Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 4th day December 29, 2013

Doubts over Harris, Watson for Sydney

57

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has conceded Ryan Harris is a doubtful starter for the Sydney Test, while Shane Watson's position could come under scrutiny if he is unable to bowl due to the groin niggle he picked up on Boxing Day. Although Watson would seem a likely starter given his unbeaten 83 secured victory at the MCG, Australia appear loath to risk Harris, who has now played eight consecutive Tests since returning to the side at Lord's in July.

Harris missed all of the last Australian international summer with a shoulder problem and various injuries including an ongoing knee issue have restricted him to 20 Tests of a possible 44 since his debut. He bowled only 34 overs throughout the Melbourne Test but left the field at times and Lehmann said his general struggles with his body could encourage the selectors to take a safety-first approach with him given the short turnaround between Tests.

"If he is not fit he won't play, if he is fit he will play," Lehmann said. "We go the same path all the time. I would say he is doubtful but until we see the medical staff and see how he recovers - the extra day gives us five-day turn around - but we will have to wait and see ... It's everything [in his body] with him. He is a valuable bowler so we won't take any risks. But if he is fit and can get through and do a job for his captain he will play.

"His speeds were still up there, so that's what we judge the bowling on. He didn't have to bowl as much as we thought, either. So that was a lucky thing in terms of the extra day off, or the extra two days off basically. That's helpful leading into a Sydney Test match. Again it will depend on the wicket and what we do. But he didn't bowl as much as we would have thought here."

Should Harris be ruled out, the selectors would need to decide between playing an extra spinner or replacing him with a fellow fast bowler. The leading candidates would be Nathan Coulter-Nile and Doug Bollinger, who have been with the squad on standby for the past two Tests, and Lehmann said the pace of both men had impressed him for their state teams this summer.

"They've got wickets for a start," he said. "But also the pleasing thing is the pace. They've got some velocity. That's a really big area for us in our bowling attack. You need to have speed against players these days. Gone are the days when you can bowl 125kph. You need to be 140 if you possibly can. Speed's a really big issue, especially in Australia where you need some velocity on the ball. Mitchell Johnson has shown that. We're looking for blokes who bowl with some pace."

The allrounder James Faulkner could also come into contention, although selection matters will be complicated if Watson is unable to bowl. Watson left the field with a groin problem on the first day in Melbourne and although he did bowl four overs in the second innings his pace was down and he did not appear fluent in his motion, and at times in the field he was clearly chasing balls at significantly reduced pace.

Although Watson played as a specialist batsman on the tour of India earlier this year, it was not a successful experiment. Watson is coming off a second-innings century at the WACA and an unbeaten 83 in Melbourne, but Lehmann hinted that the selectors may need to consider other options if he was unable to bowl.

"What I will say is that he obviously batted very well today and got us across the line, so that was pleasing," Lehmann said. "I think Shane would admit he's been a little bit disappointed with his output at number three. At the end of the day he's an allrounder, has to bowl. But we'll have to have a look at the Sydney wicket and assess all those situations and assess how he's going. If he's not right to do both then we have to look at that. But that's a selection issue we'll come to in the next couple of days."

Australia are yet to name a squad for the Sydney Test.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sleekism on December 31, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Why is Steve OKeefe never mentioned. Easily the best shield bowler this year and has easily the best spin record over the last 3 years, a very handy batsman and good fielder. Yet he never gets mentioned. If Rhino and Watson are injured could we go with: 1. Rogers 2. Warner 3.Doolan 4.Clarke 5.Smith 6.Haddin 7.Faulkner 8.OKeefe 9.Johnson 10.Siddle 11.Lyon Still have 3 quality quicks, a left arm and right arm off spinner plus a part time leggie for what is supposed to be the best turning pitch in Australia.

  • siddhartha87 on December 31, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    lol its funny that people still criticize Watto.He is the 3rd highest run scorer in this twin Ashes with only 17 runs behind Ian Bell.I hope he goes there in 5th tests and scores a massive double hundred

  • StarveTheLizard on December 30, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Just saw a line discussing Hazlewood. Isn't he injured?

  • Scuderi on December 30, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    If it were my call on replacing watson, I would do it by dropping bailey and bringing in faulkner/hughes.

