Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide December 4, 2013

Rare unchanged team for Clarke

33

Australia's captain Michael Clarke named an unchanged team for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, the first time he has been able to do so since the corresponding match last summer against South Africa.

The selectors thought carefully about adding the extra bowling of the allrounder James Faulkner, but ultimately felt that Shane Watson's medium pace would be sufficient as a fifth option, particularly as he has gained in fitness and confidence in his recovery from a hamstring strain since bowling only two overs in the first Test at the Gabba.

Mindful of the mere three days between the end of this Test match and the third at the WACA, the selectors have placed Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby, requesting they be rested by New South Wales and Western Australia from the round of Sheffield Shield matches that precede the Perth Test.

"It's tough on James ... but a nice position to be in to be honest, when the selectors hand you an unchanged team it's positive for where the team's at and how it performed in Brisbane," Clarke said. "I think they looked at the wicket and thought about the extra bowling option with James Faulkner in the team, but having Watto bowl who's back to 100% being fit and capable of bowling in both innings is a real positive for the team.

"Watto's overs we've seen through his career are crucial to this team and on good flat wickets like this looks I think his bowling's going to be very handy, not just for taking wickets but also building pressure from one end."

Clarke himself trained freely on match eve after shrugging off a rolled ankle sustained on Monday, which caused him to miss training two days out from the match. "The ankle feels fine, I think not training yesterday gave me an extra day to make sure I was 100% today," he said. "I feel completely fine, so looking forward to tomorrow."

The decision not to add to the bowling attack for Adelaide will place a heavy load on the pace trio of Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, but as Clarke noted, a team that has only just celebrated a first Test match win since the first week of the year is not in a position to gloat or make too elaborate a change to their XI.

"If you look at our Test record this year it's certainly not something to brag about in terms of wins," Clarke said. "But in saying that I think we take a lot of confidence out of Brisbane. The guys are very excited about there we're at as a group, the type of cricket we're playing, and most importantly the confidence individually, guys are scoring runs and taking wickets.

"There's a lot of positives that have come out of not just Brisbane but the last six to eight months, our results certainly haven't indicated that, but hopefully we showed that in the first Test and the players understand we have to be at our best over long periods of time to get back to where we want to be."

Australia David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, James Faulkner (12th man)

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ihaq1 on December 4, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    for adelaide a second spinner is the option that australia has not considered...i think o'keefe is teh only one australia have not tried out...teh endlish too should consider a two spin two fast attack or even a three fast-two spin attack

  • on December 4, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Good call on Faulkner... I think Australia needs to consider Faulkner ONLY if he scores centuries in 1st class cricket. Otherwise he is just a bits and pieces cricketer. This Aus team has a lot of them really. What Aus need right now is batsmen who puts more value on their bat instead of expecting centuries from Clarke.

  • couchpundit on December 4, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Always wonder how Bollinger is not able to make up to Australian squad.

  • couchpundit on December 4, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Michael Clarke is the laziest captain i have followed in last 2 decades.....guy always cites injury and takes a break and then miraculously start playing well one or two days before the match and scores a century(he is definitely gifted) but equally lazy. Its increasingly becoming hard for me to believe that he is injured....A guy can not be injured around the year and get match fit all of a sudden.

  • bren19 on December 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    Watson might be fit to bowl today - but who knows how many overs he will bowl until he breaks down again. He is a risk - what if he once again pulls up injured after bowling just a few overs in the match. Faulkner the better choice (plus he plays where Watson should - number 8).

  • Clavers on December 4, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    Doug Bollinger topped the shield bowling figures for a couple of seasons and has a great test average but he ran out of petrol in the last test he played. It looks like he has done a lot of work on his fitness and is now getting good results again. Good luck to him.

  • Jonathan_E on December 4, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    Bollinger would have been a regular in the side for some time if not for injury. I'm surprised he hasn't been back before - he deserved a pick ahead of the likes of the overhyped Starc and Pattinson. Harris and Siddle are both good. Johnson can be brilliant or can be awful, though I am not convinced that his very round-arm, slingy action is good for him (and, at worst, it can look distinctly jerky.)

  • on December 4, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Bollinger has been the in-form bowler on the Shield scene along with the forgotten man in Steve O'Keefe. Coulter-Nile hasn't set the world on fire though.

  • milepost on December 4, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    I'm not keen on Bollinger, Coulter-Nile though is a good call.

  • on December 4, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Ryan Johnson Siddler..they should have played one more full time pacer!

