The Ashes 2013-14 December 11, 2013

Lyon a likely starter in Perth

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Nathan Lyon is expected to retain his place for the third Test at the WACA, with the coach Darren Lehmann reluctant to ask too much of his fast bowlers in the exceptionally hot weather expected in Perth over the next week. The forecast for the first three days is for top temperatures of 38C, before 39C on day four and 37C on the final day, and while the heat will bake the pitch and provide extra bounce and carry, it also has the potential to cook the fast bowlers.

Australia have played an all-pace attack in two of the past three Perth Tests and succeeded on both occasions, against India in 2011-12 and in the most recent Ashes Test at the WACA in 2010-11. Last summer, Australia's fast men took 16 wickets against South Africa and Lyon collected three in a heavy loss, but Lehmann said while consideration would be given to including James Faulkner, the more likely scenario was that Lyon would hold his place.

"We'll have to look at the wicket first and foremost, see what it's like. If we think it warrants him [Faulkner] playing and the four quicks so be it," Lehmann said. "But, look, it's going to be hot weather here - it's 35 and getting up to 40 on Monday - so we'll probably ... I think we'll play the spinner. Again, we've got to work out who has pulled up fit from the last Test match, so good question. We'll see what happens."

In addition to Faulkner, Australia also have Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on hand as back-up pacemen. There was plenty of grass on the WACA wicket on Wednesday, two days out from the Test, but that was expected to be cut back before the match.

The curator Matt Page, in charge of his first Test after the departure of his predecessor Cam Sutherland, said he expected the pitch to look whiter by the start of the match and he said it would be quicker than the early-season Sheffield Shield matches, and the surface on which England played their opening tour game of the trip.

"With the weather we're going to get - 37, 38 - it's pretty conducive and will bake the surface and definitely help it go through better," Page said. "I'm pretty confident there'll be some pace and bounce. The last Shield games here have been quite good. I'm confident it will be exactly the same."

Mitchell Johnson claimed five wickets in a Shield match against South Australia at the WACA in early November and bowled with impressive intensity, in a foreshadowing of his Ashes performances over the first two Tests. But Page said Johnson could expect even more assistance from the surface for the Test than he did in that Shield game.

"He only played one Shield game here - first game of the season - and he was pretty happy with it," Page said. "I think this one will be quicker than that one was.

"Spinning-wise you'll get the footmarks day four, day five. You'll get a bit of turn out of there. Spinners here normally get the bounce more than anything."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jango_moh on December 12, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    im an indian fan, im looking forward to the perth test!!! shud be fun to watch!!!!

  • drfarnsworth on December 12, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    Jagger - Finch? Seriously? Just cos Henriques got a 100 last week doesn't mean he should be in the Test side. White or Hughes are the in form batsmen outside the team at the moment (North is taking a break as far as I know).

  • JAH123 on December 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Not selecting Lyon on this pitch would be silly. With Watson fit we already have 4 pacemen anyway. But anyone who has watched much of Lyon in Australia would know that his biggest weapon is his bounce. Swann likes low turners because he gets balls to shoot low and flat and dismisses batsmen bowled or lbw. However, on these types of pitches in Australia (e.g. days 4-5 in Adelaide) Lyon's bounce is too consistent to trouble good batsmen. I think he will be more valuable at the WACA than he was in Adelaide, at least as a wicket-taker - just like he was at the Gabba.

  • TheBigBoodha on December 12, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Hey Jagger, why stop with Finch at number three? Let's go the whole hog. Open with the Marsh brothers. Billy Birmingham at number five. John Howard to replace Lyon and bowl his tweakers into the Freemantle Doctor. Victory is ours!

  • Broken_F-ing_Arm on December 12, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    @Jagger great side! Putting finch in at 3 is a great idea he is ripping shield attacks appart with 141 runs at 17.6! With an even better Carreer avg of 28.also sidds has to go, averaging 22 with the ball is not good enough, and Lyon is finally finding some ground in international cricket but screw it we'll dropped him too. And in there place, my favorite, bits and pieces all rounders!!! Playing 1 or 2 in India failed miserably but hey, 3 of them should do the trick. And it's just common sense to play one of your best batsmen at number 8.

    Thank God you are not a selector suggesting such a team after two convincing wins.

  • gop_cricket on December 12, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    To all this Steve Smith is a fighter, all remember he was one of the better batsmen last summer when Aussies were in England. One or two innings he goes without a big score does not mean he be dropped. He truly proved his good stay in this Aussie team and played much better than top ranked batsmen. Don't need to name them here. Other hand he provides another spin option to Clarke and proved time and again a partnership breaking bowler. Sometimes friends some players bring mateship and gel well into the team and do play their part. One such cricketer is this guy. Remember initial days of Steve Waugh and later how disciplined batsman he was. People talked of some kind of technique etc kind of things against him as well in his initial days.