  • VivGilchrist on December 30, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Please, can no-one mention Hazlewood? He is neither good enough for Test cricket or to be at the front of the queue.

  • dunger.bob on December 30, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    @ Jeremy Evans : Yeah, he's a bloody good player young Jimmy. I have really high hopes for him. .. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's something about his game that makes me think he can be something more than just a bit special.

    The only thing that worries me is this perennial 12th man gig he's got. It seems to me he's not actually played many matches at all this summer. .. I don't know about that as a policy. Wouldn't he be better off in domestic cricket getting some overs and batting under his belt. .. I reckon they should just pick the best all round fielder as the 12th man and release everyone else back into the system to get some game time. .. I honestly think he's been robbed of almost a full seasons cricket by carrying the drinks and can't see how that helps hone his considerable skills.

  • zzby on December 30, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Hazelwood and Fawad should be tried in Sydney..

  • on December 30, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    Fuel to any consideration of Faulkner for Sydney if Rhino is rested - Faulkner has only played one test match for Australia, against England at the Oval this year. He dismissed Bell, Prior, Swann and Anderson in the first dig and both Cook and Trott in the second.

  • on December 30, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    The answer = pick James Faulkner. A slippery, left-handed swing bowler and a heavy hitter. Shield player of the year for Tasmania and looking very much like a future superstar.

  • pat_one_back on December 30, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    Watson's proven he can only score well in tests by playing his big shots, he lacks the concentration and technical subtlety to play a long safe test innings. His nudge square has been put away due to LBW dismissals and now he just get's bogged down and nicks off to the big drive under pressure to get bat on ball. It's down to 6 you must go buddy, you can play strokes with freedom down there in offence or rearguard like Hadds does so well. Hughes has to open in SA with Bucky, Warner to 3 and Bailey to focus on our short form teams after Sydney, no shame at all in that. If Watto can't bowl we can swap in a bowling allrounder and bat Hadds up without the major reshuffles that have supported him inappropriately playing only as a batsmen in the past.

  • Sleekism on December 31, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Why is Steve OKeefe never mentioned. Easily the best shield bowler this year and has easily the best spin record over the last 3 years, a very handy batsman and good fielder. Yet he never gets mentioned. If Rhino and Watson are injured could we go with: 1. Rogers 2. Warner 3.Doolan 4.Clarke 5.Smith 6.Haddin 7.Faulkner 8.OKeefe 9.Johnson 10.Siddle 11.Lyon Still have 3 quality quicks, a left arm and right arm off spinner plus a part time leggie for what is supposed to be the best turning pitch in Australia.

  • siddhartha87 on December 31, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    lol its funny that people still criticize Watto.He is the 3rd highest run scorer in this twin Ashes with only 17 runs behind Ian Bell.I hope he goes there in 5th tests and scores a massive double hundred

  • StarveTheLizard on December 30, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Just saw a line discussing Hazlewood. Isn't he injured?

  • Scuderi on December 30, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    If it were my call on replacing watson, I would do it by dropping bailey and bringing in faulkner/hughes.

  • VivGilchrist on December 30, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Please, can no-one mention Hazlewood? He is neither good enough for Test cricket or to be at the front of the queue.

  • dunger.bob on December 30, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    @ Jeremy Evans : Yeah, he's a bloody good player young Jimmy. I have really high hopes for him. .. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's something about his game that makes me think he can be something more than just a bit special.

    The only thing that worries me is this perennial 12th man gig he's got. It seems to me he's not actually played many matches at all this summer. .. I don't know about that as a policy. Wouldn't he be better off in domestic cricket getting some overs and batting under his belt. .. I reckon they should just pick the best all round fielder as the 12th man and release everyone else back into the system to get some game time. .. I honestly think he's been robbed of almost a full seasons cricket by carrying the drinks and can't see how that helps hone his considerable skills.

  • zzby on December 30, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Hazelwood and Fawad should be tried in Sydney..

  • on December 30, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    Fuel to any consideration of Faulkner for Sydney if Rhino is rested - Faulkner has only played one test match for Australia, against England at the Oval this year. He dismissed Bell, Prior, Swann and Anderson in the first dig and both Cook and Trott in the second.

  • on December 30, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    The answer = pick James Faulkner. A slippery, left-handed swing bowler and a heavy hitter. Shield player of the year for Tasmania and looking very much like a future superstar.

