Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 1st day July 2, 2013

Watson and Rogers make positive start

70

Australians 340 for 4 (Watson 109, Rogers 75, Clarke 62, Cowan 58) v Worcestershire
Scorecard

Australia's last great opening pair of Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden were unearthed only when Michael Slater was dropped for a combination of poor form and wayward behaviour. Twelve years later, Shane Watson and Chris Rogers have been thrown together as the most visible on-field consequence of David Warner's suspension and Darren Lehmann's arrival as coach. On the evidence of their opening union at New Road, this might just become another triumph out of the chaos.

Even if the modesty of Worcestershire's attack is accounted for, Watson made batting look easy during his domineering century before lunch and Rogers provided an immediately reassuring sight at the other end. Their first stand tallied 170 in all, precisely half of the Australians' 340 before rain brought an early conclusion to a chilly day. Fluency came less easily to Ed Cowan and the captain Michael Clarke, though both passed 50 before falling prey to run-outs.

Having wrought similar destruction in his first match restored to the top of the batting order against Somerset, Watson crashed the Worcs bowlers to all parts of the ground without ever looking like he was taking undue risks. Tellingly, it was Watson's first hundred at first-class level since his most recent Test century, against India at Mohali in October 2010. The confidence imbued by Lehmann's decision to publicly announce him as an Ashes opener as early as last week in Taunton has returned Watson to something like his imperious best.

Rogers played with far less extravagance, but appeared an ideal partner, rotating the strike and leaving the ball with precision. Their unbeaten stand meant that Cowan, made redundant as an opening batsman after 18 months in the job, remained padded up in the tourists' viewing area for the whole of the morning.

When he did appear following Watson's exit, Cowan found the going altogether more difficult, confirming the impression that he will struggle to impose himself on a bowling attack, a skill usually expected of a No. 3. Any hard decisions about the shape of Australia's batting line-up can be expected to be made this week. Along with Lehmann and Rod Marsh, the national selector John Inverarity is also in Worcester, ready to submit his casting vote if required.

A correct call at the toss by Clarke had given the visitors first use of a friendly, even-paced surface. This allowed Rogers and Watson to commence the opening partnership identified by Clarke and Lehmann as Australia's best means by which to blunt England's new-ball battery next week at Nottingham and beyond.

Wearing the Australia coat of arms for the first time since his one Test match in 2008, Rogers began a little nervously. He was perilously close to falling lbw to Charles Morris, making his first-class debut for Worcs, and his first few runs were snicked rather than struck. But Australia have employed Rogers for his record of making consistent runs, not the manner in which they arrive, and he was soon finding his stride, scoring at a steady trot with the occasional edge here and there.

Watson had not taken part in the Australians' second innings against Somerset, following a brazen 90 on day two that expressed his joy at returning to the top of the order more succinctly than any interview could. He continued on his merry way, gliding the first ball of the match to the backward point boundary and thereafter playing his shots with complete conviction, bordering on disdain.

Several of Watson's drives scorched through fields that did not have time to move, while the left-armer Jack Shantry had one delivery deposited beyond the sight screen with rare crispness - his preference for around the wicket provided Watson with an amiable angle by which to flick through the leg side. It was with one such stroke that Watson reached three figures, drawing strong applause from a plentiful crowd and warm congratulations from his new batting partner.

The afternoon did not quite find Watson in the same flowing form of the morning, and he added only another seven runs to his lunch tally before swinging an offbreak by Moeen Ali to deep-backward square leg. Rogers reached 50 and continued on with increasing certainty, making it a surprise when he popped an off-side catch from a leading edge off Shantry.

Cowan clattered one six off Moeen but was otherwise circumspect, while Clarke negotiated his first ball with a thick inside edge and had trouble locating the middle of his bat for some time. Together they negotiated 38 balls without a run during the hour before tea. The sequence was broken by a fortunate Clarke boundary, edged wide of the slip cordon, but both batsmen would fall short of the substantial scores they desired.

Clarke was short of his ground when the stumps were hit from square leg by Alexei Kervezee. It appeared Cowan's call, and Clarke looked notably miffed to depart in such a manner. Cowan followed his captain to the pavilion a little more than five overs later, stumbling in mid-pitch to turn a tight-ish run into an ignominious exit.

Steve Smith and Phillip Hughes did not have much time to get established before the showers arrived, but they were batting in such a comfortable scenario because Watson and Rogers had excelled in the morning. England will be taking note.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CSpiers on July 3, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    Looking like the only questions about the batting are about whether to play smith or warner, and what position to play Khawaja and Warner. Can't see cowan making the side at this stage. Personally i think if Warner gets his head and form in check he's a pretty good choice for either 3 or 6, where aggression is often needed. Khawaja at 3 could work well but i worry about his lack of experience. Clarke and Hughes will fit nicely in between them.

  • RG2008 on July 3, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Good to see Watson back in the runs - apart from Clarke he is the guy with the talent to have a really big series with the bat. He does seem to have an annoying habit of losing concentration at inopportune times - getting out either side of the lunch break in his last two innings. Clarke was like this on the last tour of England but har eradicated this from his game - there is no stopping him now.

