Somerset v Australians, Taunton, 3rd day June 28, 2013

Hughes among several Australian positives

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Australians 321 for 5 dec and 36 for 0 need another 224 runs to beat Somerset 320 and 260 (Hildreth 75, Trego 60)
Scorecard

James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes and Nathan Lyon have all shown their desire to be part of Australia's team for the first Test against England with heartening displays at Taunton. Having seen off a twilight commencement to their chase of 260 to defeat a doughty Somerset, Ed Cowan and Usman Khawaja will hope to join them on the final day, but concern may be growing over Peter Siddle's place.

While Nick Compton's efforts to turn the heads of the England selectors were curtailed by a debatable lbw decision, Hughes made sound first innings runs before Pattinson and Starc used the old ball almost as effectively as they had harnessed its newer relative on the first evening. Lyon spun the ball usefully and harvested three wickets, though he was slapped to the fence four times in one over by Peter Trego at the end.

The Australian declaration when only one run on from Somerset's first innings and Trego's late afternoon entertainment kept the game open, sating the wish of the captain Michael Clarke, his deputy Brad Haddin and the new coach Darren Lehmann to gain relevant information about the younger players under their command in pressured fourth innings situations.

James Faulkner was serviceable with bat and ball but Siddle remained short of rhythm and direction, leaving Lehmann and the selector on duty, Rod Marsh, to ponder using him against Worcestershire. Siddle's struggles were puzzling given that he is not coming off an injury and has been in the country for nearly a month with Australia A but he has trailed Pattinson and Starc by a distance in terms of threat.

The day had begun badly for Haddin, who found himself outsmarted by Jamie Overton, the first ball of the day whirring full and straight into the wicketkeeper's pads for a swift lbw verdict. Faulkner then played neatly as 55 runs were collected.

Hughes' innings was most notable for the comfort with which he played in a lower posting. Though an aversion to spin is well known, Hughes handled the left-arm slow bowling of the Irishman George Dockrell soundly enough, while driving and pulling the pacemen with some relish. He might have been momentarily miffed to be called in when a century beckoned, but, with 21 first-class hundreds already, he does not share Shane Watson's problems of conversion.

Siddle and Faulkner shared the new ball over Pattinson and Starc, a sign that Lehmann and company were keen to observe all their charges with a brand new Dukes ball in hand. Neither was to be particularly impressive in the brief spell up to lunch, however, and afterwards it was Pattinson who struck, tempting Marcus Trescothick to flirt at an angled ball. Trescothick chose to walk after a thin edge, something Pattinson was momentarily oblivious to as he prolonged a vehement appeal with his back turned to Somerset's captain.

Compton's wicket was somewhat due for Lyon after a very adjacent appeal had been turned down on day one, but the batsman did not appear happy at the verdict, the ball angled in the general direction of leg stump. The first-innings centurion Chris Jones had less reason to complain, unable to get his bat down in time on a Pattinson yorker speared in at middle and off, and Craig Kieswetter was similarly confounded, his off stump neatly plucked.

Pattinson had started to gain some reverse swing, and Starc was soon to show his ability to exploit the old ball's bend. There was the whiff of Wasim Akram about the two deliveries that opened up Alex Barrow and George Dockrell. The first from over the wicket started outside leg stump and swerved to clip off. For the second Starc had moved to around and straightened the ball on to a line that Dockrell's bat was never more than vaguely in the vicinity of.

At the other end Lyon worked through a fruitful spell, gaining spin and bounce to add another two wickets to his tally. A fluent James Hildreth was perhaps unfortunate, scorching a short ball towards midwicket where Hughes juggled the chance before clutching it in one hand, but Craig Meschede was genuinely beaten by spin and pace off the pitch.

At 183 for 8, the visitors' chase looked like being a meagre one, but Trego and Gemaal Hussain ensured that there was enough room in the chase for one or two hundreds to be made by batsmen who need them. Cowan and Khawaja completed the first part of the job, but it is by building a substantial score on day four that they can follow others in showing their worth to the Test XI.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY runout49 on | June 29, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    While one Somerset doesn't make a summer, some good signs for Australia.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | June 29, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @landl47 on (June 29, 2013, 5:15 GMT) I disagree RE: Faulkner. He's done alright but with Watson also offering a bowling option it may be overkill to pick what may amount to a fifth seamer. Especially as Trent Bridge is likely to swing, so the seam bowlers will get plenty of assistance, but so will England's (especially Jimmy). I can see him going for the "don't lose first, then try to win" mentality and playing Usman Khawaja, now that he got some runs today, at 6 with Rogers at 3 to shield Hughes from the new ball. Like you I reckon he'll stick with Cowan and Watson to open.

    At Lords, where the pitch is generally good for batting, he may feel the need for an extra bowler, especially if the series is still level, but if they manage to take a lead, he may stick with the stronger batting unit and force England to have to bowl out 7 specialist batsmen (and strong tail) twice.

    I agree that one of Siddle or Bird will play with Starc and Pattinson. Think he may look at Bird again at Worcs.