  • pat_one_back on December 30, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    Watson's proven he can only score well in tests by playing his big shots, he lacks the concentration and technical subtlety to play a long safe test innings. His nudge square has been put away due to LBW dismissals and now he just get's bogged down and nicks off to the big drive under pressure to get bat on ball. It's down to 6 you must go buddy, you can play strokes with freedom down there in offence or rearguard like Hadds does so well. Hughes has to open in SA with Bucky, Warner to 3 and Bailey to focus on our short form teams after Sydney, no shame at all in that. If Watto can't bowl we can swap in a bowling allrounder and bat Hadds up without the major reshuffles that have supported him inappropriately playing only as a batsmen in the past.

  • heathrf1974 on December 30, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    I would rest Harris if he's not 100% and get him ready for the SA tests. He's our best bowler and too important to risk.

  • on December 30, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    Interesting Boof being critical of Watsons returns, two centuries and this 83 in the last five tests. And that he'd be dropped immediately if he can't bowl. His numbers aren't that bad, I think it's more a question of why on earth he's batting at 3 when he clearly isn't a real batsman. He can slog it out with the best of them, he's great when there's no pressure on him so he can play his shots with freedom, but he's no great batsman, always gonna get out cheaply when he does get out, not an accumulator of runs, he's either hot or he's cold, so why bother with him as a top order batsman?

    I too would have thought there wasn't much point in playing Bailey any longer. Bring in Doolan for his captain, move Watson down to 6 or even 7.

  • on December 30, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    why not rest rogers. He is 36 and has played 9 tests in a row, so must be tired. After 2 years they will need his replacement so why not try one now. Pick maddinson or doolan instead of Watson. He must be tired as well.

  • dunger.bob on December 29, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    "You need some velocity on the ball these days". Is that Boof's way of saying that Chad Sayers is no hope of selection? Chad, excellent bowler though he may be, is not a fast bowler by any means. .. I would have thought skill is the main requirement, but Boof seems to know what he wants.

    Watson is a difficult bloke to replace on a like-for-like basis. .. Impossible at the moment actually. There simply are no other all-rounders in the country who can bowl 15 miserly overs and bat at 3. .. You can't ask Faulkner to bat at 3, that would be suicide.

    If the Rhino is even slightly off peak fitness then rest him for God's sake. We'll need him in Africa and this series is toast so there's nothing to be gained long term by playing him in Sydney. .. Plenty to lose though.

  • Mervo on December 29, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    Johnson is the key man with more than 230 Test wickets. Now a proven performer. The rest would still be bowling to get England out. Bollinger? What about Hazlehurst, Cutting, or Alistair McDermott? Coulter-Nile? Is it all about which state they come from?

  • BlueyCollar on December 29, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    Never been a big fan, but Bollinger is bowling really well at the moment and knowledge of home turf would be another positive.

  • millsy24 on December 29, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    Harris will play. He will be extremely angry if he is left out. Even yesterday after the days play, he said "Let them try and leave me out". If they were going to rest anyone it should have been for Melbourne. The only players that should play the final test are the ones that have won the Ashes back and they are the only ones that should be there when the urn is handed over.

  • pat_one_back on December 29, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    Harris has made it abundantly clear he wants to play and sounded pretty confident of his fitness for Sydney. I hope selectors don't stand in his way. It would be a real shame to alter this winning line up now with 5-0 in their grasp as an unchanged team. Smith & Clarke are up to chipping in a few overs for Watson, Lyon can bowl all day in Syd if Harris can't go the distance. The alternative is to drop Bailey for Faulkner and nudge Haddin up to 6, potentially killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. I'd go Bollinger for Harris if forced to, similar bustle to Harris, hit's the deck hard looking for subtle variation, gets a bit of swing, nasty bouncer and more foot marks for Lyon.

  • anton1234 on December 29, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    I would say Harris is the better bowler than Johnson as he bowls a nice line and length with a bit of swing, mostly at high 80s and the odd few even in the 90s. And even if he doesn't take wickets in a few spells he comes close to taking the edge with a good deal of regularity. However, Johnson has the ability make things happen with sheer pace and bounce and can get inject life even on dull, very batting friendly wickets, like Adelaide. Sidle, Harris and Johnson are a great foil for each other. Shame Harris is 34 and Johnson 32. It would have been good to see these three together another few years.