  • Batmanian on July 2, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    Khawaja is an interesting case. His previous Test stints have been supremely unconvincing, and yet (like Watson) he does seem to be the sort of player who needs to be handled gently. Pushing 27, he's either in his early prime or a very old young batsman. Are they going to give him his third chance? Not ten tests, obviously; more like two or three with a view to more. I'd rather see them make room for him and then keep or drop him permanently than try to slot him in if Clarke's back goes. It doesn't look like he's starting in Trent Bridge.

  • Moppa on July 2, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    Nice effort from Watson and Rogers, would have been really impressed if Watson had pushed on to 140 or so after lunch. But we have to remember the quality of the attack - the main function of yesterday will be to get some time in the middle and some confidence because facing England's attack will be completely different. As for Cowan, he's proven that he's not suited to number 3 - coming in in a dominant position against a popgun attack and essentially stalling the innings, then running the captain out... then running himself out for 50! Not a great effort. While I hear what @ScottStevo and @Mitty2 are saying, Khawaja would make a better 3 than Cowan. I still prefer Cowan, Watson, Rogers as top 3, but the next option would be Watson, Rogers, Khawaja. Interesting that Hughes has come in after Clarke in the two warm up games. This suggests 4, 5, 6 will be Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Warner/Khawaja.

  • H_Z_O on July 4, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    @Meety to be fair, two of the three grounds used for the Champions Trophy have tended to turn for a while. Cardiff always turns (England played two spinners back in 2009) and while the Oval used to be fast, it hasn't been in years. In fact, back in 2009 it was, I'm sure you'll remember, Australia leaving out Hauritz at the Oval for an all-pace attack that cost them dearly.

    Not sure the plan to play Swann and Panesar in tandem was ever seriously considered by the management (although the press seemed to talk it up, especially after both teams toured India with varying levels of success). Conditions here will always favour seam and playing two spinners means just two seamers or five bowlers (which didn't work well for us at Headingley last time round).

    With Root being a decent off-spinner (certainly a better option than Trott's medium pace) I can't imagine Flower and co would have gone down that road even if Panesar's form had merited it. But there was a lot of talk about it, I agree.

  • Meety on July 4, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    @H_Z_O on (July 3, 2013, 10:33 GMT) - "...Doubt we'll see England "producing" spinning tracks..." - I have heard some 'buzz' for a while (a yr or so) that the pitches will be drier than normal (even allowing for less rain). I believe there was (before the County season started), a plan to play Panesar & Swann in tandem in the Ashes. I think Panesar's lack of form has kaboshed that strategy - but I was bemused about the Champ Trophy pitches for this time of year & IMO starts to lend weight towards the drier pitches. The one good thing about drier pitches for Ozzy fans - is that it should lead to better reverse swing opportunities & I doubt England will leave their outfields as long as India did recently - so Starc will really be an old ball menace - maybe!

  • H_Z_O on July 3, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @Meety Pretty much my take on Faulkner too. An attacking option if you're chasing the series from behind and need a win or want to play two spinners without having just the two specialist seamers (and risking an injury to someone like Pattinson).

    Doubt we'll see England "producing" spinning tracks but Old Trafford does tend to turn a bit and during the Champions Trophy the Oval looked dry and placid. But I'd be surprised if Trent Bridge is anything but swing-friendly and Pattinson will enjoy the conditions. Your batsmen just need to give him (and the others) some runs.

  • on July 3, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    How anyone can support Warner's inclusion is a little beyone me as Sunil_Batra pointed out he's had precisely one innings of any note and he's proven himself as a head case. Why not go with Smith who has been looking better and better. Personally I'd even consider going with an extra bowler since that's where the team's real strength lies.

  • ozwriter on July 3, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    cowan appalling once again. 2 runouts, slowing the run rate, and running the best batsmen out. surely he can't be in the ashes team.

  • Flemo_Gilly on July 3, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Folks are being negative to Cowan, i like the guy but to put it bluntly Cowan probably didn't show enough in this gameto push out Khawaja for the number 3 spot or Hughes out of 5, I think everyone can agree Khawaja has waited long enough while Hughes and Cowan have been given chances over and over again. In terms of Watson as I mentioned else where it was'nt long ago he was doing the same in the India warm up games, but he gets his place but still needs to perform to keep his spot from Warner. I am loving what i am seeing between Watson and Rogers, its a match made in heaven.

  • CSpiers on July 3, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    Looking like the only questions about the batting are about whether to play smith or warner, and what position to play Khawaja and Warner. Can't see cowan making the side at this stage. Personally i think if Warner gets his head and form in check he's a pretty good choice for either 3 or 6, where aggression is often needed. Khawaja at 3 could work well but i worry about his lack of experience. Clarke and Hughes will fit nicely in between them.

  • RG2008 on July 3, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Good to see Watson back in the runs - apart from Clarke he is the guy with the talent to have a really big series with the bat. He does seem to have an annoying habit of losing concentration at inopportune times - getting out either side of the lunch break in his last two innings. Clarke was like this on the last tour of England but har eradicated this from his game - there is no stopping him now.