  • POSTED BY TeamRocker on | June 29, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    @ landl47: I know that, but I'm not making a team before watching the next warm up against the Worcs. I've mentioned that in the comment too. A slash indicates that the decision is pending, and will be made on the basis of the warm up.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | June 29, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    @disco_bob as an England fan, the exact opposite for me. I was quietly confident we'd win the home series and probably draw the away series. Now I'd take a draw in this one and worry that the away series could well be another demolition job. It probably won't be another 5-0 but I can see it coming close. Just goes to show how fickle this game really is.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | June 29, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Comments on comments: @PrasPunter: the problem with your bowling line-up is that it's fine provided England is bowled out in 60 overs every innings, but horribly vulnerable if England bats for 120 overs. Pattinson, Harris and Starc are all strike bowlers,they simply can't be effective bowling 20 overs a day and even that would still leave Lyon bowling 30 overs a day in English conditions. If you're prepared to take the risk, good for you. The side you've picked will either win big or go down to a massive defeat. I suspect Lehmann is more prudent and will want Siddle in (probably for Harris) to put in the hard toil test cricket requires. I don't see Bird being picked ahead of Siddle.

    @TeamRocker: picking a team requires naming eleven players, not putting down 15 names and saying this would be my team. If you want to pick your side, leave out the 4 you think shouldn't play. That's what Lehmann will have to do.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | June 29, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @PFEL I get what you're saying about Hughes but the stats don't tell the whole story. He looked tentative and unsure of himself and when he's like that he's a walking wicket. With a technique like his, Hughes has to back himself and keep playing his shots. This time around he looks much more confident and if he can keep that up, he'll be a threat. It's easy to forget that in 2009 he was 20, and at that age sometimes the intensity of the international game can get to you and make you doubt yourself. He's 24 now, a much more mature player, and it shows.

    Someone mentioned Botham and Vaughan's comments about how bad Australia are. They also said England were the best Test side in the world (they aren't, as South Africa proved) and were odds-on favourites to win the Champions Trophy (and that India wouldn't come close). There's a worrying amount of confidence among England fans right now and I hope it doesn't extend to the team. This is Australia; write them off at your peril.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | June 29, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    A couple of months ago I was not looking forward to what was shaping up to be an Ashes drubbing. The current squad ain't too shabby looking and I am hesitatingly confident. Carna Pies.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | June 29, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @Someguy, with his centuries against WI and SL when we were struggling, Wade sort of indicated that he would come good in high-pressure situations. But he seems to have lost it off-late. And he was horrible with gloves as well which makes it all the more difficult for him.

    I agree with you about Paine - he should have been in when Haddin was out but unfortunate to get affected by injuries. In any case, he should be in the team setup when Haddin retires in a couple of years time.

  • POSTED BY dwblurb on | June 29, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    @reddawn1975 "On the other hand there isa very talented man called Shaun Marsh going to waste"

    I don't think many people doubt Shaun Marsh's talent. What he needs to do, however, is MAKE SOME RUNS in first-class cricket. His FC record is not that of a Test player, and last season's output was worse than usual. A few scores in T20 shouldn't obscure those facts. In my opinion he has not been helped by the tendency of the selectors to pick him for Australia every time he shows a glimpse of form, rather than making him put a couple of solid years of Shield scores behind him before hoping for selection. I feel they are now making the same mistake with his brother who, whilst outrageously talented, needs to develop a defence if he is to succeed at FC level, let alone international.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | June 29, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Patto, Rhino, Starc and Lyon shall be our bowlers - Patto and Rhino are automatic choices . Going by this report, Starc seems to be hitting the rhythm. And we need variety in our attack. So he shall come in for Siddle. Lyon has given a very account of himself with his 3 wickets. So our bowling lineup is settled.

    Watto/Cowan/Khawaja/Clarke/Hughes/Rogers/Haddin shall be the batting lineup. A good mix of right-left combination throughout the lineup. Bird/ Siddle shall be considered only if one of the top four gets injured. Given that Patto, Rhino and Starc can bat as well, this squad I think will have the kind of balance. If we must play 5 bowlers, bring in Bird for Cowan and move Rogers up the order. Job done !!

  • POSTED BY runout49 on | June 29, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    While one Somerset doesn't make a summer, some good signs for Australia.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | June 29, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @landl47 on (June 29, 2013, 5:15 GMT) I disagree RE: Faulkner. He's done alright but with Watson also offering a bowling option it may be overkill to pick what may amount to a fifth seamer. Especially as Trent Bridge is likely to swing, so the seam bowlers will get plenty of assistance, but so will England's (especially Jimmy). I can see him going for the "don't lose first, then try to win" mentality and playing Usman Khawaja, now that he got some runs today, at 6 with Rogers at 3 to shield Hughes from the new ball. Like you I reckon he'll stick with Cowan and Watson to open.

    At Lords, where the pitch is generally good for batting, he may feel the need for an extra bowler, especially if the series is still level, but if they manage to take a lead, he may stick with the stronger batting unit and force England to have to bowl out 7 specialist batsmen (and strong tail) twice.

    I agree that one of Siddle or Bird will play with Starc and Pattinson. Think he may look at Bird again at Worcs.