  • ihaq1 on December 4, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    for adelaide a second spinner is the option that australia has not considered...i think o'keefe is teh only one australia have not tried out...teh endlish too should consider a two spin two fast attack or even a three fast-two spin attack

  • on December 4, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Good call on Faulkner... I think Australia needs to consider Faulkner ONLY if he scores centuries in 1st class cricket. Otherwise he is just a bits and pieces cricketer. This Aus team has a lot of them really. What Aus need right now is batsmen who puts more value on their bat instead of expecting centuries from Clarke.

  • couchpundit on December 4, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Always wonder how Bollinger is not able to make up to Australian squad.

  • couchpundit on December 4, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Michael Clarke is the laziest captain i have followed in last 2 decades.....guy always cites injury and takes a break and then miraculously start playing well one or two days before the match and scores a century(he is definitely gifted) but equally lazy. Its increasingly becoming hard for me to believe that he is injured....A guy can not be injured around the year and get match fit all of a sudden.

  • bren19 on December 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    Watson might be fit to bowl today - but who knows how many overs he will bowl until he breaks down again. He is a risk - what if he once again pulls up injured after bowling just a few overs in the match. Faulkner the better choice (plus he plays where Watson should - number 8).

  • Clavers on December 4, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    Doug Bollinger topped the shield bowling figures for a couple of seasons and has a great test average but he ran out of petrol in the last test he played. It looks like he has done a lot of work on his fitness and is now getting good results again. Good luck to him.

  • Jonathan_E on December 4, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    Bollinger would have been a regular in the side for some time if not for injury. I'm surprised he hasn't been back before - he deserved a pick ahead of the likes of the overhyped Starc and Pattinson. Harris and Siddle are both good. Johnson can be brilliant or can be awful, though I am not convinced that his very round-arm, slingy action is good for him (and, at worst, it can look distinctly jerky.)

  • on December 4, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Bollinger has been the in-form bowler on the Shield scene along with the forgotten man in Steve O'Keefe. Coulter-Nile hasn't set the world on fire though.

  • milepost on December 4, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    I'm not keen on Bollinger, Coulter-Nile though is a good call.

  • on December 4, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Ryan Johnson Siddler..they should have played one more full time pacer!

  • jonak on December 4, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    I finally dropped SHANE WATSONE form my ASHES FANTASY team....enough ....

  • Haiphong on December 4, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    @ Maroubra_Flyer: I'm a bit confused by your comments... Did u say "Hughes for Rogers" AND "... underachievers (Kwahja etc.)" in the same message? The ONLY way Hughes is not an underachiever is by virtue of not having potential in the first place. Period! Other than that, he has had way more opportunities than Khwaja and HAS underperformed! Please, let's not jinx this whole thing again by calling for both Hughes and Warner to be back in the team together. Done that and failed...time and again!

  • Dangertroy on December 4, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @PFEL - I think Faulkner would be a great inclusion, but he is not a better batsman than bailey. Faulkner doesnt have a first class century to his name(although he frequently bats at 8) I think bailey should actually bat one higher and let Steve smith come in at six. I hope Watson is back to his best, as I think he is an incredibly valuable bowler when fit enough to get through a match. Hopefully he can bowl a bunch of maidens like in England and allow the other bowlers to recharge. All in all, I like the team, I hope they can all back up for Perth though.

  • on December 4, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    That's great news!! When you lead into a test match with an unchanged side,it clearly means that you are doing well. Faulkner will get his chance,but I agree with most of the people here that Bailey should get a solid run.However,I do feel that Chris Rogers is a weak link here,but for now I guess Oz can overlook that,his fate is going to come under scanner after the completion of this seriesI guess. England are definitely going to hit back in this match so Australia have to be very careful. Good Luck both the teams.

  • on December 4, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    @CCCrider...Bollinger's test record is faultless; look it up. Also; he is the leading shield wicket taker in a period when the pitches have been considerably equalized towards the batsmens's favour in their preparation. According to all reliable sources he is swinging the ball at pace. Personally; I am more than confident that he will be a handful at Perth and would love to see him share the new ball with Harris with Johnson coming on first change. Bollinger, Johnson, Siddle and Harris will be a fearsome attack at the WACA!

  • inefekt on December 4, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    cccrider - Bollinger is a world class bowler, averages 25 in test cricket. If you think that having a bowler like him on standby is an indication that our bowling stocks are low then our fast bowling depth is head and shoulders above any other country on the planet.

  • cccrider on December 4, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Bollinger on standby? Are the bowling stocks that low?

  • KeithMillersHair on December 4, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Well, I wanted Faulkner in, but either way this is a good side. After a long time Australia is finally picking a consistent team, which is great. Even better, we have very good bowlers on the way back from injury, and finally seem to have some batsman pushing for a place. All very positive signs - now we just need to make it count with a solid win in Adelaide!