  • Batmanian on July 2, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    Khawaja is an interesting case. His previous Test stints have been supremely unconvincing, and yet (like Watson) he does seem to be the sort of player who needs to be handled gently. Pushing 27, he's either in his early prime or a very old young batsman. Are they going to give him his third chance? Not ten tests, obviously; more like two or three with a view to more. I'd rather see them make room for him and then keep or drop him permanently than try to slot him in if Clarke's back goes. It doesn't look like he's starting in Trent Bridge.

  • Moppa on July 2, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    Nice effort from Watson and Rogers, would have been really impressed if Watson had pushed on to 140 or so after lunch. But we have to remember the quality of the attack - the main function of yesterday will be to get some time in the middle and some confidence because facing England's attack will be completely different. As for Cowan, he's proven that he's not suited to number 3 - coming in in a dominant position against a popgun attack and essentially stalling the innings, then running the captain out... then running himself out for 50! Not a great effort. While I hear what @ScottStevo and @Mitty2 are saying, Khawaja would make a better 3 than Cowan. I still prefer Cowan, Watson, Rogers as top 3, but the next option would be Watson, Rogers, Khawaja. Interesting that Hughes has come in after Clarke in the two warm up games. This suggests 4, 5, 6 will be Clarke, Hughes, Smith/Warner/Khawaja.

  • H_Z_O on July 4, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    @Meety to be fair, two of the three grounds used for the Champions Trophy have tended to turn for a while. Cardiff always turns (England played two spinners back in 2009) and while the Oval used to be fast, it hasn't been in years. In fact, back in 2009 it was, I'm sure you'll remember, Australia leaving out Hauritz at the Oval for an all-pace attack that cost them dearly.

    Not sure the plan to play Swann and Panesar in tandem was ever seriously considered by the management (although the press seemed to talk it up, especially after both teams toured India with varying levels of success). Conditions here will always favour seam and playing two spinners means just two seamers or five bowlers (which didn't work well for us at Headingley last time round).

    With Root being a decent off-spinner (certainly a better option than Trott's medium pace) I can't imagine Flower and co would have gone down that road even if Panesar's form had merited it. But there was a lot of talk about it, I agree.

  • Meety on July 4, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    @H_Z_O on (July 3, 2013, 10:33 GMT) - "...Doubt we'll see England "producing" spinning tracks..." - I have heard some 'buzz' for a while (a yr or so) that the pitches will be drier than normal (even allowing for less rain). I believe there was (before the County season started), a plan to play Panesar & Swann in tandem in the Ashes. I think Panesar's lack of form has kaboshed that strategy - but I was bemused about the Champ Trophy pitches for this time of year & IMO starts to lend weight towards the drier pitches. The one good thing about drier pitches for Ozzy fans - is that it should lead to better reverse swing opportunities & I doubt England will leave their outfields as long as India did recently - so Starc will really be an old ball menace - maybe!

  • H_Z_O on July 3, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @Meety Pretty much my take on Faulkner too. An attacking option if you're chasing the series from behind and need a win or want to play two spinners without having just the two specialist seamers (and risking an injury to someone like Pattinson).

    Doubt we'll see England "producing" spinning tracks but Old Trafford does tend to turn a bit and during the Champions Trophy the Oval looked dry and placid. But I'd be surprised if Trent Bridge is anything but swing-friendly and Pattinson will enjoy the conditions. Your batsmen just need to give him (and the others) some runs.

  • on July 3, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    How anyone can support Warner's inclusion is a little beyone me as Sunil_Batra pointed out he's had precisely one innings of any note and he's proven himself as a head case. Why not go with Smith who has been looking better and better. Personally I'd even consider going with an extra bowler since that's where the team's real strength lies.

  • ozwriter on July 3, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    cowan appalling once again. 2 runouts, slowing the run rate, and running the best batsmen out. surely he can't be in the ashes team.

  • Flemo_Gilly on July 3, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Folks are being negative to Cowan, i like the guy but to put it bluntly Cowan probably didn't show enough in this gameto push out Khawaja for the number 3 spot or Hughes out of 5, I think everyone can agree Khawaja has waited long enough while Hughes and Cowan have been given chances over and over again. In terms of Watson as I mentioned else where it was'nt long ago he was doing the same in the India warm up games, but he gets his place but still needs to perform to keep his spot from Warner. I am loving what i am seeing between Watson and Rogers, its a match made in heaven.

  • Sunil_Batra on July 3, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    What is sad Amith is that if there had been any real forsight, we'd have had Khawaja in the team at least since Ponting was gone, but preferrably sooner. If he'd been there consistently since Ponting had retired, he'd have played seven straight Tests by now and would at least have built up a little experience.It's also frustrating that Hughes keeps being moved. I find it amazing that all these "coaches" cannot decide where he should bat - open, first drop, middle order, lower order. It is ridiculous. The only thing more ridiculous is that there is talk that Warner should bat six. I mean seriously, he has one amazing innings where he bats through and now people suddenly think he's gonna be a Border/Waugh/Hussey innings saver in the lower order? Crazy…

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 3, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    I don't think Cowan shouldn't be discarded because he's slow.But do we want a grafted 30 from our number three after a bright opening partnership, slowly allowing the openers to get on top?Rogers is basically a better version of Cowan, with more proven form, and in better form. We don't need two of them in the top three. Khawaja has to be 3 with Hughes at 5. Khawaja is a natual 3 at shield level so that's what he does and he can take his game to a new level if given the chance. Hughes is on his last chance and i hope he comes through. Watson will be a gun for us.