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    @Michael Flynn - shhhhh! I think that too!

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    @Jagger on (December 11, 2013, 13:37 GMT) - he has the most wickets for an offie at the Gabba (ever)! So the acid Test is not at the WACA. Then you mention Finch....... enuff said!

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    @Yogi108:- I would suggest it's a little misleading to judge Faulkner's batting abilities from that ODI hundred in India. He has yet to make a first class hundred and perhaps therefore doesn't warrant selection in the top 6. We Aussie fans are thrilled thus far with the series, but we're also painfully aware of our batting's ability to fall suddenly in a heap and we also know England are no mugs. Dare we risk such a gamble?

  • brisCricFan on December 11, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    @Jagger; you can't be serious with that side...honestly?? Finch, Faulkner, Henriques and Coulter-Nile? Finch is doing precious little for Vic at the moment so including him must be based on his T20 form, Faulkner hasn't played anything other than ODI's of late so that must be his mile-stick. Henriques played ok in his appearance but no better than Smith... and as for NCN - well I am no sandgroper and can't say I have been watching him overly close but I believe his season so far has been very lacklustre... Are you sure you aren't some Mumbai T20 fan in disguise??

  • jango_moh on December 12, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    im an indian fan, im looking forward to the perth test!!! shud be fun to watch!!!!

  • drfarnsworth on December 12, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    Jagger - Finch? Seriously? Just cos Henriques got a 100 last week doesn't mean he should be in the Test side. White or Hughes are the in form batsmen outside the team at the moment (North is taking a break as far as I know).

  • JAH123 on December 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Not selecting Lyon on this pitch would be silly. With Watson fit we already have 4 pacemen anyway. But anyone who has watched much of Lyon in Australia would know that his biggest weapon is his bounce. Swann likes low turners because he gets balls to shoot low and flat and dismisses batsmen bowled or lbw. However, on these types of pitches in Australia (e.g. days 4-5 in Adelaide) Lyon's bounce is too consistent to trouble good batsmen. I think he will be more valuable at the WACA than he was in Adelaide, at least as a wicket-taker - just like he was at the Gabba.

  • TheBigBoodha on December 12, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Hey Jagger, why stop with Finch at number three? Let's go the whole hog. Open with the Marsh brothers. Billy Birmingham at number five. John Howard to replace Lyon and bowl his tweakers into the Freemantle Doctor. Victory is ours!

  • Broken_F-ing_Arm on December 12, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    @Jagger great side! Putting finch in at 3 is a great idea he is ripping shield attacks appart with 141 runs at 17.6! With an even better Carreer avg of 28.also sidds has to go, averaging 22 with the ball is not good enough, and Lyon is finally finding some ground in international cricket but screw it we'll dropped him too. And in there place, my favorite, bits and pieces all rounders!!! Playing 1 or 2 in India failed miserably but hey, 3 of them should do the trick. And it's just common sense to play one of your best batsmen at number 8.

    Thank God you are not a selector suggesting such a team after two convincing wins.

  • gop_cricket on December 12, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    To all this Steve Smith is a fighter, all remember he was one of the better batsmen last summer when Aussies were in England. One or two innings he goes without a big score does not mean he be dropped. He truly proved his good stay in this Aussie team and played much better than top ranked batsmen. Don't need to name them here. Other hand he provides another spin option to Clarke and proved time and again a partnership breaking bowler. Sometimes friends some players bring mateship and gel well into the team and do play their part. One such cricketer is this guy. Remember initial days of Steve Waugh and later how disciplined batsman he was. People talked of some kind of technique etc kind of things against him as well in his initial days.

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    @Michael Flynn - shhhhh! I think that too!

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    @Jagger on (December 11, 2013, 13:37 GMT) - he has the most wickets for an offie at the Gabba (ever)! So the acid Test is not at the WACA. Then you mention Finch....... enuff said!

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    @Yogi108:- I would suggest it's a little misleading to judge Faulkner's batting abilities from that ODI hundred in India. He has yet to make a first class hundred and perhaps therefore doesn't warrant selection in the top 6. We Aussie fans are thrilled thus far with the series, but we're also painfully aware of our batting's ability to fall suddenly in a heap and we also know England are no mugs. Dare we risk such a gamble?

  • brisCricFan on December 11, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    @Jagger; you can't be serious with that side...honestly?? Finch, Faulkner, Henriques and Coulter-Nile? Finch is doing precious little for Vic at the moment so including him must be based on his T20 form, Faulkner hasn't played anything other than ODI's of late so that must be his mile-stick. Henriques played ok in his appearance but no better than Smith... and as for NCN - well I am no sandgroper and can't say I have been watching him overly close but I believe his season so far has been very lacklustre... Are you sure you aren't some Mumbai T20 fan in disguise??

