, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    In a test team 6 batsmen are must, Watson should justify hi place as a batsman first. harris siddle johnson n lyon are enough for bowling. Watson can be given few overs but he shouldnt be overburdened with bowling. He needs to concentrate on batting, try to get a score of 170-180 in brisbane, as we have seen it is the batting which has let Aus down in recent past. He & Clarke are the only 2 experienced batsman in the team. Bailey is a player of short format and he really has to bat exceptionally well to shut the mouth of critics including me.

  • stormy16 on November 18, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Ok for the last time "forget about Watto's bowling" - due to the risk of injury. Yes he bowled in Eng but did it result in a win? No! What's more Watto looked like at times he had forgotten how to bat, playing around his pads. Yes he made a big hundred but the Ashes were already lost. Aus's biggest issue is the lack of runs and Watto can delivery big runs, if he plays injury free for an extended period. You cant tell me Wattos 10 overs per innings is going to win the Ashes so forget about it and let Watto the batter concentrate on making runs and adding stability that Aus so desperately needs. Otherwise it will be the same old story for next tour to SA at the end of the summer, Watto struggling to make the cut, should be he bowl, should he not - we've been through all this before so surely it's time to move on.

  • BradmanBestEver on November 18, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    Agree with rmaganti - Only one out of Watto and Faulks - we need 4 specialist bowlers to get them out

  • rmaganti on November 18, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    If Watson is not 100% fit, he will be a liability to the team. Aussies are better off taking Faulkner as the bowling all rounder rather than taking a half fit Watson. They will regret their decision, if they take Watson and he breaks down midway through his bowling spell.

  • Mitch1066 on November 18, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    I believe Australia has good bowling unit with seamers plus Watson who was very economical with his figures Lyon your best spinner option out two i saw in ashes . However your weakness is your batting apart from Clarke who world class and battling rogers haddin rest of your batsmen are hit or miss. The team who win this ashes series be one who bowling and batting edge them over the line . I think with carberry England have far more composed experienced openers in Cook and carberry . I think it too soon for root be opener . Root should learn trade down order like greats of past. We shall see if England batsmen can undo Australian restriction of runs that was fairly successful in England and post imposing scores for Aussies to get.

  • Mary_786 on November 18, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Lyon is a must for Brisbane, there will be spin on day 4 and 5, do you think England will rest Swann

  • Mitty2 on November 18, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Ah our good ol' Nath, had the same spritely attitude before the last Ashes series when he was positive in his bowling after a very impressive 9fer in India (which would have been more than 10 if my club keeper were playing instead of Wade), only to be dropped for the mediocre and unready bowling of Agar. If he was dropped again just because of some premonitions about how green the gabba's going to be it would be a disgrace. Lyon's can be very economical but is used not enough by Clarke I feel, he can perform Watson's tightening role just as well with more of a wicket taking threat. On Watson, crap it takes two weeks for a torn hamstring to fully heal. Watson's here as a batter, and he better hope he justifies his selection as a batter in the first test considering he's averaged under 30 for the last three years. The joy I'd have in seeing Watson in the 12th man vest. Words can not describe. Faulkner can actually score runs under pressure and is a better bowler, too bad it won't happen.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 18, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    I think you are right @Dunger.bob, if he can't play as an all rounder don't pick him. Pick another all rounder and shift Clarke up. I think though he will be good to go. I think playing Faulkner and leaving out Lyon is best. England should pick Rankin, Finn is a proven liability who last week was going at 5 an over. Knock Johnson all you want but he is in form.

  • milepost on November 18, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    I think Henrik is just making a fairly point and it's nice to hear. As an Australian suoporter I hope Prior is fit and we see both teams play to the full strength they have available to them. It is going to be a much tougher series for England in Australia. Both sides look good to go though I still think England have a big issue with their 3rd seamer. I reckon they are at least a bowler short with 3+Swann so if their 3 option fails then Broad and Anderson may have a very long match. Remember Anderson bowled 16 or so straight overs in the first test last time, which England won narrowly. He was pretty knacks red after that but in Australian heat.....

  • Shaggy076 on November 18, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Faulkner just coming off bowling a maximum of 10 overs in a day in a shield match, cant believe they are considering taking him as one of only 4 bowlers. Part timers are good for a couple of overs but no more. Thus to get through a full days cricket we must have Lyon otherwise the English will score a 100 runs in the last hour.

  • krish_buddy_truesaying on November 18, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    watson , he is the best alrounder who is perfect in his line..., at the same time clarke should try with the part time spinners smith and warner(both took some valuable england wickets) to give his fast bowler a bit rest in the middle overs...,, this can workout in taking wickets.., lyon can lead dis spinners in controlling run rates..,

  • dunger.bob on November 18, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    I think the 12th man decision is going to be crucial.

    On a seaming pitch Faulkner could be handy and he's clearly a much better batsman than Lyon. .. I don't like the chances of Clarke bowling, not with his back. Smith could bowl a few, but he's not a containing style bowler. He normally either goes for plenty or takes wickets. Who's that leave. Warner maybe. .. I wouldn't like to have my house riding on him bowling a nice, tight 10 overs or so.