    I suppose they may play in another Ashes (in England in 2015)

  • on December 29, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    The way this Enghlish side is, does not matter who replaces Harris and Watto. They will be more than handful for this average ENgland side.

  • thejesusofcool on December 29, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    Re Lyndon McPaul

    From what we saw of Bird over here at Durham, I'd forget about him at Test level-one of those dobbers you can't take out of your backyard and expect them to do anything abroad.

    Just like Onions for us or even Philander for the Saffers-just compare his record H & A-there's quite a difference!

    I'm afraid a McGrath comes along once a decade if you're lucky. Though I understand the attraction of such a type of bowler, they still have to have the attitude to root out a side like a quickie, too.

  • blobbyblobby on December 29, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Hughes deserves a chance at 3, Faulkner and Maxwell for Harris and Bailey. Bailey should come back in once Pattinson is fit, but for the fifth test they are going to need another bowler.

  • Jagger on December 29, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    Harris will play in the Sydney Test. "Try and stop me from playing", he said.

  • foeofdevil on December 29, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    Australia must learn lesson as it has a habit of not producing younger talents or making young promising players to have their caps.They experienced the penalty in the beginning of this year when they were less in number of wins in test than Zimbabwe.Let's see whether lessons learnt in the 5th test at SCG.

  • ScottStevo on December 29, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    If all the XI are fit, then the same XI play in Sydney. We need to maintain our policy of continuity where possible. I see no reason in changing a winning team. There's no point 'saving' a player for the SA tour. They need to be playing cricket and be in top form when they hit SA. They also may be injured during training or however else, so if they're fit, they play - it's that simple. If Harris isn't fit to play then NCN shouldn't even get a sniff. We've already seen a horror show from him this series and he wasn't even selected to play! He's not good enough for test cricket, nor ODI or that matter. If Pattinson or Bird are bowling, then they should return to the side before either going back to Dougie or looking at NCN. If Watson is injured then we can try one of many batsmen then we give Hughes another go, or Lynn or Burns.

  • Cricmaths123 on December 29, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    With the ashes series already won 4-0, i don't think that resting some players is a bad idea. Australia can try someone like Nic Maddinson or Philip Hughes instead of Shane Watson. James Faulkner could come in for George Bailey because he is not a test cricket material. And for Ryan Harris there are lots of good fast bowlers like Chadd Sayers, Ben Cutting or Jackson bird. Watson and Harris are very valuable players and it is important that they stay fit for S.A tour.

  • anton1234 on December 29, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    Coulter-Nile has to play if Harris is to be rested. Jackson Bird looked highly ineffective in the extremely helpful conditions in Durham, probably one of the best grounds in the world for his type of bowling. The guy balls around 82 mph, which is good enough at FC cricket but not in the test arena. Bollinger won't be a bad shout either, as he has some pace.

  • williamsmj79 on December 29, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    I don't know what the issue with Watson as a specialist batsmen is. He has the second best average of any number 3 in 2013 (with at least 3 games), only second to India's Pujara. Now that he has momentum in this position, I wouldn't change it.

    He has a better average in this series than both Smith & Bailey. If you want to bring in a all-rounder to cover for Watson, surely it's Bailey in the firing line.

  • BradmanBestEver on December 29, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Faulkner for Watto, Maddinson for Bailey, Cutting for Harris

    Bailey is another Marcus North so let us not wait for another 10 tests to realize that he can not cut the mustard at test level.

    Dougie has been tried - Cutting has more promise

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    Now that the series is well and truly won. It would be a good idea to bring in some new faces and an audition for South Africa. Bring in Phil Hughes for Watson and chad Sayers for Harris. George Bailey is not upto test standard and may have overstayed his welcome in the Australian test side. Callum ferguson has had a good season and is a consistent middle order batsman. Maybe worth a look at test level.

    My 11 for Sydney

    Warner Rodgers Hughes (replaces Watson) Clarke Smith Callum ferguson (replaces Bailey) Haddin Johnson Siddle Lyon Chad Sayers (replaces Harris)

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Agree, Lyndon.

    It's frankly bizarre what's coming out of Lehman's mouth about the necessity of pace. I think when he really means is "you have to be bloody fast, if you're not good enough to be a top accuracy bowler".

