Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 2nd day July 3, 2013

Bird makes his case after Compton's fight

102

Worcestershire 246 for 7 (Compton 79, Mitchell 65, Bird 4-38) trail Australians 396 for 4 dec (Watson 109, Rogers 75, Smith 68*, Clarke 62, Cowan 58) by 150 runs
Scorecard

New Road is the sort of ground where instead of posting the sold out sign, the club sends a kindly request over the Tannoy for spectators on benches to bunch up a little closer. Shrugging off the unfamiliar crest on his helmet to compile 79 for Worcestershire against the Australians, Nick Compton did his best to ensure England's bench for Trent Bridge is similarly crowded. Either side of that innings, Steve Smith and Jackson Bird likewise swelled the tourists' options with bursts of runs and wickets.

Each of the Worcestershire-for-a-week Compton, Bird and Smith were in need of something eye-catching to force their way into the first Test plans of their respective teams, and all would provide something to recommend them for inclusion. Ryan Harris was less successful in his quest for the stuff that would vault him into the Test XI, dropping short of the length most likely to reap wickets.

Bird had found the going equally barren in his early spells, but after tea struck four times in as many overs to illustrate why he may yet be a pivotal Ashes contributor. Moving the ball a tad either way while maintaining a relentless line has worked on plenty of occasions for Bird, and there was a pleasing look for the tour selectors Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann in a scorecard that showed one man pouched at slip, one lbw and another taken behind, albeit down the legside.

These wickets removed some shine from Compton's earlier work. He had taken the Australians for 81 with Somerset last week and, parachuted in to Worcestershire's midst by the ECB, he acknowledged his half-century with a somewhat sheepish wave of the bat towards the home dressing room. Nonetheless he remained determined and focused until the moment of his exit, thus keeping his name in front of England's selectors much as Smith had done for Australia's panel in the morning.

Smith dominated an unbroken stand of 74 with Phillip Hughes, ostensibly ahead of his fellow New South Welshman in the queue for Trent Bridge batting spots but less certain here than he had appeared at Taunton last week. Whether that was out of respect for his former teammates at Worcestershire cannot be certain, but it was clear the hosts had a fair idea of how to keep Hughes corralled.

By contrast Smith gathered momentum with every over, and looked bound for an attractive century by the time the captain Michael Clarke called him in. In 2010-11, Smith was called up alongside Hughes for the third Test of the series in Perth, and both would look out of their depth in the three matches that followed.

Back then Smith appeared confused about his role, juggling a personal preference for batting with expectation that his embryonic leg breaks would develop fast enough to merit a place on their own. But two years on he is most definitely a swashbuckling middle order batsman, and would be capable of occupying the No. 5 or 6 spots, where his comfort against spin may come in handy.

The closure offered Harris and Bird the chance to get the better of Compton, but neither would manage to do so before the interval. Harris moved the ball a touch and swung one tempter past Compton as he reached out to drive, while Bird was typically straight and narrow, maintaining a line just outside off stump that did not encourage free scoring.

Clarke tried Ashton Agar and James Faulkner before the end of the session, meaning of three preparatory innings so far only the first against Somerset - Marcus Trescothick hooking to fine leg from the bowling of James Pattinson - reaped a new ball wicket for the opening bowlers in their initial spells.

Bird and Harris both improved upon resumption, and Compton was fortunate when the sound of an inside edge strangled Bird's appeal for lbw not long into the afternoon. He lost Matthew Pardoe for 16, slicing Faulkner to gully, and Moeen Ali could manage only 10 before some turn from Agar drew a low edge and a catch by Clarke that was confirmed after the umpires consulted.

Shane Watson delivered a brief, cobweb-shedding spell, but posed few problems as Compton pushed gravely past tea. He looked good for a century in the evening, but Bird defeated him on the pull shot after the Australians had upped their ration of short balls. Alexei Kervezee was pinned in front of the stumps five balls later, then Tom Fell edged to slip and Daryl Mitchell's busy innings was ended by a glance too fine to evade a diving Brad Haddin. It had been a precision spell to undo the hosts, causing New Road's benches to clear where once they had been packed.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jmcilhinney on July 4, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I think that Compton has shown that, if they apply themselves, the England batsman should certainly not fear Australia's pace attack. The question there is whether they will apply themselves, unlike in the first innings in their own warmup game against Essex. The other question is just how resurgent Australia's batting is. They've looked effective so far but they may have been flattered by the standard of the bowling they've faced. Shane Watson is a big question mark. He's scored runs in the warmups but he seems to have played those innings like they were limited-overs games. It's long been a problem that he has faired well in the short forms but has been unable to play the innings required against good bowling in a Test match. He's shown nothing so far to definitively prove that that isn't still the case. If he has turned a corner though, either by opening or with confidence in the new coach or just getting over himself a bit, he could be a big factor.