  • ShutTheGate on December 11, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    They should pick Lyon, he can rip through overs quickly and bowl long spells meaning that the quicks can take their time walking back to their mark when the 40 degree hot is belting them.

    Lyon's bounce was deceptive in Brisbane. We can expect more of the same in Perth and perhaps Root is becoming Lyon's bunny.

  • on December 11, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    It is just as well @Yogi108 lives in the US because he is on the other side of the planet as far as the Aussie team's needs are concerned. Faulkner is nowhere near as good as Smith with the bat and we don't need to weaken our batting. Plus Smith gives us extra overs here and there which proves useful in removing his bunny Ian Bell. Bailey is the weak link in the batting. He has a poor record in first class cricket but I'd like to see him do well as it's good to keep an unchanged side. Hopefully Rogers and Smith can also get a few runs in Perth to keep the wolves at aby.

  • on December 11, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    Shame that Dougie isn't in contention. I was really hoping for him to share the new ball with Harris, with Johnno first change and Siddle backing him up. I still think that with Clarke, Smith and Warner in the team there are enough spin options for a flat track and, frankly, Lyon rarely demands selection. (*cough* S.O.K *cough*)

  • on December 11, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    You know what? I reckon that old Boof is loudly talking up the inclusion of Lyon so the Poms don't drop Graeme Swann. You see, the Aussies have the wood on Swanny at last, and thus want him to play to continue attacking him. The English are dancing to Clarke and Lehmann's tune.

  • YogifromNY on December 11, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    I am a US-based supporter of the Indian team and don't have a dog in this race, so to speak. I just love to see good cricket. Why not drop Steven Smith and play Faulkner, and let Lyon hold his place? Faulkner would be useful for some lower-order runs and more importantly his bowling would provide Clark a huge bonus in terms of wickets and relieving the other bowlers in the expected heat. It honestly baffles me why Smith is selected in Tests ahead of Faulkner on any wicket, let alone the pacy pitch expected in Perth. If they played Faulkner iso Smith and have Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Watto, and Lyon as the other bowlers, Australia will be unplayable and unbeatable by this English side!

  • Beertjie on December 11, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    Agree @Lyndon McPaul on (December 11, 2013, 7:01 GMT) that Doug Bollinger would be an ideal selection, especially if Harris is a doubt, as someone here posted. Mitch and he would create great footmarks for Lyon if it ever came to that in the second innings. Faulkner may be a leftie but is quite a different type of bowler from the Rug.

  • on December 11, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Richie Benaud has stated before that he believes you should play a spinner in Perth because of the breeze. An offensive spinner that likes to flight the ball up can get some odd movement bowling into the doctor while a paceman bowls with it.

    The Australia of old never would have considered dropping Shane Warne for a test just because it was the WACA.

  • on December 11, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    Give Faulkner a crack, bowls in the 130km and very skillful. If there's ever a Time to play him it's now. Play 4 quicks

  • Jagger on December 11, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    The thing is, Lyon is not going to get the bounce the WACA gives him anywhere else in the world. If he gets a bag at Perth it proves nothing. He needs to do well on spinning wickets ie fourth and fifth day which he has clearly not done. Indian pitches will not give him bounce.

    Watson is another problem with the balance in our team. He promises the world and delivers peanuts. A great limited overs player, there is no doubt, but he doesn't cut it as a test player and gets injured playing IPL every year. 3 centuries in 89 test match innings is a monumental failure.

    Lyon and Watson must go. They are the reason why we are relying on two or three players now.

    With Bird and Pattison injured, I would like to float this out there:

    Warner, Rogers, Finch, Clarke, Smith, Faulkner, Henriques, Haddin, Coulter-Nile, Johnson, Harris.

    A beautifully balanced side for Perth. Watch the Poms melt in the sun when Haddin walks out at no.8!

  • on December 11, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    The match won't go beyond 3 days. I can smell those Ashes.

  • ScottStevo on December 11, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    @dunger.bob, fortunately, it appears the team aren't involved in this thinking. Listening to Clarke's post game interview told us a lot. The comments that stood out for me were his reference to us only winning 2 games this whole year, recognition of the hard work done yet still to do and the outlook on getting this team much further up the rankings. As it stands this is a job half done and it appears those within the team are well aware of this, and also aware that every single test match will count towards pushing us to our end goal of getting back to the top of the pile. I agree that we're a strong candidate for a major batting collapse - and I'd be surprised if we last the whole series without at least one - although, if we continue to keep pressing Eng's batting line up, the confidence in the side will remain high. We also tend to bat a lot better in home conditions, as you'd expect. Day 1 in Perth is a HUGE day. What do you do if you win the toss?! Big question...

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    @Nutcutlet:- Brings to mind a certain Noel Coward song.