  • POSTED BY TeamRocker on | June 29, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    @ landl47: I know that, but I'm not making a team before watching the next warm up against the Worcs. I've mentioned that in the comment too. A slash indicates that the decision is pending, and will be made on the basis of the warm up.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | June 29, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    @disco_bob as an England fan, the exact opposite for me. I was quietly confident we'd win the home series and probably draw the away series. Now I'd take a draw in this one and worry that the away series could well be another demolition job. It probably won't be another 5-0 but I can see it coming close. Just goes to show how fickle this game really is.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | June 29, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Comments on comments: @PrasPunter: the problem with your bowling line-up is that it's fine provided England is bowled out in 60 overs every innings, but horribly vulnerable if England bats for 120 overs. Pattinson, Harris and Starc are all strike bowlers,they simply can't be effective bowling 20 overs a day and even that would still leave Lyon bowling 30 overs a day in English conditions. If you're prepared to take the risk, good for you. The side you've picked will either win big or go down to a massive defeat. I suspect Lehmann is more prudent and will want Siddle in (probably for Harris) to put in the hard toil test cricket requires. I don't see Bird being picked ahead of Siddle.

    @TeamRocker: picking a team requires naming eleven players, not putting down 15 names and saying this would be my team. If you want to pick your side, leave out the 4 you think shouldn't play. That's what Lehmann will have to do.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | June 29, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @PFEL I get what you're saying about Hughes but the stats don't tell the whole story. He looked tentative and unsure of himself and when he's like that he's a walking wicket. With a technique like his, Hughes has to back himself and keep playing his shots. This time around he looks much more confident and if he can keep that up, he'll be a threat. It's easy to forget that in 2009 he was 20, and at that age sometimes the intensity of the international game can get to you and make you doubt yourself. He's 24 now, a much more mature player, and it shows.

    Someone mentioned Botham and Vaughan's comments about how bad Australia are. They also said England were the best Test side in the world (they aren't, as South Africa proved) and were odds-on favourites to win the Champions Trophy (and that India wouldn't come close). There's a worrying amount of confidence among England fans right now and I hope it doesn't extend to the team. This is Australia; write them off at your peril.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | June 29, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    A couple of months ago I was not looking forward to what was shaping up to be an Ashes drubbing. The current squad ain't too shabby looking and I am hesitatingly confident. Carna Pies.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | June 29, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @Someguy, with his centuries against WI and SL when we were struggling, Wade sort of indicated that he would come good in high-pressure situations. But he seems to have lost it off-late. And he was horrible with gloves as well which makes it all the more difficult for him.

    I agree with you about Paine - he should have been in when Haddin was out but unfortunate to get affected by injuries. In any case, he should be in the team setup when Haddin retires in a couple of years time.

  • POSTED BY dwblurb on | June 29, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    @reddawn1975 "On the other hand there isa very talented man called Shaun Marsh going to waste"

    I don't think many people doubt Shaun Marsh's talent. What he needs to do, however, is MAKE SOME RUNS in first-class cricket. His FC record is not that of a Test player, and last season's output was worse than usual. A few scores in T20 shouldn't obscure those facts. In my opinion he has not been helped by the tendency of the selectors to pick him for Australia every time he shows a glimpse of form, rather than making him put a couple of solid years of Shield scores behind him before hoping for selection. I feel they are now making the same mistake with his brother who, whilst outrageously talented, needs to develop a defence if he is to succeed at FC level, let alone international.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | June 29, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Patto, Rhino, Starc and Lyon shall be our bowlers - Patto and Rhino are automatic choices . Going by this report, Starc seems to be hitting the rhythm. And we need variety in our attack. So he shall come in for Siddle. Lyon has given a very account of himself with his 3 wickets. So our bowling lineup is settled.

    Watto/Cowan/Khawaja/Clarke/Hughes/Rogers/Haddin shall be the batting lineup. A good mix of right-left combination throughout the lineup. Bird/ Siddle shall be considered only if one of the top four gets injured. Given that Patto, Rhino and Starc can bat as well, this squad I think will have the kind of balance. If we must play 5 bowlers, bring in Bird for Cowan and move Rogers up the order. Job done !!

  • POSTED BY Reverend-Cavalier on | June 29, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    I'm interested in seeing how Rogers goes in the next game. His current season County form has been very good and he is familiar with the Test grounds and probably more familiar with the English style of cricket than others. Given that he has been selected in the squad to actually play the Tests, not withstanding the opinion Boof has on Khawaja through Qld cricket, I would like to see a First test team of 1. Watson 2. Rogers 3. Clarke 4. Khawaja 5. Hughes 6. Warner 7. Haddin 8. Pattinson 9. Starc 10. Lyon 11. Harris

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | June 29, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    There has been a heavy media feast on everything that has gone wrong with the AUS team and everything they predict/assume will go wrong in the future. This has created a massive distortion in the reality of the team, which has plenty of strong points, and plenty of potential. There's a lot of uncertainty, for sure. But one terrible series does not define the team any more than any of the bad series other teams have had in the past couple of years define them, including England. It's just that we know what to expect from England. They have had basically the same unit for the best part of 5 years. As far as I'm concerned unpredictability makes things more interesting.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | June 29, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Spot on Amith, agree 100%, lets hope he kicks on today, i would also like to see Cowan get a big one.