  • Moppa on July 3, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    I'm pleased that Bird did well, he could force his way in for Trent Bridge based on this effort. On the flip side, I think all of Siddle, Starc and Harris are giving concern - but one of them has to play. Re Starc, a quick bit of research reveals that the last time he took a wicket in a Test in his first spell of an innings was v India in Perth in Jan 2012. That means he's gone six Tests since doing this. What's worse, he bowled first change in that innings, and my research indicates he has NEVER taken a wicket in his first spell when opening the bowling. Somehow, I don't think he'll break the trend with Alistair Cook! In general, Starc is just too unreliable. My choice from here would be Pattinson, Bird, Siddle, but I think the selectors will go with Pattinson, Starc, Bird/Siddle.

  • on July 5, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    @tom brock - u are right, but kawaja in his test career has faced a minimum of 40 balls and on average about 70-80 balls. This average is pretty similar to the amount of balls used up by Cowan. But yeah u are right people like him are needed at the top of order, not a hundred or nothing (for next 3-4 innings) warner/hughes.

  • Greatest_Game on July 4, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    @ Tom Brock. You are dead right. Many forget a basic test batting skill - knuckle down, protect your wicket, tire out the opposition. Cowan has that, & Aus will need it. Domination is not only scoring tons of runs. In a series of 5-day games, grinding a fielding team down to the point of exhaustion can be as effective.

    This was seen in Aus' series vs SA. (Cowan scored the 3rd most runs!) The Aus batsmen put SA to the sword, piling up runs. But, in the Adelaide test's 2nd inngs, SA's batsmen hung on like limpets, refusing to risk wickets. Who would predict AB de Villiers scoring 33 off 220 balls - a SR of 15! A team batting for 9 hours - 148 overs at 1.67 per over - to save a match & series, has effectively dominated the final 3rd of that test.

    In test 3 the exact opposite occurred. Aus needed a huge 4th inngs. Cowan faced 149 balls: the next best were Clarke & Hussey, 52 balls each. Cowan was 3 times better at defending his wicket, & made the 2nd most runs! Yet people knock him!

  • H_Z_O on July 4, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul against your attack slow and steady is likely to be a better plan than trying to score quickly. Pattinson, Starc and Harris are all strike bowlers. Go flashing at stuff when they've got a new ball in hand and you might as well start walking back to the pavilion. Grind them down, however, and they'll get easier to score runs off as the ball gets softer (before it reverses and they get dangerous again). Lyon's also not as dangerous as the seamers (although he's not as bad as some people seem to think). For Australia scoring runs quickly makes more sense. Broad and Finn will bowl a lot of dross, but if they get it right, they'll take wickets.

  • HansonKoch on July 4, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Unfortunately for Cowan, it's not meant to be. So he averages 46 for this match. In his own words this would be considered a "pass mark."

    If you select Cowan, this is about as good as you can hope to get from him.

  • HansonKoch on July 4, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    So Cowan only has to score 44 in this innings to better Rogers. If he betters Rogers it has to go some distance towards silencing some of his critics (such as me). Meanwhile Hughes hasn't spent enough time out there to be judged similarly. All bets are off if he's involved in another runout.

  • on July 4, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    I'm sick of all the Cowan bashers! He's going to be way harder to knock over at no.3 than Warner, Hughes or Khawaja. His stability constrasts well with the selection of aggressive Watson at opener, and possibly Warner or Smith in the lower order. It's test cricket!

  • NotU on July 4, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    @Moppa Starc doesn't take too many wickets with his opening spell in First Class cricket either. I they do pick him, Clarke should keep him far from the new cherry, it is just wasted on him.

  • on July 4, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    @jimcilhinney..." it depends on your point of view.If a batsman scores 50 then how quickly he makes those 50 is not going to determine whether or not his team wins the game" I disagree! Wickets like death and taxes are inevitable and if a team doesnt cash in their scoring opportunities; it will reflect on the scoreboard. In saying that a player should always assess the conditions and play accordingly and their are times when consolidation or survival are more important than runs. Comptons innings would of been great for a seaming greentop under heavy cloud cover and to be fair he is probably way better at those kind of innings than Shane Watson but in this instance he allowed himself (w/shire's only test standard player)and therefore the team to be tied down on a belter of a pitch. He didnt do the conditions justice and the result for the team speaks for itself. Watson's Innings in comparison and because of its speed; set the whole game up for Oz.