  • dunger.bob on December 11, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    @ valvolux: Couldn't agree more. This is as big a danger game for us as it is for the Poms. .. Lots of people seem to be getting ahead of themselves. A fair bit of it's just banter but I get the feeling we have some complacency setting in already !

    Our batting is as shaky as a kitten in the dog pound sometimes. I know it's been a lot better so far this series but I'm not convinced we haven't got another one or two 47 all outs left in the tank. .. This would be a very good time for Watson and Smith and to a lesser degree Rogers to really get some runs for us. .. I'm not at all comfortable with Warner, Clarke and Haddin getting our runs each and every time. .. Take one or two of them out and it's a horror show unless these other blokes can dig in and give them some solid support. ps. I know Watson has got some runs, but I'm greedy, I want more from my no.3

  • ScottStevo on December 11, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    @F-F-L, If England start hitting anything it will be a start, mate, let alone taking on the only spinner good enough to have made a valuable contribution to this series - but I wouldn't be holding out too much hope of that occurring. They've got about as much chance of finding batsmen who can play the short ball as they do finding the middle of their bats!

  • paapam on December 11, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    England are doomed. Unless one of their quicks breaks down, Australia will be 3-0 up within 4 days. Cannot wait for Patterson and Cummings to get back! That will surely have the English on their knees.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on December 11, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Swann is the greatest ever spinner in the history of the universe and perhaps even a bit longer than that. His average of just under100 per wicket in the last two tests are as good as Bradman's.

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    macZZZ-- can I have your ticket mate!!!????

  • Cubey on December 11, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Funny how whoever wins the toss, wins the match.

  • S.Jagernath on December 11, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    If this is true,then its unlikely to be a sharp surface.

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    lyon has been brilliant but I would hope to see NCN in for a home ground debut, if mitch and ryano don't skittle the poms he and sidds will.

  • milepost on December 11, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    It is telling that Lunge is taking more punishment than the English team, I did not think that was possible at the moment lol!

  • Nutcutlet on December 11, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    @Biggus on (December 11, 2013, 8:45 GMT). Thanks for the update, mate. One of the more memorable pictures I have of living & working in Kuwait, is a worker standing in the shade of a lampost at 2pm waiting for a bus. Temp. about 45C! I'm wondering if there shouldn't be an agreed drinks break every 40 minutes & an early start at the WACA if conditions are as forecast. No one who's sane would want to be outside for long, let alone be doing something highly energetic & focussing on the discipline. I'm also wondering how the quicks on both sides will stand up to it. I can't see Mitch working up a pace of 90 mph after he's bowled two overs. Playing the conditions is going to be another factor - this could be a little-tested aspect of players' fitness. BTW, it probably accounts for the massive popularity of t20 stuff in India.

  • HatsforBats on December 11, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @Shaggy076, exactly my sentiments. If only Watson could consistently score some runs we'd be set.

  • Waves239 on December 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Australian bowling is too good at the moment to English batsmen spearheaded by Mitchell Mo. But still this Australian batting should find the settled batting line-up with Watson struggling more often than not. Rogers defensive approach forms the best combination with Warner aggressive batsman-ship. Clarke is in red-hot form but what follows next is Smith and Bailey who yet to cement their places. In my XI watson will come just ahead of Haddin who allows to play him freely once the foundation set. Meanwhile Bailey can be tried at no.3 giving more responsibility.

    Rogers, Warner, Bailey, Clarke, Smith, Watson, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Harris, Lyon

  • on December 11, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    @ffl...you're right Front Foot Lunge! Swan is a much more dangerous bowler than Lyon. Odds are that with so many sixes being hit a distracted spectator will be knocked out cold never to wake up!

  • milepost on December 11, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    @Biggus, very funny mate! The nature with which this Aussie team is dismantling not just this team but the whole structure of the Englinsh setup is something to behold. Double whitewash on the CV looks nice for some of the England guys. Giles to replace Flower, now that is a good one.

  • Meety on December 11, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 11, 2013, 7:26 GMT) - ".... any side that has a bowler who can only pick up cheap wickets like him...." - yeah you are so right, his cheap wickets in this series have all been tailenders like Prior (twice), Root (Twice), Bell & Cook - all hacks. He hasn't got the skill to get the best batsmen in the team out like Panesar & Anderson!

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    @o-bomb:- I've been seeing a bit of backing away mate. Just worried about your guys stepping on the square leg umpire's toes. Wouldn't be a good look to see you guys injure an umpire.

  • RVC-38 on December 11, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    The Poms have big problems now, Lehmann wants Lyon to send down some chin music.