  • POSTED BY scarab666 on | June 29, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    It seems quite obvious that the Lehmann effect is starting to work on this team and we might now have a chance for the Ashes. Lets hope the selectors get the combo right for the first test. The first test XI should be Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith (Warner) , Haddin, Faulkner, Pattinson, Starc, Harris, Lyon. Siddle is out of form and not suited to English pitches, Johnson days are truly numbered, Khawaja and Cowan are not up to test standard. Warner is bracketed in his best test position if he is to return to the team.

  • POSTED BY TeamRocker on | June 29, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Give Pattinson and Lyon a break in the match against the Worcs. I would go in with a team of Watson, Cowan, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Harris, Bird, Siddle, Starc. Then depending on how they perform, this would be my team for the first match:

    Batting: Watson, Rogers, Cowan/Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Faulkner, Haddin. Bowling: Pattinson, Bird/Harris, Siddle/Starc and Lyon

  • POSTED BY luks on | June 29, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    I don't quite understand why Australia is persisting with Hughes and Cowan? Didn't they prove, beyond doubt, in the India tour that they can't play international cricket? I don't believe that Australia doesn't have better batsmen than those two in their ranks. Even if they don't, they would be better off grooming a young batsman while Watson and Warner open.

  • POSTED BY on | June 29, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    I want to see Pattinson, Harris, Bird and Agar as the Bowlers for the next warm up game.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | June 29, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Good practice outing for Aus, although the opposition isn't exactly top class (and the two quality players in the Somerset side, Compton and Hildreth, have both had good games). Still, putting the overs in and spending time at the crease are what counts.

    I wouldn't read too much into this game as far as selecting the test side is concerned, though. My guess is the side is pretty much set by now. The bowlers will likely be Siddle, Pattinson, Starc and Lyon and the batsmen Watson, Cowan, Hughes and Clarke, with Haddin as W/K. The only issue is whether to pick two out of Khawaja, Rogers and Smith, or pick one of them and take Faulkner in as #7/4th seamer. I'm guessing Boof may go with Faulkner, since Siddle, Pattinson and Starc can all hold a bat and Faulkner hasn't done himself any harm in this game.

    Still, Lehmann is new to the job and we don't know which way he is leaning yet. He might have other ideas completely.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | June 29, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    @jmcillhinney and Chris_P: I'm another who thinks there are lots worse options than Hildreth out there. Let's look at two players: Player A is 28 years old, career FC batting average of 42.96, 28 centuries. Player B, also 28, career FC batting average of 36.05, 8 centuries. Player A is never spoken of at all as a possible test selection; player B has fans asking every single day why he isn't in the test squad. Player A, of course, is Hildreth. Player B is Callum Ferguson.

    Hildreth just took 66 and 75 off what is quite likely to be the Aus attack in the first test. He'd be far from the worst player ever to put on an England cap.

  • POSTED BY on | June 29, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    If I were to be in charge of selection (and it is probably good that I am not) then from the CURRENT Australian squad I would pick, for the next warm-up match, in batting order: 1) Khawaja [3/4]; 2) Warner [3/4]; 3) Hughes [3/4]; 4) Cowan [3]; 5) Rogers [4/6]; 6) Smith [6/4th bowler]; 7) Faulkner [6/4th bowler]; 8) Wade(c) [2]; 9) Siddle [4th bowler]; 10) Agar [4th bowler]; 11) Bird [4th bowler] with all (except Wade whom I have penciled in as an opener) competing for one or two of positions in the first test team [as indicated]. My team for the ashes would then be: Batters: Watson; Wade; {Hughes/Kawaja/Warner/Cowan}; {Hughes/Kawaja/Warner/Rogers}; Clarke (c); {Rogers/Smith/Faulkner}; Haddin (wk); Bowlers: Pattinson; Starc; {Siddle/Bird/Agar/Faulkner/Smith}; Lyon; Watson; {Smith/Faulkner} if batting at no 6

  • POSTED BY PFEL on | June 29, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    @popcorn, you're insinuating that Hughes struggled in the 2009 ashes. Wrong. He was made a scapegoat. He played 2 tests, 3 innings, 1 of which he was given out incorrectly. So he got out twice. Big whoop. Anyone can get out twice. If they had have stuck with him who knows what he could have done in the remainder of the series.

  • POSTED BY Amith_S on | June 29, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Good to see a balanced performance by our boys, hopefully Cowan and Khawaja get some runs tomorrow as both are needed for the ashes. I am predicting that Khawaja and Watson will provide great support to Clarke, Khawaja in particular has been 12th man for like 4 months so i really hope he can make this series his own and with Arthur gone he may actually get a fair chance to do so.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | June 29, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    My XI: Watson, Rogers, Cowan, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Pattinson, Starc, Harris, Lyon

    The team pretty much picks itself really. Watson, Rogers and Cowan should be put on notice that whoever of them does the worst will be replaced by Warner for the 2nd test.