  • Amith_S on July 3, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    I think boof is making all the right moves with our batting, Clarke should move up to 4, Khawaja is our best 3 and should be there in the first test given he bats at that position for the Bulls and Blues previously and Watson and Rogers are our best openers, top stuff boof. I also like the idea of Warner at 6 like Gilly used to be. Khawaja has waited 6 months under Arthur to get a game which is no way to treat one of our best young talents and espeically when we need quality batsman. Punter endorsed him as his replacement and so did mr.cricket and hopefully with boof and Clarke making the calls he will get a run similar to what Cowan and Hughes have had. So my batting lineup would be Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Warner, Haddin. Cowan may have run himself out of the team when he ran Clarke out.

  • howdle on July 3, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    anyone else consider the Australian warm up matches devoid of a real challenge? this attack and the Somerset attack arent at full capacity, especially the Somerset attack. Not sure if there might be a false sense of security for the Aussies, lets hope so because the batting looks in decent shape.

    I remember looking at the stats of the bowlers in England's pre-test warm up matches against India last winter and its was similar, a few debuts, very little FC experience etc. Jonny Bairstow hit a hundred in about 60 balls in one match and yet we lost the first game of the test series.

    who knows how it will play out, cant blame anyone, the counties will be looking towards 20/20 and don't want to risk injuries while giving young players some exposure.

  • Dashgar on July 3, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Fair enough call Meety, but I'm just not sure our batsmen who would sit out are worthy of beating Faulkner for a spot. I want a team who will fight tooth and nail for this ashes. Faulkner strikes me as that sort of guy. Some of our batsmen I fear are going to just fold under the pressure. Why even bother with them?

  • Chris_P on July 3, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    @@_RB_. Eumm, you were aware that the British Lions lost to the Brumbies that had 10 players out, don't you? What would the score have been if they had their full complement?. And the Reds had 9 of their front line players out with Wallabies & they only JUST got beaten them. What tour are you following?

  • BradmanBestEver on July 3, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    RAndyOz - agree with you mate - but the problem is Cowan is one of the best that we have got. Just shows the sorry state of Aussie batting quality.No-one of the recent test players averages over 35

  • BradmanBestEver on July 3, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    quote from Suraj: " but everything will change once he starts facing the likes of Anderson, Broad and Graeme Swann" - perhaps 200 instead of 100 before lunch?

  • Benkl on July 3, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    Khawaja is not a number 3 he is not ready yet.. nor is Cowan who was one of our best on the last tour so very hard to drop. Hard to say ...id put Rogers at #3 . No way id put Hughes there Watto swipes gets a duck and Hughes is opening again in England . Cowan opens or he doesnt play , if its a green top / or seaming early as it does in England Cowan would be very valuable. I wouldnt play Faulkner , Watto can bowl a few. If you want an all rounder take Smith which could be usefull if its a dry wicket. So team

    Watson Cowen Rogers Clarke Hughes Warner/Khawaja or Smith Haddin Pattinson Starc / Bird / Siddle depending on this match Harris

  • Meety on July 3, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    @Dashgar on (July 2, 2013, 19:54 GMT) - Faulkner @ #6??? We are not in that big a trouble yet. I have no problems if we are behind 1nil with two test to go - bring Faulkner in for a batsmen & shuffle Haddin to #6, but now is not the time. I'd even consider that if England produce spinning tracks, going with Lyon & Agar & bringing Faulkner in for a batsmen so we still would have 3 frontline seamers. I just would not START the Ashes that way!

  • OneEyedAussie on July 3, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    Barring a miraculous run-a-ball hundred from Cowan in the second innings, I'd say at this point it's an even call between himself and Khawaja. Personally, I'd pick Khawaja as what we need right now is lower order bats and for mine Usman is better suited to that role.

    So, it appears Watson, Rogers, Hughes and Clarke will be certain starters - with Smith, Khawaja and Cowan fighting it out for the two remaining spots. Smith down the order could be a wise decision as his play against spin is decent.

  • Shaggy076 on July 3, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    Gowrisankar Nagamalli - I think your missing some vital information. Hughes cannot play spin on baked wickets where any moment the ball will explode through the surface and the bounce will be unpredictable. He has played well against Sri Lanka and Herath who seems to be a better cricketer than Swann on good true wickets of Austalia and Sri Lanka. The English have too much pride to bake there wickets (also not enough sun), no way will they stoop to the Indian level of ruining cricket as a spectacle for there own personal gain. Its not the turn that gets Hughes its the inconsistent bounce.

  • disco_bob on July 3, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    The best support Watto can get is from out bowlers, if we don't need to bowl him he gets both his recent wishes.

  • Dangertroy on July 3, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    @RandyOz and BigMaxyWalker - Cowan is averaging 41.7 across county and the warm-up matches, Khawaja is averaging 32.3 across the warm-up and A tour. And you both say Cowan fails to go on - well Khawaja hasn't gone on either. In one test has he past fifty(admittedly a good knock in difficult circumstances).