  • valvolux on December 11, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Australia dont bat well here. It's Clarke's worst ground in oz and the only other guy to score a test century is Warner, who has gone cheaply in every other innings. There's a chance here for england. Cook scored a good ton here in 2006, KP was pretty decent in that second innings as well. Will be interesting to see the english batsmen and their approach. They take no confidence in playing cross bat shots after Adelaide and I think they will be scared to attack from the start. Problem is, if you arent prepared to play square of the wicket, your gonna get out nicking in Perth. I think this test will be closer than everyone things....and probably will be done before lunch on the 4th day.

  • TheBigBoodha on December 11, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Off spinners can do well bowling into the Freemantle doctor, and conditions should suit Lyon - and Swann.

    It will be interesting. Conditions will really suit Australia. I can't see England winning, and I doubt Australia will let up at all. They want the urn, and are circling like vultures. It will take something special for England to come back.

    I feel a bit sorry for Cook. Nothing breeds failure like success - when that success hides obvious problems. We are seeing the limitations of the Cook/Flower attrition model of cricket.

  • o-bomb on December 11, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @Biggus - Safety boots for the square leg umpire? You speak as if our batsmen can keep our hook shots down. Surely you mean a safety helmet the way we've been hooking.

  • Meety on December 11, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    @macZZZ on (December 11, 2013, 8:18 GMT)- yep. Was that always your handle?

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    @Nutcutlet:- Won't be as humid as in the Gulf mate but it will be a stinker, it's rising here as I write. I wouldn't want to play in it and I live here. You've hit the nail on the head, this is going to be grueling. Will the Fremantle Doctor come out to play? If not someone's going to go down with heat exhaustion. If we end up with easterlies instead of the Doctor they'll be dropping like flies.

  • milepost on December 11, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Haha, Front-Foot-Zooter, I actully laughed at your comment, I guess a lot of humor does stem from statements that are absurd or far from the truth. But, "Watch out for his Zooter, the one whichh hits the seam...and goes straight on", I did actually find that really funny so thanks. I heard Lyon will be working with Monty and Swann to give them a few tips, like how to take wickets for less than a 100 runs a piece. The Aussies will probably wear sweaters in this heat, like they wore sunglasses at the Oval in 2005 when England were stalling and playing for bad light. @dunger.bob, I am keen to but I think the game starts friday.

  • macZZZ on December 11, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    bobpeecee .... no mate, not a good idea ... I live in Perth and am a WACA member ... however, with the predicted temps, I will stay at home in aircon and my big flat screen :) From personal experience, the WACA on a very hot day is VERY VERY DEBILITATING ... for both players and spectators. Definitely NOT a nice place to be.

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge:- Glad you're still with us Lungie, I wouldn't want you to miss a moment. Don't think any of your lot will be lunging on to the front foot, quite the opposite, the square leg umpire should consider donning a pair of safety boots. And rest assured, help is near, the casualty ward of Royal Perth Hospital is just down the road. Won't take an ambulance more than five minutes to get there.

  • rajuramki on December 11, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    With a spiced up wicket and a hot weather , the batsmen will feel like cats on a hot tinned roof .Again with a barrage of bouncers and short pitched deliveries from both sides , it is very unlikely that the game will go beyond the end of the fourth day. England players have more often failed to the hook shot and they may as well shelve this shot at Perth , so that the game does not end on the 3rd day .

  • disco_bob on December 11, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    It is somewhat ironic that England have prepared an 82 page gourmet extravaganza for their players, yet it is the Aussies who have tucked into Swann for breakfast and lunch, fattening themselves on his tasty pies.

  • disco_bob on December 11, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    The England Think Tank has hatched a cunning plot to nullify Lyon by making sure that all their batsmen get out as quickly as possible thus denying him proper match practice.

  • on December 11, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    The game wont go into day 5 , England are firmly on the back foot and will capitulate easily

  • on December 11, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Very interesting question by Lehmann what he said bout Lyon , I'm not sure if they play him on the bouncing wicket in Perth , should save him for the Sydney test would be better ! See how's he goes !

  • on December 11, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Considering Watson can bowl his medium pace along with the other three fast bowlers, Lyon will surely get the nod. With already four players bowling pace, there is no need for a fifth one in the form of Faulkner. Also Clarke would not want to change his team combination which comfortably won the first two Tests.

  • Dangertroy on December 11, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Ahh front-foot-lunge-bot. A marvel or modern science, the only program ever created to ignore logic.

    Nathan Lyon averages 34 again england, swann averages 40 against Australia. Swann is averaging 99 this series, Lyon is averaging 34. Although he has been getting English batsmen out, so that's not really a fair comparison. Lyon has also been getting significant bounce and turn this series.

  • on December 11, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Get Faukner in place of Smith. That way the balance is retained both bowling and batting. Smith has done pretty little to miss him...