  • POSTED BY Rowayton on | June 29, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    One comment on the report, which described Hildreth as unfortunate. Look I might be channelling a famous Don Bradman quote here, but if you hit the ball in the air and get caught, you are not unfortunate.

  • POSTED BY Benkl on | June 29, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    Bloody Hell .

    Bird maybe appropriate but Ryan was the #1 Australian bowler before injury , he is handy with the bat and got 5 wickets in his last match for Australia A. Cant give it to Bird unless he does something special in a county game.

    You could play Patterson / Bird / Rhino ..

  • POSTED BY Benkl on | June 29, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    What about Rhino if he is anywhere close to fit he should get a place..when he was fit he was our best bowler. Next match .. The problem is we need a bowler which can bowl 30+ overs if the english get on top and its nor Rhino , Starc or Patterson.

    If your going to take a 25-30 average medium pacer like Faulkner , i think your better of with Siddle .

    Next county game. Patterson rests .. Rhino in , Bird in . Smith in , Rogers in .

    Agree Cowen and Rogers are fighting for a spot , Cowen should get it unless its a very nasty pitch in which case you pick Cowen.

    Cant see Warner getting in ..

    Test side Rogers or Cowan on a bad pitch *Watson ( who will bowl) *Clarke ( clarke drops to 4 if there is an early wick) Khawaja or Warner , warner shoould get it . Hughes *Haddin Smith *Patterson *Lyon Stark Harris ( if fit if not Siddle) * certainties

    Zeyad68 why on earth would try Wade as an opener when there are like 6 openers including Rogers who is the #1 county playe

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | June 29, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Siddle is the only player yet to find some sort of form on this tour but I'd still pick him. If nothing else he is a leader and can contribute with the bat but more than that he is a big game player who will be at his best on the greatest stage. Siddle has been Australia's best bowler in recent times. Don't let a few warm ups cloud your judgements on him.

  • POSTED BY reddawn1975 on | June 29, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    I really think Ed Cowan needs to be dropped he really hasn't done enough with the bat to warrant a place in the side he is a weak link.On the other hand there isa very talented man called Shaun Marsh going to waste.And there other really really big one is Mitch Johnson his form since returning into the Australian side has been out standing keeping the batsmen jumping allowing his fellow bowlers to pick up some wickets i really hope Boof gets him in to this squad.The player is Wade tends to be quite mouthy bats ok cannot keep to save himself i believe Haddin would be a better choice or if Australia was really thinking of it's future go with the class of Tim Paine

  • POSTED BY on | June 29, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Don't get me wrong; I am a great fan of Siddle. He has matured spectacularly from his early outings both with the ball and the bat and is the most experienced paceman that Oz has. The issue for me is that he has only taken a few wickets in the warmup games against less quality opposition than Eng are likely to provide. For some reason he's bowling a lot more no balls which indicates he is not at 100%. Against any other opposition the selectors should back his experience, but since everyone concerned needs to bring their A game I feel that he is just slightly edged out on this occasion by Bird and Harris. Starc is a great prospect but if he doesn't get it 100% right with no margin for error that's easy runs and a pressure release from the tight bowling at the other end - we simply need to fight against conceding every run. Would much prefer Sayers as the choice swing bowler who keeps it far more accurate.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | June 29, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney. I got agree with you. From my observations, Hildreth seems to be in the same category as Rogers/Siddons in as he has continued to ply his trade, successfully for a number of seasons without much fanfare or recognition/ I can't ever recall him being discussed as a test candidate even though he has always delivered. I have a lot of time for guys who use their limited skill to the maximum. That aside, it wasn't a bad effort overall for the Aussies, there needs to be some work for a couple, Khawaja really does need some time in the middle & should address that. Siddle needs another outing next game, & I would also give Faulkner another chance next game.

  • POSTED BY Davo249 on | June 29, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    Really puzzled as why to Cowan is even CONSIDERED to play against Somerset, let alone Australia. 15 test matches and an average below 35? we r not playing kids cricket here, this is Australia. Don't know what the selectors think they're gonna get out of him as he justs gets older and older. Inervarity must follow Arthur and be sacked, its the only way we wont have these sorts of problems :(

  • POSTED BY Jayzuz on | June 29, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    @Basingrad, Swann is good but Panesar is average at test level, as his record clearly shows. Lyon has a strike rate 10 balls/100 better. & as @Severecritic points out, if Anderson gets injured then England's Ashes campaign is as good as over. So many eggs in 1 basket.

    Anyway, there's no way that Australia are going to be anywhere near as bad as Botham, Vaughan & much of the English press are suggesting. EVERYTHING has to go wrong in a big way for that scenario to play out. There's plenty of depth in the fast bowling stocks, and with Watson and (hopefully) Rogers opening, the batting looks a lot more solid. Throw in a few inform middle order players and Clarke, then three tail enders who average 30 runs or so, and there's plenty of reasons to feel they'll clock up a few big scores. Certainly this is far, far from "the worst team ever" status that some of the press have been yapping on about. Other than one bad series in India, they haven't done much wrong on the field.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | June 29, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    It's hard not to be cautiously optimistic isn't it? I'm going to go a step further and say that our horrendous run of injuries appears to be easing off slightly as well. I can't recall anyone's arm or leg falling off in the last couple of weeks, which is a very nice change. ..