    I think Khawaja is a talented player and he should be given a run in the side, but his performances aren't proving it yet. He isn't demanding selection. You want to replace Cowan with someone who isn't outperforming him. I actually don't think he's in consideration for a spot in the first test. Why isn't he playing in this match? If it's really Khawaja Vs Cowan, then where is Khawaja? It's Cowan versus himself at the moment.

  • Meety on July 3, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    @_RB_ on (July 2, 2013, 13:33 GMT) - "...British and Irish Lions tour complained about the lack of quality opposition..." - did they? LOL if they did considering they narrowly beat the Reds & were done in by the Brumbies! @ Big_Maxy_Walker on (July 2, 2013, 16:09 GMT) - you're bagging a bloke who just got a fifty? @RandyOZ on (July 2, 2013, 17:27 GMT) - you're also bagging a bloke who just got a fifty? @Bloody_Hell on (July 2, 2013, 18:01 GMT) _ I would take Smith over Warner @ #6. If there was no Punch-gate, I would have had Warner @ #3 - not sure I'd play him now. Smith is a MUCH better bet # #6 than Khawaja, Hughes or Warner. For starters, they would most likely be facing Swann & are lefties without much history v spinners. Smith on the other hand will do better v Swann, not to say that Cook won't bring back the pacers & hopefully it will be with the SECOND new ball! == == == Watto - very happy that he is making the news for SCORING RUNS!!!!

  • wix99 on July 3, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    I don't care who opens the batting for Australia. As long as they can score centuries and average 50 or better then they can keep the job.

  • on July 3, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    Another thing to remember, it's not just about getting runs it's sometimes about HOW you get them. An edgy hundred looks good on paper but in reality it's only a matter of time before they crash and burn. People are already talking about Maddinson after 2 hundreds but if you read an article on him, a good shot was invairiably followed by a hit and miss, he is not ready.

  • BlueyCollar on July 3, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    All the English bowlers will have to do is bowl at the stumps to Watson. Swinging duke ball, seaming pitch, Watson prone to lbw. I think Ashes tests in England are about sound techniques, concentration and grinding out 250 in a day not making 150 in a session and losing 6 wickets in the next. Looking forward to seeing how Bird performs.

  • on July 3, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    Cowan is rubbish full stop, you can't rely on these warmups alone. people saying he faced most balls in india, i say well if he can face the most balls he should score the most runs aswell. This attack must be even worse than somerset if they all got scores so easily, anyone with an opportunity to bat here should make runs, even an incompetant cowan.

  • Chris_P on July 2, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    @Mitty2, Totally agree with your points. All of a sudden, 2 innings against standard bowlers & Watson is hailed as a saviour. Let's just forget about 3 years of failures (averaging 26 in tests & 40+ bowling). Plus he is older than Cowan. Now I don't subscribe to Cowan's selection, but the fact is when he was selected he was in the form opener, unfortunately for Rogers, at the same time he was going through a lean patch (timing is everything). I am & have always been a huge admirer of players like Rogers, Cowan who don't have the ability of Watson but give you total commitment & solid work ethics. Give me these ahead of flashy non committed players any day. I won't get too excited until this is delivered in tests, and on a consistent level. But a good solid hit-out from the Aussies, it's all you can do. I hope Smith & Hughes get at least a session to bat.

  • pat_one_back on July 2, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Australia are unlikely to bat on in a rain reduced game so there's not much to read out of the first inning in terms of 1st test selections. Clarke may be unhappy with Cowans call but it looks like they both contributed to the pressure and neither Hughes or Ussie are great runners between wickets. Warner was in no form on the field before his incident but with fresh confidence and noted hard work and as an incumbent he may be an outside chance. With little between them all, the superior fielding of Warner & Smith must come into consideration, catches win matches! Cowan and Hughes have incumbency on their side too so I suspect it will end up being Ussie & Smith who miss out in the first test unless Faulkner takes a bag and pushes Hadds up to 6 (which he can handle with a strong lower order behind him in.

  • MakersName on July 2, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    While it's great to see a hundred next to Watson's name, I don't think it's safe to say "he's back!". Form, confidence and concentration are the elements that Watson needs to have a strong tour. By the sounds of his strokeplay, form is coming on well and Lehman's declaration of Watson as an opener has given him confidence. But it's his concentration I'm not convinced of yet. Falling after the luncheon interval has been a problem with Watson. Had the attack and conditions not been so docile, then its likely he would have only scored the usual 40 or 50 by lunch only and then gone out soon after - continuing a frustrating pattern. But let's just hope he takes to the England bowlers like he did Worcestershire.

  • Dashgar on July 2, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Well if Cowan is going to get dropped for being part of run outs he'll have to be replaced by Warner or Smith. Hughes and Khawaja are worse runners so they'll have to go too. As is Watson. Cowan has hit some form with the bat here. He deserves to play the first test. In India he was our best batsman and these conditions suit him far better. My team: Rogers, Watson, Cowan, Clarke, Khawaja, Faulkner, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon.