  • disco_bob on December 11, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 11, 2013, 7:26 GMT), Normal service HAS been resumed, England are getting a thrashing of biblical proportions, Kevin, Swann and Anderson are so shell shocked that they have been deemed to psychologically brittle to be allowed further disintegration in the following ODI series. You may or may not have noticed that Swann and Panesar combined over both Tests so far have taken 6 wickets at nearly 100 runs per wicket and Lyon's return at the Gabba was 4/63. Perhaps the brutal nature of what Boycott termed, the 'anihilation has sent you into a delusional frame of mind. You has better look away now as the WACA begins tomorrow and there will be blood.

  • Nutcutlet on December 11, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    It is practically impossible to think that quick bowlers will function efficiently for more than a couple of overs if the temperatures are going to reach the numbers predicted.This must have implications for the selection of both sides. Five bowlers, each prepared to bowl his quota, is an absolute requirement. I'd be very surprised if England don't play Panesar, but if Swann is not selected then the 'heavy-lifters' (i.e. those who will keep going & going) must come to the front: Bresnan pre-eminently. It may seem odd to suggest this, but Stokes has precisely the wrong skin-type to perform in temps c 40C. If he does play (and under normal conditions, he'd have earned his place), then his ability to withstand the intense heat will need careful monitoring - sun-block can only do so much & perspiration will take it away. Then there's the hydration issue. Make no mistake, the heat will have its say at the WACA. (I spent several years in the Gulf. These temps are no joke. They're brutal.)

  • testcric4ever on December 11, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    @FFL looks like the entire English team is getting found out ay?

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 11, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge -Don't worry about Lyon mate at Perth . Mitch and pretty much rest of Aus speedsters will take care of the Eng bats with Lyon hardly needing to do much . But ,at MCG and Sydney - down 3 and 4 -0 - they again face the tough task against quality spin on pitches that will give some assist to the Lyon types esp. on day 4/5 .That is ,if they last that long / not already exhausted all their wkts to the Aus pacemen off course . I certainly hope they do and put up a better contest than now and also allow poor Lyon a chance of picking a few for himself .

  • PFEL on December 11, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    @Vishnu27 , I'd say Harris is about 40/60 at the moment, hopefully he pulls up ok but his knee has been causing some trouble

  • AussiePhoenix on December 11, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Lyon showed in Brisbane that he is good enough. True his Adelaide performance wasn't as strong, BUT, it was a batting paradise and traditionally only favours spinners on Day 5. He didn't get a chance to demonstrate his strengths because England didn't turn up. We'll need him to bowl long spells to rest the quicks. Watto will be closer to full recovery now because he hasn't needed to bowl yet, he'll put in more overs. The big worry for England is how are they going to bowl in the heat? Broad will, because he has shown he is the only one with guts, but Swann especially and Anderson will need to stop kicking turf, pull their thumb out of their arse and sweat a bucket or two. I think Stokes performed well at Adelaide under difficult psychological conditions so deserves another shot. With the whole Faulkner for Watto idea, it would disrupt the batting order again, and I'm not convinced Faulkner is guaranteed to get more runs than him.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 11, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    If England start hitting Lyon's seam up long hops to where they belong then we might actually start to get normal Ashes service resumed. Lyon has a straighter one and another straight one, he is yet to turn a ball in his international career so any side that has a bowler who can only pick up cheap wickets like him will get found out eventually. Watch out for his Zooter, the one whichh hits the seam...and goes straight on.

  • Vishnu27 on December 11, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    @PFEL (December 11, 2013, 6:52 GMT): did you just make that up? Harris is fine & will definitely play

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 11, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Absolutely correct the 'forecast' is . But not particularly 'bright' from Eng p.o.v .It is going to be hot in Perth alright and Eng are up against it 2-0 down -about to be 3-0 down - and about face the heat.Above all things , the world of cricket is looking at Mitch, the single most 'factor' in this Ashes who is red hot at the moment and at the infamous Perth - place where most batsmen in hist. faced their worst nightmare - is about to generate plenty of 'heat' . Oh ,the Eng team is facing the heat , and making a comeback or even giving Aussies a good fight will be such a big feat! Roll on Perth!

  • dunger.bob on December 11, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Lyon does give us some variety and he does seem to like the bounce. That could be a reason for his 1st innings success, more bounce early in the match.

    I can see why they want to go in unchanged. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, I think Faulkner would take some wickets and he is an infinitely better bat than Nathan. Poor old Lyono only has one shot, the sweep. He plays it Ok I suppose. Must be all that practice.

    It's a tough call, glad it's not mine to make.

  • PFEL on December 11, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    @abhyudayj, "lions at home and lamb at overseas -the rule applied for every test playing nation" - no, that's just India

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 11, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Well, Eng are just not good enough to compete with top teams of Aus/SA . They can concentrate on playing minnows -WI,NZ etc. Is the only way we can see competitive matches from them. Also the only chance mediocre t20 sloggers like KP and trundlers like Broad/Anderson score some runs/get some wkts .