    With the bowling, Patto is a dead cert and so is Lyon. I think they'll play 4 bowlers + an all-rounder (Watto/Faulkner). Surely they must play Starc. The others can do the holding job, but we MUST attack if we are to be any chance of disturbing the Poms. When his rhythm is good, it can't be easy facing a 6'6" lefty swinging the ball prodigiously at damn near 150k's. .. I don't care who you are, that can't be much fun to face.

    So, that leaves one bowling spot open. For me, it has to be Bird. .. he can bowl line and length all day long, and along with Lyon and the a/r do the holding job while Patto and Mitch jam it up 'em from the other end.

    As for the batting, it makes my head hurt. I'm gunna wait a while.

  • POSTED BY Sprojy on | June 29, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    @Bloody_Hell, mate you should be an advisor to the selectors. Love all your reasoning. Though that said, as much as I am a massive fan of Warner, keep him out of the first test to help him see that what he did was actually wrong. Some people don't necessarily learn until you take the spoils away for a time.

    If the opening combo, we all pray it is Watson/Rogers and not Cowan/Watson, shine in the first test, it means Warner has to bide his time for longer and that could be for the betterment of his career and thus, our national side longer term.

    My top seven would be: Rogers, Watson, Hughes, Smith, Clarke, Haddin, Faulkner. Khawaja has been given so many chances to push the door down and keeps falling over Kurtley Beale style. Earn it or not in this innings tomorrow lad.

    Imagine, we could have chosen Dussey to be in this squad and you can be sure that would have enticed Mussey to go ten more tests. What a pity.

  • POSTED BY lesamourai on | June 29, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    I'm a big fan of Cowan. On form, however, best top 7 at the moment looks to be: Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin and Faulkner (as an allrounder). Best bowling attack on form looks to be: Pattinson, Starc, Bird and Lyon.

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | June 28, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    @Basingrad, good point, but I think there's a big difference between facing spin from both ends from ball one, and a combination of Swann and the pacers. I think you're suggesting Wade play as a batsman instead of Hughes - but he is also very vulnerable to quality off-spin! @Liam Flynn, I like both Bird and Harris, but can you really describe them as 'in form' based on one match each for Australia A? I agree that Siddle's form is not great, but am with @Meety that he has performed consistently for Australia and should get one more workout to prove his worth. Pattinson will be rested next week and Harris, Bird, Siddle and either Starc or Faulkner (plus Lyon) should get a hit out against Worcs. @Bloody_hell, I wish Starc was a reliable as you say, for me he's still fifth in line. Test batting line up for me still Cowan, Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja/Warner

  • POSTED BY Someguy on | June 28, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    @Basingrad - you are joking right? Hughes might not be the greatest player of spin going around, but to think he will struggle in England as much as he did in India is a huge assumption.

    I know Swann is a quality spinner, but come on... how can you compare English wickets to Indian dust bowls? Never mind the fact that he is only likely to be facing spin from 1 end, rather than all day long from both ends, like in India. He will see out the spin and score his runs at the other end. What he lacks in skill against the spin, he makes up for in patience. He might not have scored a lot of runs against the spinners in India, but he did see out quite a lot of balls before getting out.

  • POSTED BY Someguy on | June 28, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    @Zeyad68 - Replace Hughes with Wade? Are you on drugs, or do you just not realise that we are talking about test cricket, not T20? Wade should be 3rd choice keeper for tests, at best. Paine and Haddin are both superior with gloves and better test batsmen. Wades keeping against spin is sloppy, having cost Lyon a lot of wickets and he lacks the skill for test match batting. I am sick of seeing him get out trying to sweep spinners.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 28, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    Also - probably of more importance, is that Hughes is starting to find touch. I was pleased Watto tuned up - but IMO, Hughes has far more capacity to win a series off his own bat than Watto & so I have more confidence from his knock. Personally I owuld play him @ #4 as I am not into the Clarke for #3 or #4 push. I'd much rather him average 70 @ #5, (which COULD win us a series) - then mid 40s higher up the order which will in isolation only make us competitive.

  • POSTED BY chicko1983 on | June 28, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    I would still play siddle first test and see how he goes with the step up in class. He is a competitor and the ashes will bring the best out in him. It makes the inclusion of Faulkner in the line up as a true all rounder more sense. Watson, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke Rogers Faulkner, haddin, starc, pattinson, siddle, Lyon. All of them can hold a bat down to xi, and if saddle isn't firing, Faulkner will bowl more. The jimmy pattinson once again showing his class, the current best quick bowler in the world.

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | June 28, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Been at taunton last couple of days. Hughes looked a little edgy yesterday but looked a lot more assured today. Aussies pretty efficient with the ball too, they'll cause england some problems but I'm not really convinced about the batting. Watson plays a lot of shots, too many for a test opener in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 28, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    Siddle should play - he has been Oz's consistantly best bowler series after series for the last 2 yrs. He did well in England last time & is a better bowler now. I would like to see him play the next warm up match to iron the bugs in his system.