  • on July 2, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    They have no option! With Watson and Rogers sure to open, they have Hughes/Warner/Cowan/Khawaja to slot in at no.3... going by current form, I think Cowan or Hughes will be the strongest contenders... Warner shouldn't be picked simply because he needs to prove his form to be back... Hughes might be the better option since he looks at ease against seamers rather than the spinners... having said that, the aussies also might need to bring in Warner or Khawaja at some point... Cowan is simply not good enough to score big at no.3... he is probably a steady opener at best...

  • gsingh7 on July 2, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    cowan is a goner. he does not have talent to play at test level as shown in recent 4-0 losses to india in india. he plays at low sr and his running between wickets is abysmal. hope we see usman in ashes, for me he is best talent that aus have got to win then ashes. rest of batting is low on talent as well as confidence.

  • on July 2, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    Did I read that Cowan ran out Clarke and also himself here. Inexcusable. Run outs should NEVER happen. They are a weak way to be dismissed. Also they faced 38 balls without scoring this can make a team lose momentum. It could have cost Clarke his wicket. Sorry Eddie you aren't performing. My team has to be Watson, Rogers, Usman, Clarke, Hughes, Warner, Haddin, Pattinson. Starc, Bird, Lyon. Bring in Agar if Lyon doesn't perform and Smith for either Hughes/Warner. Go Aussies.

  • Bloody_Hell on July 2, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    You would think running out the Captain would be the death knell on Ed Cowan's Test career. The top 6 for the first test appears to be locked in, with 95% of Cricinfo poster picking the logical people. So far Lehmann has displayed good common sense, so one should assume that will continue.

    The only question that remains for me is who will bat at 6??? Smith or Warner?

    Both are great fieldsmen, crap leg spin bowlers and talented batsmen, one probably more talented than the other.

    The answer to this question rests with none other than Steven Peter Devereux "Steve" Smith. If he scores a big hundred tomorrow, well....

  • ScottStevo on July 2, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    @Big_Maxy_Walker, funny you mention that about Cowan, yet the few test matches that Khawaja has played in, my greatest criticism would be that he gets starts of 20 or so, then fails. IMHO that's a bigger problem than getting out numerous times for nothing as at least then you've more likely than not got a good one, or didn't ever get going. But to get going then make nothing from numerous starts leads me to think that he either doesn't have the temperament for it, or lacks concentration, determination, mental strength to go on and make tons, or even half centuries. I would've had Khawaja in my XI, not 3 though, probably 5 or 6. It's a waste for us to keep selecting him and never playing him. If we give him a run, he deserves a proper chance - say 10 tests to prove himself. For arguments sake, I'd still have had Cowan as opener, he did a lot better in India than plenty of others - though it's hard to see him keeping his spot if Warner gets back.

  • hilditchmustgo on July 2, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    Great to see Watto and Rogers working well at the top of the order. If they can both stick around if e're lucky enough to win a few tosses we can really give it to the Poms, especially if Watto has a strike rate around 100. Cowan failed to keep going yet again so I'm hoping Khawaja gets to bat at 3 for the whole series. Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Harris, Lyon for Trent Bridge.

  • RandyOZ on July 2, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    Cowan again fails to go on despite all of his own hyperbole before the match. Honestly, how can we keep giving him chances. He will get no better. Time to wield the axe and bring Ussie in. Come on selectors wake up.

  • Mitty2 on July 2, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    @big_maxy_walker, your crusade to undeservingly have khawaja in at 3 (one half century all tour - including A games - and you want him at 3?) is game Watson like. You try to get what you want by denigrating the other players. Cowan got run out... So did Clarke... Where's clarke's denigration? He hasn't converted any of his starts his tour? What about Rogers getting out to a loose shot? Pfft. Anyway, khawaja's number six in my line up, you're joking if you want him at 3 in an ashes series with little form and much game experience behind him.

    Much the same with Watson - dominating mediocre attacks in easy batting conditions (reason for ODI success), expect him to fail under pressure as usual and show off as to why he is a perennial underachiever in the tests. He dominated the warm ups of the champions trophy and dominated the warms of the Indian series. Fat chance. But I'm supporting Australia, not him - ill just discontently applaud him if he succeeds ;)

    Bird HAS to dominate tomorrow.

  • RandyOZ on July 2, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    Ok so Cowan got 50, but again he failed to convert, and it was the lowest of the set batsmen. Clarke went past him with ease. There is absolutely no doubt that he needs to be dropped for the classy and far more reliable Khawaja. Was so ironic when Rogers was batting that he had played 1 test and averaged 50 yet Cowan had played 17 and averages 39. Disgraceful.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 2, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Well done to the openers. Looking good. I'm rooting for Smith to get a big century and confirm his place in the first Test. It makes sense for the Aussies to pile on the runs and try and bowl this side out twice for an innings victory.

    With the batting order pretty much set, the priority now is to decide which one of Harris & Bird will join Patto&Starc to complete the seam trio, or as a mad outside chance, to see if they can lengthen their batting by including Faulkner instead. I'm tipping Harris because with Siddle very much out of sorts, the attack needs a good experienced leader.

    Not sure how good this Worcs side is. Compton, Pardoe, Ali&Mitchell have all benefited immensely from Zimbabwe's tough yet underrated Logan Cup(FC competition). Barring Ali to a little extent, all of them failed there. Somehow it inspired Compton's County fortunes hence the national call up, but his solitary success there was from 7! Worcs are strong candidates for an innings loss here if Aus make 600+.