    You need to look no further than Philander, the top ranked bowler in the world right now, to find an example of the importance of skill and accuracy beyond simple pace.

    Pace has done well for Australia this summer, with Johnson having a frankly miraculous series. They should do well on similar pitches in South Africa as well.. but elsewhere in the world (e.g. next Ashes), I'd really wonder.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 29, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    If Watson isn't fit then Hughes has to be picked. He is by far the best batsmen in the country, not in the test team. He was stuffed around in England. SInce then he was given simple instructions by Boof: score runs. He has since scored 3 centuries in 5 games.

    If another top order batsmen is picked ahead of Hughes I will stop watching test cricket.

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Faulkner in for Watson. Coulter-Nille in for Harris.

    Done.

  • CoolBananas on December 29, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    I think the same team for 5 tests is very important to this Australian side. After some division between captain and players they clearly play as a team. I think winning 5-0 with the same 11 may never have been done ( stats head please advise ). Harris clearly expects to be fit for Sydney and Smith and Clarke may be suited to a few overs on the Sydney wicket if Watto is a bit sore. They DESERVE to finish it off as the one unit. Let this 11 that has given us Aussies so much joy this summer finish what they started and then lets plan for South Africa.

  • whofriggincares on December 29, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    @LyndonMcpaul, great post absolutely spot on. Having genuine pace in the attack is a must but your whole attack doesn't have to be express, Philander being a perfect example. If Mitch was in doubt you would be looking for as quick as you could get but to replace Harris I would be looking for control and movement. As much as it pains me to say it we have to rest Harris for this next test, he is so important to our hopes of knocking the saffers off in this upcoming series. He will hate it but he has to think about the feeling that will come from beating the number 1 and clearly best team in the world ATM.

  • VivGilchrist on December 29, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    @Matt Gibb, thanks for your question, but I don't think it's a problem as these guys aren't "bits and pieces" players but rather can get chosen in there strongest discipline on merit. MJ is chosen as a bowler. The fact the he is handy with the bat is a bonus. OKeefe is the best Domestic spinner in the country, his record by Australian Domestic standards is in the upper echelon, the fact that he is handy with the bat is a bonus. Faulkner gives us the 3rd seamer option and on current form we lose nothing with him coming in for Bailey. It's a horses for courses line up for a SCG wicket.

  • OneEyedAussie on December 29, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Harris was obviously struggling a bit in Melbourne. Better to rest him I think when there are in-form replacements available.

  • jonesy2 on December 29, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    whats the latest with the young-gun bowling brigade? is bird fit? what are pattinsons, starcs and cummins timelines?

  • jonesy2 on December 29, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    SOK to come in for harris? he so deserves it. then hughes in for Watson if hes not fit. is Faulkner fit? if not then id bring in mitch marsh to bat at 6 and bowl. Warner, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, M Marsh, Haddin, O'Keefe/Cutting/Coulter-Nile, Johnson, Siddle, Lyon. that's allrounders down to number 9 which gives batting plenty of depth.

  • PrasPunter on December 29, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Dougy Bollinger for Harris and Faulkner for Watto. I don't buy the 2 spinner theory for a must-win match. 3 pacers + 1 spinner worked like a charm even in Adelaide - why change that.

  • anton1234 on December 29, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Makes sense to rest Harris with SA coming up. Would definitely play Coulter-Nile ahead of not Bollinger. Nile is one for the future. Watson is 50-50. If he is fit then he should play, if is he isn't, then should be rested. Watson looks so much a better player when he is looking to score rather than trying to play too much like a 'batsman'.

  • on December 29, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    I think Lehmann is putting too much emphasis on the top bracket of pace and therefore in danger of excluding those that dont quite make it into the top bracket but still have the potential to be devastating bowlers. With this policy he would deny a young Glenn McGrath a spot in the team and might also look past the very promising Jackson Bird.A bowlers biggest asset is the ability to move the ball both ways consistently whether it by by swing or off the seam or both and if they can do that at 135+ and maintain that pace all day then they can be as good as anyone. OTOH; if someone bowls gunbarrell straight all day at 140+ then they arent going to threaten the wicket of anyone decent. For a newball bowler (replacing Harris); they must be accurate enough to bowl the channel, making the batsmen play many balls and exploit the conditions. This ideally might put someone such as Ben cutting or Jackson Bird ahead of someone like Coulter-nile despite being 8-10k's slower on average.