  • POSTED BY Munkeymomo on | June 28, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    Was at the game today. Pattinson was very impressive, Starc looked good and Siddle had nice pace/ryhthm. Lyon looked ordinary, was lucky to get his wickets and although he bowled tidily, Faulkner did not look threatening. Hughes took a superb catch and batted well. Good day for the Aussies.

  • POSTED BY SevereCritic on | June 28, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    I like Aussies' pace bowling problems. So many inform bowlers - who to pick. Very good problem to have. The English on the other hand depends entirely on Anderson. He gets injured and Ashes is pretty much over.

  • POSTED BY andybu on | June 28, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Tremendous innings by Trego ably supported by Hussain put the aussies to the sword in the afternoon. They should wrap up tomorrow but some serious questions arise about the make up of the Australian side.

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    Siddle is a plodder and the sooner he is out of the Aussie system the better. He's at best the 5th best quick in the Aussie squad, Pattinson, Harris and Bird are far superior and Starc has enormous potential. I thought our selectors had seen the light when they dropped him after he couldn't do the business against South Africa in Adelaide. Sayers, Copeland, Cutting, Johnson, McDermott and Butterworth are all better than Siddle.

  • POSTED BY Bloody_Hell on | June 28, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    Bottom 5 I have Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon.

    Haddin, Pattinson and Lyon - no brainer.

    Starc can contribute with the bat, and on his day is the most damaging of all the Aussie bowlers. Previously he was either unplayable or cannon fodder, but seems to have worked on his consistency and if he isn't swinging it he seems to be able to keep it tight.

    Bird - Was made for English conditions, can bowl all day into the wind. Glenn McGrathesque.

    Harris - I rate him highly and will be fighting with Starc and Bird for the last spot. I could make an argument for his inclusion based on experience, but I think the others from a better unit...I hope he is there though, great story.

    Siddle - has bled for Australia, but the talent coming through outshines him. Sorry mate!

  • POSTED BY Bloody_Hell on | June 28, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    I think that both Hughes and Warner will both learn from playing down the order and understand the impact their poor decisions at the top of the order can have on the team.

    Let's see how they go cleaning up their teammates messes, rather than the other way around.

  • POSTED BY Bloody_Hell on | June 28, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    @Mary_786 - I have exactly the same top 6...hopefully it comes to fruition.

    The main difference between Watson, Rodgers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes and Warner vs other guesses is the exclusion of Cowan and the inclusion of Warner.

    With Cowan, I feel he was in the right place at the right time for his selection. He was at the top of his game and ticked the boxes of the Argus report. The facts are his level of natural talent isn't high enough to be playing at the highest level. Cowan and Rodgers are fighting for the one spot IMO and I feel Rodgers will get the nod to build on his one test.

    Warner should have been sent home for his swipe at Root, but he wasn't. If they are serious about a fresh start for all, then Warner must be given the chance. For all his foibles, he has bucket loads of talent and should be included on that alone.

  • POSTED BY Peterincanada on | June 28, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    @RandyOz Calling Siddle a failure is a bit harsh. Although I must agree with LLiam Flynn that he definitely is behind the other 4 pace bowlers at this stage.

    @Basingrad Your point is well taken. In defence of Hughes he did play much better at the end of the Indian tour than at the start when he looked out of his depthl. Also the test pitches in England will not be as spin friendly as the Indian tracks. Swann will bemore a container rather than a big wicket taker until the Oval test unless the summer is really dry.

  • POSTED BY Zeyad68 on | June 28, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Instead of Huges if Australia try Matthew wade at the top of the order that will b gud coz I really dont think that he can do what gilly used to do

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | June 28, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Once again Siddle fails to take wickets. How is it fair that he keeps getting selecting despite continual failures?

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    As things stand right now, the hands-down in-form bowlers to take to the First Test are Pattinson, Harris, Bird and Lyon. Siddle has been off somehow and nowhere near his potential. Starc is either unplayable or very expensive (Midge Junior). Faulkner hasn't been as incisive as I would have liked stretching back to the start of the CT. Agar looks class but admittedly he isn't developed enough. There is one more warmup game. If Sayers plays and can pick up another bag of wickets versus Worcs with his canny swing then leaving him out is going to be an extremely difficult decision to justify.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 28, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    I wonder whether the England selectors are taking much notice of Hildreth's performance in this game. He'll probably be too old by the time the current crop of England batsmen start retiring so he'd probably need Compton, Bairstow and Taylor to fail in order to get a gig but if he puts in a good performance this season after playing well here against an international attack then he might be an outside chance to make the touring party for the return Ashes in Australia.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | June 28, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Warner looks like a good top 6 for the first test.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | June 28, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    Mike Hussey and VVS Laxman both began as openers (Langer, Katich and Sehwag began in the middle order). Perhaps Hughes will go better down the order where his deficiencies may be less easy to exploit. We know when he's in he can devastate attacks. I definitely don't think he's a number 3. Rogers can come in and play there.