  • on December 4, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    No player's performance should be reviewed after playing only one Test - give Bailey a go. Against the Pommy trundlers, he should have a good prospect of making some runs in this game!

  • Maroubra_Flyer on December 4, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Great to see some consistency in selection. Watson should have a good innings here (he'd just got back from India & injury & looked rusty in Brisbane) should improve. I'd still stick with him for the series, he should get at least one ton & if not its goodbye for good. Hasn't been helped by injury so deserves the chance to really cement his spot - we need his experience. Great to see Warner playing well, thought he wasn't up to it but the change in mindset is good. Persevering with Smith for a while will help, he's only 24. So we're settled. Hughes for Rogers if he fails down the track but great to have Carters, Silk, Head, Maddinson coming along and Handscomb. These guys will put pressure on the incumbents & underachievers (Kwahja etc.)

  • dunger.bob on December 4, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Whoever does the scheduling is a cruel task master. Imagine asking the teams to back up 3 days later in Perth, the exact opposite pitch wise of Adelaide. Got a nasty streak that one.

    Anyway, an unchanged team is the right way to go this time. Resting bowlers because they might get injured hasn't worked for us. In fact, I reckon it's done it's bit to keep our injury list as dire as it is. They want to play, seem to be fit and I'm glad the panel has gone that way. These bowlers are collectively on a roll and to mess about with that would have been a silly idea. If someone does break down then that's just bad luck, not bad management.

    I'm also glad they didn't drop Bailey. One Test is not enough time to tell too much about anyone. If he still looks out of his depth after 3 matches then maybe they could look at it. Even that's not much time but we can't afford to carry passengers either. If George comes good, that will solve a few problems for 3 or 4 years so I'm hoping he does.

  • Shaggy076 on December 4, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    We may have come to an age where Australia selectors are showing common sense. All the talk in the media I thought they were going to make another knee jerk reaction. Now if they pick a nice balanced team for Perth, which includes a spinner they will have turned full circle. It surely was the obvious choice to remain unchanged after Brisbane.

  • ShutTheGate on December 4, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Watson, a lot is now riding on your shoulders. Time to walk the walk. good luck.

  • disco_bob on December 4, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    We just hammered the poms, surely and unchanged team is a good thing. You can't start kicking people out who didn't make a big contribution. Bailey has to be given a solid run. However if Watson cannot perform with the bat in this match then it's time for him to go back to limited over cricket where he belongs.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 4, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    @PFEL: A man who had no first class or list A centuries until a tour of India on flat tracks, short boundaries and mediocre bowlers is a better batsmen than a guy with 14 first class centuries and averages 55 in ODI's?

    Sure, Einstein.

  • wik8 on December 4, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @PFEL, faulkner a better batsman than bailey? no chance. i like faulkner but he's not one of the best 7 test batsmen in australia, nor one of the best five bowlers. his selection would be based on versatility and attitude, neither of which are as important as having a proper batsman at 6. bailey has earned his place with runs and leadership and should keep it unless he makes a pair in adelaide and another one in perth. plus i'm sure bailey is absolutely chomping at the bit to show his biggest critic (ian chappell) that he can play! i predict good runs for bailey as the series goes on.

    in order to play tests faulkner must improve his test match batting. we all know he can whack the white ball around but can you really imagine him batting for 2 sessions or a day v anderson, broad and swann? i doubt it.

  • class9ryan on December 4, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Bailey couldn't be left out of the team due to exploits vs India recently on pity similar surfaces as this one in Adelaide. Its important for George to cross 50 so as to be mentally fit to get bigger scores. I hope it pays off for the Aussies.

  • C.Gull on December 4, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    I'd rather have Faulkner than Watson, but as that was never going to happen I'm happy enough with this side. Regarding Bailey, he's scored a lot of international runs lately and I though he looked good in the second innings at the Gabba. I can see him putting on a big score here.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 4, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    Very harsh on Faulkner and a bit unfair on him that he is missing out again, in spite of such tremendous form. Bailey will want to score some huge runs if he wants to play a 3rd test.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 4, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    We are stating to achieve a certain consistency in selection across all the teams after a few years now. Still a few things we have to fix, but we are getting there.

  • brisCricFan on December 4, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    @HatsforBats; I've wondered the same thing on occasion... why not push Watson to breaking point then prove once and for all he is unreliable as the premier all-rounder for Aus. I recall Steve Waugh once being the all-rounder, and they perservered for that up until he couldn't give those spells that allowed the pace trio to refresh... and I don't think anyone is claiming Watto is as good a bat as 'tugga' was...