  • cnksnk on December 29, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    In all this does the players view point count. My feel from what I read is that Harris does not want to rest and wants to be on the field even if there is a chance that his knee will not hold up some time in the future. If the medicos feel that Harris is fit I do not see Harris putting up his hand and asking for rest. In this scenario do you still put him in cotton wool and rest him or allow him to play , especially when he feels up to it. Safa tour is close to 45 days away and there is time for Harris to recover unless he goes under the knife. My two bits is that he should play the test if he is fit but be given complete time off from the ODI's and T 20 's that follow. Aussies have the boot on the throat and I see no sense in taking it off.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 29, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    We need Harris for S.A. Amla, Smith and deveilliers will be difficult to get out. If Watson was a all rounder he would be batting at 6. With him batting at 3 it means he is a batsman who bowls a bit. If he can bat then he should play.

    For the fifth test a specialist quick to replace Harris, Haddin at 6, Bailey out and a bowling all rounder at 7.

  • Front-Foot-Lunch on December 29, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    @Biggus, Lehmann will talk about bowling Harris if he's fit but only a madman would do that in the context of this series and the coming SA series. We have to treat the Sydney game as a friendly, in order to have a plan B if Harris is unable to play the full series in SA. I wouldn't mind seeing Hughes come in at three and rest Watson as a precautionary measure.

  • s.sreekant on December 29, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    there is no need to risk them....but if watson can bat let him be in the team. I do not want to see 30's sum bollinger back in the team,we want youngster like nile playing having a feel for international cricket.if it doe s not work for him he can improve his cricket and come back strong but it will not be the case for bollinger,even if he do succeed he will not be in the team for long as there are others in line like pattinson,starc. So it is not good to waste a test match n give a chance to rising player!!!!

  • on December 29, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @VivGilchrist: I do like your team, but I have one question for you. What're you going to do with the 4 all-rounders in the team (Faulkner, O'Keefe, Johnson and Watson)? Even if Watson just bats, he's still an all-rounder. Also, what has Bailey done (besides not score many runs) to be dropped from your team?

  • greatshinwari on December 29, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    watson should be rested for the limited overs games...both T20's and ODIs...bailey should play @ 3 and faulkner should come at 7..he is gud prospect for future..he needs some matches to play...Harris should be replaced by Sayers or jackson bird in order to keep him fit for SA series....

  • on December 29, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    What are your thoughts on Bailey Brydon? There must be a chance that he goes out and Faulkner comes in, and then Harris can be replaced by a spinner, though who is the number 2 spinner??

  • Matt.au on December 29, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Bollinger on his home ground makes a lot of sense. He is a good bowler, in form.

    I fear for Baileys' place in the team, I just don't see him as a test player. I think Sydney would have been the perfect place to bring Phil Hughes back in. If Watson and Harris are rested, dropping Bailey may be one change too many.

    Regardless of Watsons' effort today, moving him to No 5 gives him more time to recover from bowling and fielding.

    I'd like to see the batting line up of:

    Warner Rodgers Hughes Clarke Watson Smith Haddin

  • on December 29, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Two issues stand out to me here. Firstly, who are you going to replace Watson with if he's not fit? James Faulkner? Not a bad option, but I'm still loathe to bat Haddin at 6 when he's been so good at 7. A batsman? If you replace Watson with a batsman, you'd better hope that Smith stops bowling half trackers and full tosses all the time.

    Secondly, if you replace Harris with a spinner, who replaces him? Fawad Ahmed? He's certainly done nothing to really warrant selection. Nathan Hauritz? Cameron Boyce? Steve O'Keefe? None of those really stick out in terms of grabbing headlines for their bowling of late with O'Keefe being the only real exception, but even he hasn't played much of late. No, I think you're better off replacing Harris with a bowler who can bat a bit (like Cutting) and leaving Smith, Clarke, Warner and whoever else they have to pick up the role of second spinner.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  • VivGilchrist on December 29, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Watson played the perfect no3 innings today. He kept the momentum going with Rogers when England still were very much in the game. I would love to see OKeefe come in and bowl in tandem with Lyon in Sydney, with maybe Haddin to no6 and Faulkner at 7. A team with 5 genuine bowling options really puts the batting team under pressure. 1 Warner 2 Rogers 3 Watson 4 Clarke 5 Smith 6 Haddin 7 Faulkner 8 OKeefe 9 Johnson 10 Siddle 11 Lyon. Let's not risk Harris, we're going to need him fit for South Africa.