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    I must admit I like the idea of Hughes coming in down the order (Warner as well for that matter). Don't know why these guys get typecasted as openers especially when they show such a problem handling the new ball. The only thing to do now is to convince Clarke to move up to 3 and the Australian lineup will look a lot more decent. Also a pity we did not get to see more of Faulkner, if his batting is up to scratch would like to see him play as an allrounder at 6 or 7.

  • POSTED BY Basingrad on | June 28, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Swanny will be licking his lips at the prospect of Hughes at 5. There are some short memories around here given Hughes' shambolic attempts to play India's spinners added to the fact that when England were over there, Swann (and Monty for that matter) were clearly a cut above those Indian spinners. This is George Dockrell, gently turning it into him on a Taunton featherbed - it is no indicator of his ability to keep out the best spinner in the world and easily the best at bowling to left-handers. I am fairly sure Boof is not going to delude himself in that regard, albeit he's left himself with few middle order options by promoting Watson. With what's at his disposal, I'd still be playing Haddin as a batsman at 6 and Wade keeping at 7. Haddin is definitely one of the best 6 batsmen in the squad.

  • POSTED BY KeithMillersHair on | June 28, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    I pretty much agree with @JonoMakim on the line up at this point (Watson, Cowan, Rodgers, Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Khawaja, Haddin sounds pretty decent to me). But it still seems very up in the air exactly how it will play out. It will be very interesting to see the line up in the second warm up.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | June 28, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    a good line-up, that. Unfortunate that Khawaja is not presenting a strong case for selection.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | June 28, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Exactly how Phil Hughes flattered to deceive in County matches ahead of the 2009 Ashes.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | June 28, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    I do not understand this maniacal obsession to include the undependable Phil Hughes in the Team.

  • POSTED BY ben.p. on | June 28, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    I very much hope Nick Compton joins Worcestershire one day. We would be greatly honoured to have him.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 28, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Hughes is just an absolute gun!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 28, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Hughes in the side wether it be top order, middle order it doesnt really matter aslong as he is in the team. As a young gun, who has scored 21 first class hundreds at the age of 24. He clearly can play, cannot wait for him to dominate wether it be at 3 or 5. Love Hughesy. Being in and out of the Aus team 3 times and still fairly young, alot of cricket for this bloke ahead of him!

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    always linked hughes to hussey. hussey began his career as an opener, only to drop down the order later in career. Hughes has that natural finishing touch to him as does hussey, hence why both are/have been such good strokemaking one day players

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Obviously there is another warm up match to come but Cowan, Watson, Rogers, Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Khawaja could be on the cards. Gives left/right combo's all the way down the card and leaves the younger blokes down at 5 and 6 to learn the art of test match batting, something that has been forsaken in recent years with Clarke and Hussey holding down these spots so adeptly, but perhaps it shouldn't have been.

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  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Obviously there is another warm up match to come but Cowan, Watson, Rogers, Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Khawaja could be on the cards. Gives left/right combo's all the way down the card and leaves the younger blokes down at 5 and 6 to learn the art of test match batting, something that has been forsaken in recent years with Clarke and Hussey holding down these spots so adeptly, but perhaps it shouldn't have been.

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    always linked hughes to hussey. hussey began his career as an opener, only to drop down the order later in career. Hughes has that natural finishing touch to him as does hussey, hence why both are/have been such good strokemaking one day players

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 28, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Hughes in the side wether it be top order, middle order it doesnt really matter aslong as he is in the team. As a young gun, who has scored 21 first class hundreds at the age of 24. He clearly can play, cannot wait for him to dominate wether it be at 3 or 5. Love Hughesy. Being in and out of the Aus team 3 times and still fairly young, alot of cricket for this bloke ahead of him!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 28, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Hughes is just an absolute gun!

  • POSTED BY ben.p. on | June 28, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    I very much hope Nick Compton joins Worcestershire one day. We would be greatly honoured to have him.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | June 28, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    I do not understand this maniacal obsession to include the undependable Phil Hughes in the Team.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | June 28, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Exactly how Phil Hughes flattered to deceive in County matches ahead of the 2009 Ashes.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | June 28, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    a good line-up, that. Unfortunate that Khawaja is not presenting a strong case for selection.

  • POSTED BY KeithMillersHair on | June 28, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    I pretty much agree with @JonoMakim on the line up at this point (Watson, Cowan, Rodgers, Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Khawaja, Haddin sounds pretty decent to me). But it still seems very up in the air exactly how it will play out. It will be very interesting to see the line up in the second warm up.

  • POSTED BY Basingrad on | June 28, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Swanny will be licking his lips at the prospect of Hughes at 5. There are some short memories around here given Hughes' shambolic attempts to play India's spinners added to the fact that when England were over there, Swann (and Monty for that matter) were clearly a cut above those Indian spinners. This is George Dockrell, gently turning it into him on a Taunton featherbed - it is no indicator of his ability to keep out the best spinner in the world and easily the best at bowling to left-handers. I am fairly sure Boof is not going to delude himself in that regard, albeit he's left himself with few middle order options by promoting Watson. With what's at his disposal, I'd still be playing Haddin as a batsman at 6 and Wade keeping at 7. Haddin is definitely one of the best 6 batsmen in the squad.