  • on July 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    I think some one like phillip hughes can not fit the middle order tag. His technique will be OK against the pace bowlers that too only against over the wicket. He will be having an awful time facing Graeme swann. If he cannot face Ashwin and co, how can he survive against swann??? Australia must search for a big-hearted, never giving up middle order batsman. Team that visited India had all top order batsmen playing in middle order.watson, warner, cowan, wade, hughes etc., The successful Australian team laid by waugh had very good middle order of the likes martin, waugh himself,lehmann,symonds, hussey. You need some one who can do that dirty work who never gives up in any situations.

  • TenDonebyaShooter on July 2, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Australia need Watson to perform in this coming series as strongly as another batter who bowled a bit with the initials SW used to perform in Ashes series a decade or so ago.

  • on July 2, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Lehmann making right moves till now....Hope this will continue in the coming Test matches as well. Making Watson feel comfortable in the team setup is very important for this Australian cricket team as of now hope he can continue this dominance at the top which will ease some of the pressure off michael clarke.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on July 2, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Once again Cowan fails to go on. What will his defenders come up with this time? Oh right he is taking the shine off at number 3. Ed is 30 and will not get any better, Usman is the man at 3 as he is 5 years younger has more potential and deserves a long run

  • DylanBrah on July 2, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    This is a perfect warm-up match for the batsmen so far - Watson's confidence should be sky high after scoring a century, Rogers' second coming in Aussie colours was a successful one, Cowan is batting well with a half century, Clarke has had another good hit-out... interesting to see Hughes will be coming in at no.6.

  • siddhartha87 on July 2, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    @redlab you know Hayden and Langer debuted back i n mid 90's. They struggled mostly in their early careers.From 2001 onwards they demolished, They were butchers for the english bowling attack. So i just got the feeling that that kind of domination will resume.

  • palla.avinash on July 2, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    I have seen stats of Worcestershire lack bowlers they lack quality ,but it is good to have runs on back to be positive, but i wont be that easy at all in fact they will see the best bowling attack right now in test cricket sa is no 1 because of there batting over England so Australia. be aware

  • Chris_Howard on July 2, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    Against this bowling attack, this is little more than a net session in whites. And we've all heard about how good a player is batting in the nets, but can't replicate it in the middle in a Test.

  • Chris_Howard on July 2, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    "watson... when in form he can obliterate most bowling attacks in the world"

    LOL. Short form, maybe. But he needs to start doing it Tests. Two centuries only clearly indicates he's rarely got on top of a Test attack.

    "I am getting a feeling that Watson -Rogers pair will bring back Hayden-Langer era."

    LOL. See @TheRedLeb's response.

    Let's maybe wait and see before we pronounce Watson as our batting saviour. Let's see how things look after a full series against world class Test bowlers.

  • Keatsyindahouse on July 2, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Great to see Watson scoring runs. Important selections are no. 3, 6 and the fast bowling combo. My XI: Watson, Rogers, Khawaja (tough ask), Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Harris, Lyon, Bird 12th Faulkner. Khawaja has a good FC record. Ave 42.27 and 11 100s. At 26 time is now. Smith is an interesting one. Adds something diff (ability to play & bowl spin), actually a middle order bat, unlike Warner & Cowan. Though i think Cowan could adapt, like his fight. Smith is 24 y.o. Ave 41.27 and can bowl some overs. Love the Haddin selection, best technical bat in Aus. This will be vital with the duke ball. Bowling - Harris is the best bowl in Australia hands down. If unfit don't pick him. Pattinson is 2nd best, aggressive, fast, works hard. Bird is made for English conditions. Swings it & hits the seam. Starc was a poor choice to tour. Poor control. If they wanted a left to bowl with pace pick Johnson. He's bowling 150ks! Siddle is just okay. Faulkner is a talent to watch. Go Aus!

  • TheRedLeb on July 2, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Lets not forget they playing against an mid-table county team, more alarming is the fact that its his 1st FC 100 in nearly 3 yrs (granted he has had injuries) but therein lies what is wrong with Aus cricket ... Watson if fit is guaranteed selection in the top 4 whether he can bowl or not and he hasn't scored a FC 100 against anyone in 3 years !! Watson at 32 has scored 17 centuries (2 test) in 113 FC games (41 tests) ... Hayden 79 centuries (30 test) in 295 games (103 tests) and Langer 86 centuries (23 test) in 360 games (105 tests) comparisons are ridiculous ... not sure how 1 century opening partnership elevates you to greatness

  • banhire on July 2, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    just a correction on aussie fans, clarke will never come in at 350-4 because he is number 4 or 5 not 6, so either for 2 or for 3. Wil be happy if the team is like this 1.watson 2.rogers 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Smith 6. Warner 7. Haddin 8. Siddle 9. Pattison 10. Starc 11. Lyon

  • Damo_s on July 2, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Watson has always been a dangerous opener, along the lines of (but not as good as) Sehwag and Gayle for their respective countries. If they come off its great but the problem is they dont have a plan b and the wheels fall off when they are out cheaply. Don't get too excited though. Even I could get a a few runs against this attack ;)

  • _RB_ on July 2, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    I think it's funny that the British media and Managers of the British and Irish Lions tour complained about the lack of quality opposition in the lead-up to the 3 match test series. However in the age of professionalism, everyone does it. The same thing is happening here and no one is complaining, despite the fact that Australia is going to have a huge step up to the test matches.