  • on December 11, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    The decision to play Lyon seems to be one made for the sake of team harmony and not based on the cold hard logic of going with the the best team according to the particular conditions of each wicket (horses for courses). The leading shield wicket taker, Doug Bollinger would be super fresh and a much better addition in the fast and bouncy conditions of the WACA IMO.

  • PFEL on December 11, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Well it looks like Harris will likely be out cause he pulled up sore (Surprise, surprise) so presumably Faulkner will just come in for him.

  • brisCricFan on December 11, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    @ greatshinwari ; and if they bat like the great sides of the other years gone by, they could probably go in with 2 bowlers and a few part timers... what is it with people that want to compare two totally different sides and two totally different oppositions and expect that somehow they may get the same result?? This isn't SAf bowling and is not the demoralised Aus unit from 12 months ago...

    Back to the story, LYON was always a starter in my book; not only because he is a very good bowler, but he prefers the extra kick... its hard enough playing a ball turning into you, but much harder when you prod forward and it is kicking into your chest...

    Faulkner hasn't done anything to warrant a place in the side... sure Watto is running out of lives but he's a senior player and brings something to the table.

    Whoever it was mentioning Phil Hughes... you're kidding right? 25 years of age, 27 FC centuries... this season an avg of 68.38... He will tour SAf and rightly so.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 11, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    I don't understand the logic of including a spinner because it is hot. You include a spinner because he is going to take wickets, not because it is hot. Faulkner will do a great job and it is well and truly overdue to pick him. Playing Lyon is giving England a sniff of a chance.

  • abhyudayj on December 11, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    @ Mharry- the pitch play a key role the same aussies team when travelled to sub continent they bowlers are look ordinary and vice versa ,they is saying lions at home and lamb at overseas -the rule applied for every test playing nation

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    England team should be cook root bell kp ballance prior bresnan broad swann finn anderson

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    @Avirup Ganguly:- We don't worship our players down here mate, and they are most definitely not beyond criticism. We feel that helps us to keep improving even if things are going pretty well. Rather than saying, "everything is marvelous" we keep asking, "How can we make things even better?" If you keep on ignoring small problems when the team is winning they'll turn into big ones and will end up causing losses. Watson has shown time after time he lacks the concentration to succeed consistently at test level, and also has shown he doesn't really have the adaptability to play at number 3, a position where that player needs to be able to tough it out through difficult situations. If you can keep him quiet for a few overs he'll do something silly and get out, you can almost set your watch by it, it's so predictable. The only position I can see him filling properly at test level is at number 6 where he can put (hopefully) tired attacks to the sword late in the day, a la Doug Walters.

  • LeftArmOverTheWicket on December 11, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    I say Faulkner in... Smith out... Smith got way too many chances... Faulkner needs to come in...

  • azzaman333 on December 11, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Can we please stop trying to dump Lyon from the team? He comprehensively outbowled Swann at the Gabba, and despite having a poor game he still outbowled both Swann and Panesar at Adelaide. If we want 4 quicks, it should be Watson, Smith or Bailey out for Faulkner, not Lyon.

  • Cubey on December 11, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    England need to drop Swann and Anderson for the WACA. They're not hungry enough for it. It'll give them a kick up the rear

  • Mharry on December 11, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    India won a match at perth after trailing 2-0 to australia in 2008 with not a great bowling attack against a very good Australian side ......so england can take confidence from that because they have much better bowling attack.....i think they are lacking in selection......they are defensive......rather they should play finn and rankin in place of panesar and stokes.....that can be an attacking option.....they should play 5 pure batsmen and 5 pure bowlers and prior as WK .....rather than going for allrounders....at the end i think MJ is again going to be the difference between the sides....

  • disco_bob on December 11, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    Same side looks like a no brainer. Lyon has caused most damage with his bounce. Faulkner will get a chance if some pulls up with a niggle otherwise keeping a successful team together is great for moral and confidence. This match will soften the Poms up for a traditional boxing day shellacking and a final new year humiliation. 5 - 0 Nothing less will do.

  • vrn59 on December 11, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    This makes good sense. Australia should pick an unchanged XI if everyone is fit; the only possible change could be Faulkner in for Bailey or Smith... England, on the other hand, have a lot to do: Root and Bell can be swapped around (although Flower won't), Ballance can come in at 6 instead of Stokes, although it will be toughest possible Test baptism (maybe Bairstow could be considered), and Finn or Rankin can come in for Panesar. Leaving out Swann for a fourth seamer, and relying on the part-time spin of Root and Pietersen is also an option worth considering. It's always good to have a specialist spinner, but England need to be aggressive (although not reckless) and Swann has looked below his best for a while now.