  • aussie1993 on December 29, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    what about ben hilfenhaus,starc,

  • Biggus on December 29, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I'd rest Harris either way. He's far too important to lose in the last test of a won series, and I'd hate to have to take on the Saffers without him. It's a no-brainer I reckon.

  • on December 29, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Sayers is the leading wicket taker for pace bowlers in shield cricket this year. Have to give him a run

  • on December 29, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    To all the Watson nay-sayers out there, you can't say that his 83 runs in this run chase were pointless. However, he is in the side as an all-rounder and it is really hard to justify his place if he can't bowl. He is actually a really valuable and canny bowler. Maybe rest him and get him right for South Africa.

  • on December 29, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Bollinger and coulter-nile are overrated. Bring in chad Sayers if Harris can't play

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  • on December 29, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Bollinger and coulter-nile are overrated. Bring in chad Sayers if Harris can't play

  • on December 29, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    To all the Watson nay-sayers out there, you can't say that his 83 runs in this run chase were pointless. However, he is in the side as an all-rounder and it is really hard to justify his place if he can't bowl. He is actually a really valuable and canny bowler. Maybe rest him and get him right for South Africa.

  • on December 29, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Sayers is the leading wicket taker for pace bowlers in shield cricket this year. Have to give him a run

  • Biggus on December 29, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I'd rest Harris either way. He's far too important to lose in the last test of a won series, and I'd hate to have to take on the Saffers without him. It's a no-brainer I reckon.

  • aussie1993 on December 29, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    what about ben hilfenhaus,starc,

  • VivGilchrist on December 29, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Watson played the perfect no3 innings today. He kept the momentum going with Rogers when England still were very much in the game. I would love to see OKeefe come in and bowl in tandem with Lyon in Sydney, with maybe Haddin to no6 and Faulkner at 7. A team with 5 genuine bowling options really puts the batting team under pressure. 1 Warner 2 Rogers 3 Watson 4 Clarke 5 Smith 6 Haddin 7 Faulkner 8 OKeefe 9 Johnson 10 Siddle 11 Lyon. Let's not risk Harris, we're going to need him fit for South Africa.

  • on December 29, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Two issues stand out to me here. Firstly, who are you going to replace Watson with if he's not fit? James Faulkner? Not a bad option, but I'm still loathe to bat Haddin at 6 when he's been so good at 7. A batsman? If you replace Watson with a batsman, you'd better hope that Smith stops bowling half trackers and full tosses all the time.

    Secondly, if you replace Harris with a spinner, who replaces him? Fawad Ahmed? He's certainly done nothing to really warrant selection. Nathan Hauritz? Cameron Boyce? Steve O'Keefe? None of those really stick out in terms of grabbing headlines for their bowling of late with O'Keefe being the only real exception, but even he hasn't played much of late. No, I think you're better off replacing Harris with a bowler who can bat a bit (like Cutting) and leaving Smith, Clarke, Warner and whoever else they have to pick up the role of second spinner.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  • Matt.au on December 29, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Bollinger on his home ground makes a lot of sense. He is a good bowler, in form.

    I fear for Baileys' place in the team, I just don't see him as a test player. I think Sydney would have been the perfect place to bring Phil Hughes back in. If Watson and Harris are rested, dropping Bailey may be one change too many.

    Regardless of Watsons' effort today, moving him to No 5 gives him more time to recover from bowling and fielding.

    I'd like to see the batting line up of:

    Warner Rodgers Hughes Clarke Watson Smith Haddin

  • on December 29, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    What are your thoughts on Bailey Brydon? There must be a chance that he goes out and Faulkner comes in, and then Harris can be replaced by a spinner, though who is the number 2 spinner??

  • greatshinwari on December 29, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    watson should be rested for the limited overs games...both T20's and ODIs...bailey should play @ 3 and faulkner should come at 7..he is gud prospect for future..he needs some matches to play...Harris should be replaced by Sayers or jackson bird in order to keep him fit for SA series....