    I hate all this moving the furniture around to accommodate Watson. .. He's an all-rounder for god's sake. If he can't do an all round job, he shouldn't be there. .. And, what's more, if he's a genuine number three then I'm a genuine billionaire. I prefer my no 3's to score a hundred a bit more often the Wattto has managed so far in his long and tortuous career. .. so much bending over backwards and not all that much to show. .. As an all-rounder, yeah OK, the blokes not bad. As a pure batsman, not a chance.

  • johnnycash on November 18, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    I think Lyon may have to wait till the second test. Play Faulkner in this one. The pitch will get some sun the next two days but its been storms every day the last week or so - expect a pitch not much lighter than the outfield! Whichever team wins the toss will find it hard not to bowl.

  • on November 18, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @Henrik, mate it's been clearly stated he'll be playing regardless of whether he is fit to bowl or not, as he'll just play as a batsman only, so unfortunately either way your wish won't come true!

  • on November 18, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    I sometimes wonder why modern players have so many muscle injuries. Perhaps they do too much gym work and not enough exercise specific to requirements, like bowling!

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on November 18, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    His bowling was very important in the recent Ashes to keep the runs down and create some pressure. But I am torn, I want him to be fine to bat and bowl. Of course you never know which Watson you will get, or if he can survive the match

  • on November 18, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Watson's bowling is vital to the balance of the team as well as for its economy and the temptation to play him must be great. For Australia's sake, I hope they choose to leave him out of the Brisbane test as playing may result in his unavailability through injury for the rest of the series. They made the right choice with Ryan Harris last summer and were amply rewarded. Let's hope they make the right choice with Watson too!

  • on November 18, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Watson's bowling is vital to the balance of the team as well as for its economy and the temptation to play him must be great. For Australia's sake, I hope they choose to leave him out of the Brisbane test as playing may result in his unavailability through injury for the rest of the series. They made the right choice with Ryan Harris last summer and were amply rewarded. Let's hope they make the right choice with Watson too!

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on November 18, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    His bowling was very important in the recent Ashes to keep the runs down and create some pressure. But I am torn, I want him to be fine to bat and bowl. Of course you never know which Watson you will get, or if he can survive the match

  • on November 18, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    I sometimes wonder why modern players have so many muscle injuries. Perhaps they do too much gym work and not enough exercise specific to requirements, like bowling!

  • on November 18, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @Henrik, mate it's been clearly stated he'll be playing regardless of whether he is fit to bowl or not, as he'll just play as a batsman only, so unfortunately either way your wish won't come true!

  • johnnycash on November 18, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    I think Lyon may have to wait till the second test. Play Faulkner in this one. The pitch will get some sun the next two days but its been storms every day the last week or so - expect a pitch not much lighter than the outfield! Whichever team wins the toss will find it hard not to bowl.

  • dunger.bob on November 18, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    I think the 12th man decision is going to be crucial.

    On a seaming pitch Faulkner could be handy and he's clearly a much better batsman than Lyon. .. I don't like the chances of Clarke bowling, not with his back. Smith could bowl a few, but he's not a containing style bowler. He normally either goes for plenty or takes wickets. Who's that leave. Warner maybe. .. I wouldn't like to have my house riding on him bowling a nice, tight 10 overs or so.

    I hate all this moving the furniture around to accommodate Watson. .. He's an all-rounder for god's sake. If he can't do an all round job, he shouldn't be there. .. And, what's more, if he's a genuine number three then I'm a genuine billionaire. I prefer my no 3's to score a hundred a bit more often the Wattto has managed so far in his long and tortuous career. .. so much bending over backwards and not all that much to show. .. As an all-rounder, yeah OK, the blokes not bad. As a pure batsman, not a chance.

  • krish_buddy_truesaying on November 18, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    watson , he is the best alrounder who is perfect in his line..., at the same time clarke should try with the part time spinners smith and warner(both took some valuable england wickets) to give his fast bowler a bit rest in the middle overs...,, this can workout in taking wickets.., lyon can lead dis spinners in controlling run rates..,

  • Shaggy076 on November 18, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Faulkner just coming off bowling a maximum of 10 overs in a day in a shield match, cant believe they are considering taking him as one of only 4 bowlers. Part timers are good for a couple of overs but no more. Thus to get through a full days cricket we must have Lyon otherwise the English will score a 100 runs in the last hour.

  • milepost on November 18, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    I think Henrik is just making a fairly point and it's nice to hear. As an Australian suoporter I hope Prior is fit and we see both teams play to the full strength they have available to them. It is going to be a much tougher series for England in Australia. Both sides look good to go though I still think England have a big issue with their 3rd seamer. I reckon they are at least a bowler short with 3+Swann so if their 3 option fails then Broad and Anderson may have a very long match. Remember Anderson bowled 16 or so straight overs in the first test last time, which England won narrowly. He was pretty knacks red after that but in Australian heat.....

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 18, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    I think you are right @Dunger.bob, if he can't play as an all rounder don't pick him. Pick another all rounder and shift Clarke up. I think though he will be good to go. I think playing Faulkner and leaving out Lyon is best. England should pick Rankin, Finn is a proven liability who last week was going at 5 an over. Knock Johnson all you want but he is in form.