  • on December 11, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    watto is great talent and doing a good job at 3. stop blaming him and by the way he is better batsman and bowler than Faulkner.

  • on December 11, 2013, 5:27 GMT

    I think it is far more likely they will cut Watson for Faulkner. He is the new Phil Hughes of the team, pure stink. Definitley give Lyon a run as his extra bounce should work quite well at Perth, plus he will help keep the over rate down and using him for long spells will give everyone else a rest.

  • zenboomerang on December 11, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Considering the last 3 Tests here have been either 3 or 4 day games with this coming match likely to be another - considering both teams variable batting skills - the need for a 4th seamer becomes apparent.

    With Eng dropping a spinner they could go in with 4 man pace attack with Stokes a handy allrounder - he did manage 25 effective overs in Adelaide - while we have a dodgy Watson (9 overs in 2 innings) who is still batting poorly averaging @19.75 this series. Would really like to see Watto "rested" & Faulkner included into the 11 for this match.

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    I'm starting to feel good about Australia, playing good cricket and now the selectors have come to there sensors. TO go with 4 quicks and Watson as the fifth quick really, gives the captain no variety. Lyon liked the extra bounce at Brisbane and cant see any logical reason why he would be left out of this test.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 11, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    @Wellrounded87: Gaz can smack a few, also, with Watson there, there is really no point in playing Faulkner which is why i didn't want him to be 12th man because he should be playing some cricket rather than sitting on the bench.

    With Watto, who is one of the best containing bowlers in the world i reckon, we have 4 seam options already so we might aswell get some variety in there. Lyon does well in first innings more so than 2nd innings anyways so he is a good option.

  • on December 11, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Watson out. Faulkner in. Easy.

  • bobpeecee on December 11, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    I wish my wife would let me fly to Perth from Melbourne for a couple of days. :-)

  • wellrounded87 on December 11, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    I don't think this is a wise decision. If this pitch is like previous WACA pitches (which it certainly looks like it will be) there's going to be plenty in it for the quicks and batting will be difficult. Better to play Faulkner in place of Lyon and strengthen the tail a bit while adding an extra dimension to the attack.

  • on December 11, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    I don't think this match will go to day 4 & 5

  • greatshinwari on December 11, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    i thnk australia should include faulkner or ben cutting bcoz they can bat as well on the green bouncy perth pitch if australian top order fails just like last year againest SA...

  • Vishnu27 on December 11, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    "I'm pretty confident there'll be some pace and bounce"

    …and I'm pretty confident it'll be 3-nil by Sunday. Merry Christmas Australia!

  • Diaz54 on December 11, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Sounds wonderful, wish I was there!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Diaz54 on December 11, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Sounds wonderful, wish I was there!

  • Vishnu27 on December 11, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    "I'm pretty confident there'll be some pace and bounce"

    …and I'm pretty confident it'll be 3-nil by Sunday. Merry Christmas Australia!

  • greatshinwari on December 11, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    i thnk australia should include faulkner or ben cutting bcoz they can bat as well on the green bouncy perth pitch if australian top order fails just like last year againest SA...

  • on December 11, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    I don't think this match will go to day 4 & 5

  • wellrounded87 on December 11, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    I don't think this is a wise decision. If this pitch is like previous WACA pitches (which it certainly looks like it will be) there's going to be plenty in it for the quicks and batting will be difficult. Better to play Faulkner in place of Lyon and strengthen the tail a bit while adding an extra dimension to the attack.

  • bobpeecee on December 11, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    I wish my wife would let me fly to Perth from Melbourne for a couple of days. :-)

  • on December 11, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Watson out. Faulkner in. Easy.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 11, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    @Wellrounded87: Gaz can smack a few, also, with Watson there, there is really no point in playing Faulkner which is why i didn't want him to be 12th man because he should be playing some cricket rather than sitting on the bench.

    With Watto, who is one of the best containing bowlers in the world i reckon, we have 4 seam options already so we might aswell get some variety in there. Lyon does well in first innings more so than 2nd innings anyways so he is a good option.

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    I'm starting to feel good about Australia, playing good cricket and now the selectors have come to there sensors. TO go with 4 quicks and Watson as the fifth quick really, gives the captain no variety. Lyon liked the extra bounce at Brisbane and cant see any logical reason why he would be left out of this test.

  • zenboomerang on December 11, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Considering the last 3 Tests here have been either 3 or 4 day games with this coming match likely to be another - considering both teams variable batting skills - the need for a 4th seamer becomes apparent.

    With Eng dropping a spinner they could go in with 4 man pace attack with Stokes a handy allrounder - he did manage 25 effective overs in Adelaide - while we have a dodgy Watson (9 overs in 2 innings) who is still batting poorly averaging @19.75 this series. Would really like to see Watto "rested" & Faulkner included into the 11 for this match.