  • on July 2, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    Why is Compton playing fro Worcs? He is in Somerset o.o

  • siddhartha87 on July 2, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    I am getting a feeling that Watson -Rogers pair will bring back Hayden-Langer era.It will be interesting to see how Watson does against Anderson early in the innings. If he gets going in tests it will be carnage.

  • gsingh7 on July 2, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    watson in form is the last thing england bowlers want. when in form he can obliterate most bowling attacks in the world. india got measure of him on slow turners and world class spinners. in england tracks will be green tops and watson will play his natural attacking game aussies to win 4-0, one draw due to kp batting.

  • James_Murphy on July 2, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Aus batsmen selected in order for first test as viewed by Boof before this match: 1. Clarke 2. Watson 3. Hughes 4. Rogers 5. Warner 6. Haddin 7. Smith 8. Faulkner 9. Cowan 10. Khawaja 11. Wade. Fast Bowlers: 1. Pattinson 2. Starc 3. Siddle 4. Harris 5. Bird Spinners: 1. Lyon 2. Agar So if the test was now: Watson Rogers Hughes Clarke Warner Haddin Faulkner Siddle Pattinson Starc Lyon is the current team. Only changes I can see are if Smith performs well could hold out Warner or Faulkner. Also Bird could take Siddles workhorse spot if he takes wickets bowling long spells.

  • on July 2, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Aussie fans this is still not test so don't get over excited

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    In form Watson is the last thing England wants! Lol.. Hard luck guys.

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    great start lads!! Keep it going

  • mm71 on July 2, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Are the Poms still smiling at lack of competition?

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Lets not forget that even Dinesh Karthik hit 2 centuries during the practice match b4 Champions Trophy under moving conditions and then has failed in international match. Its good that Watto is getting runs on top of the order but everything will change once he starts facing the likes of Anderson, Broad and Graeme Swann.

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    It could be really amazing what great opening stands could do for the batting confidence of the entire team! Imagine what Clarke can do coming in at 350/4. I know this is only a warm up but surely it must count for some confidence heading into the first test. The consequences should be severe for any batsmen who fails in this match as the platform has been brutally and beautifully laid! To just wait out Andersons overs without scoring is probably not going to cut it IMO. There needs to be an expertly selective though attacking opener like Watto to put pressure back on the bowlers!

  • nzcricket174 on July 2, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    All I have to say is- Watto innings.

  • Narbavi on July 2, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Two good outings after returning to his favoured spot, hope he replicates this form in the first test too, i remember him thrashing WI in the CT warm up game but failing to score big once the main tournament started, hope that isn't the case this time around!!

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    Good Innings from Watto, looking good heading into the first test. Hope to see Aus 150/0 at lunch more often.

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    Good Innings from Watto, looking good heading into the first test. Hope to see Aus 150/0 at lunch more often.

  • Narbavi on July 2, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Two good outings after returning to his favoured spot, hope he replicates this form in the first test too, i remember him thrashing WI in the CT warm up game but failing to score big once the main tournament started, hope that isn't the case this time around!!

  • nzcricket174 on July 2, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    All I have to say is- Watto innings.

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    It could be really amazing what great opening stands could do for the batting confidence of the entire team! Imagine what Clarke can do coming in at 350/4. I know this is only a warm up but surely it must count for some confidence heading into the first test. The consequences should be severe for any batsmen who fails in this match as the platform has been brutally and beautifully laid! To just wait out Andersons overs without scoring is probably not going to cut it IMO. There needs to be an expertly selective though attacking opener like Watto to put pressure back on the bowlers!

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Lets not forget that even Dinesh Karthik hit 2 centuries during the practice match b4 Champions Trophy under moving conditions and then has failed in international match. Its good that Watto is getting runs on top of the order but everything will change once he starts facing the likes of Anderson, Broad and Graeme Swann.

  • mm71 on July 2, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Are the Poms still smiling at lack of competition?

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    great start lads!! Keep it going

  • on July 2, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    In form Watson is the last thing England wants! Lol.. Hard luck guys.

  • on July 2, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Aussie fans this is still not test so don't get over excited

  • James_Murphy on July 2, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Aus batsmen selected in order for first test as viewed by Boof before this match: 1. Clarke 2. Watson 3. Hughes 4. Rogers 5. Warner 6. Haddin 7. Smith 8. Faulkner 9. Cowan 10. Khawaja 11. Wade. Fast Bowlers: 1. Pattinson 2. Starc 3. Siddle 4. Harris 5. Bird Spinners: 1. Lyon 2. Agar So if the test was now: Watson Rogers Hughes Clarke Warner Haddin Faulkner Siddle Pattinson Starc Lyon is the current team. Only changes I can see are if Smith performs well could hold out Warner or Faulkner. Also Bird could take Siddles workhorse spot if he takes wickets bowling long spells.