    For some reason Australia seem to be sticking with him on the hope he will come good... probably better to consider him on batting alone, play a true all-rounder and if he can't keep his place, cut him free... He's keeping genuine batting talents and genuine all-rounders out of the side at the moment.

    Anyway, he's in this side and I hope he plays well, when he scores his 90's Aus generally get a decent total on the board.

  • HatsforBats on December 4, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    I like Bailey, his captaincy, temperament & fielding are excellent, but I don't see that he adds a great amount of stability to our fragile batting. Adelaide may just be the sort of pitch to make him a bit more comfortable outside off. I would've liked Faulkner for the extra bowler but I don't like Haddin @ 6 either. If Watson is really 100% healthy I want to see him bowling plenty (and I can't escape the thought that Clarke wants to bowl him into oblivion & test retirement). The first morning is the best chance for a team to gain a first innings lead so the toss could be crucial. No one seems to be giving England a chance. They're a talented squad and Adelaide may provide them perfect conditions to level the series. 22 hours to go.

  • PFEL on December 4, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    This might come back to haunt the Aussies. Faulkner is a better batsman than Bailey anyway so it's an inexplicable decision.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • PFEL on December 4, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    This might come back to haunt the Aussies. Faulkner is a better batsman than Bailey anyway so it's an inexplicable decision.

  • HatsforBats on December 4, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    I like Bailey, his captaincy, temperament & fielding are excellent, but I don't see that he adds a great amount of stability to our fragile batting. Adelaide may just be the sort of pitch to make him a bit more comfortable outside off. I would've liked Faulkner for the extra bowler but I don't like Haddin @ 6 either. If Watson is really 100% healthy I want to see him bowling plenty (and I can't escape the thought that Clarke wants to bowl him into oblivion & test retirement). The first morning is the best chance for a team to gain a first innings lead so the toss could be crucial. No one seems to be giving England a chance. They're a talented squad and Adelaide may provide them perfect conditions to level the series. 22 hours to go.

  • brisCricFan on December 4, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    @HatsforBats; I've wondered the same thing on occasion... why not push Watson to breaking point then prove once and for all he is unreliable as the premier all-rounder for Aus. I recall Steve Waugh once being the all-rounder, and they perservered for that up until he couldn't give those spells that allowed the pace trio to refresh... and I don't think anyone is claiming Watto is as good a bat as 'tugga' was...

    For some reason Australia seem to be sticking with him on the hope he will come good... probably better to consider him on batting alone, play a true all-rounder and if he can't keep his place, cut him free... He's keeping genuine batting talents and genuine all-rounders out of the side at the moment.

    Anyway, he's in this side and I hope he plays well, when he scores his 90's Aus generally get a decent total on the board.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 4, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    We are stating to achieve a certain consistency in selection across all the teams after a few years now. Still a few things we have to fix, but we are getting there.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 4, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    Very harsh on Faulkner and a bit unfair on him that he is missing out again, in spite of such tremendous form. Bailey will want to score some huge runs if he wants to play a 3rd test.

  • C.Gull on December 4, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    I'd rather have Faulkner than Watson, but as that was never going to happen I'm happy enough with this side. Regarding Bailey, he's scored a lot of international runs lately and I though he looked good in the second innings at the Gabba. I can see him putting on a big score here.

  • class9ryan on December 4, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Bailey couldn't be left out of the team due to exploits vs India recently on pity similar surfaces as this one in Adelaide. Its important for George to cross 50 so as to be mentally fit to get bigger scores. I hope it pays off for the Aussies.

  • wik8 on December 4, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @PFEL, faulkner a better batsman than bailey? no chance. i like faulkner but he's not one of the best 7 test batsmen in australia, nor one of the best five bowlers. his selection would be based on versatility and attitude, neither of which are as important as having a proper batsman at 6. bailey has earned his place with runs and leadership and should keep it unless he makes a pair in adelaide and another one in perth. plus i'm sure bailey is absolutely chomping at the bit to show his biggest critic (ian chappell) that he can play! i predict good runs for bailey as the series goes on.

    in order to play tests faulkner must improve his test match batting. we all know he can whack the white ball around but can you really imagine him batting for 2 sessions or a day v anderson, broad and swann? i doubt it.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 4, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    @PFEL: A man who had no first class or list A centuries until a tour of India on flat tracks, short boundaries and mediocre bowlers is a better batsmen than a guy with 14 first class centuries and averages 55 in ODI's?

    Sure, Einstein.

  • disco_bob on December 4, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    We just hammered the poms, surely and unchanged team is a good thing. You can't start kicking people out who didn't make a big contribution. Bailey has to be given a solid run. However if Watson cannot perform with the bat in this match then it's time for him to go back to limited over cricket where he belongs.