  • jmcilhinney on July 4, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I think that Compton has shown that, if they apply themselves, the England batsman should certainly not fear Australia's pace attack. The question there is whether they will apply themselves, unlike in the first innings in their own warmup game against Essex. The other question is just how resurgent Australia's batting is. They've looked effective so far but they may have been flattered by the standard of the bowling they've faced. Shane Watson is a big question mark. He's scored runs in the warmups but he seems to have played those innings like they were limited-overs games. It's long been a problem that he has faired well in the short forms but has been unable to play the innings required against good bowling in a Test match. He's shown nothing so far to definitively prove that that isn't still the case. If he has turned a corner though, either by opening or with confidence in the new coach or just getting over himself a bit, he could be a big factor.

  • Moppa on July 3, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    I'm pleased that Bird did well, he could force his way in for Trent Bridge based on this effort. On the flip side, I think all of Siddle, Starc and Harris are giving concern - but one of them has to play. Re Starc, a quick bit of research reveals that the last time he took a wicket in a Test in his first spell of an innings was v India in Perth in Jan 2012. That means he's gone six Tests since doing this. What's worse, he bowled first change in that innings, and my research indicates he has NEVER taken a wicket in his first spell when opening the bowling. Somehow, I don't think he'll break the trend with Alistair Cook! In general, Starc is just too unreliable. My choice from here would be Pattinson, Bird, Siddle, but I think the selectors will go with Pattinson, Starc, Bird/Siddle.

  • on July 5, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    @tom brock - u are right, but kawaja in his test career has faced a minimum of 40 balls and on average about 70-80 balls. This average is pretty similar to the amount of balls used up by Cowan. But yeah u are right people like him are needed at the top of order, not a hundred or nothing (for next 3-4 innings) warner/hughes.

  • Greatest_Game on July 4, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    @ Tom Brock. You are dead right. Many forget a basic test batting skill - knuckle down, protect your wicket, tire out the opposition. Cowan has that, & Aus will need it. Domination is not only scoring tons of runs. In a series of 5-day games, grinding a fielding team down to the point of exhaustion can be as effective.

    This was seen in Aus' series vs SA. (Cowan scored the 3rd most runs!) The Aus batsmen put SA to the sword, piling up runs. But, in the Adelaide test's 2nd inngs, SA's batsmen hung on like limpets, refusing to risk wickets. Who would predict AB de Villiers scoring 33 off 220 balls - a SR of 15! A team batting for 9 hours - 148 overs at 1.67 per over - to save a match & series, has effectively dominated the final 3rd of that test.

    In test 3 the exact opposite occurred. Aus needed a huge 4th inngs. Cowan faced 149 balls: the next best were Clarke & Hussey, 52 balls each. Cowan was 3 times better at defending his wicket, & made the 2nd most runs! Yet people knock him!

  • H_Z_O on July 4, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul against your attack slow and steady is likely to be a better plan than trying to score quickly. Pattinson, Starc and Harris are all strike bowlers. Go flashing at stuff when they've got a new ball in hand and you might as well start walking back to the pavilion. Grind them down, however, and they'll get easier to score runs off as the ball gets softer (before it reverses and they get dangerous again). Lyon's also not as dangerous as the seamers (although he's not as bad as some people seem to think). For Australia scoring runs quickly makes more sense. Broad and Finn will bowl a lot of dross, but if they get it right, they'll take wickets.

  • HansonKoch on July 4, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Unfortunately for Cowan, it's not meant to be. So he averages 46 for this match. In his own words this would be considered a "pass mark."

    If you select Cowan, this is about as good as you can hope to get from him.

  • HansonKoch on July 4, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    So Cowan only has to score 44 in this innings to better Rogers. If he betters Rogers it has to go some distance towards silencing some of his critics (such as me). Meanwhile Hughes hasn't spent enough time out there to be judged similarly. All bets are off if he's involved in another runout.

  • on July 4, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    I'm sick of all the Cowan bashers! He's going to be way harder to knock over at no.3 than Warner, Hughes or Khawaja. His stability constrasts well with the selection of aggressive Watson at opener, and possibly Warner or Smith in the lower order. It's test cricket!

  • NotU on July 4, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    @Moppa Starc doesn't take too many wickets with his opening spell in First Class cricket either. I they do pick him, Clarke should keep him far from the new cherry, it is just wasted on him.

  • on July 4, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    @jimcilhinney..." it depends on your point of view.If a batsman scores 50 then how quickly he makes those 50 is not going to determine whether or not his team wins the game" I disagree! Wickets like death and taxes are inevitable and if a team doesnt cash in their scoring opportunities; it will reflect on the scoreboard. In saying that a player should always assess the conditions and play accordingly and their are times when consolidation or survival are more important than runs. Comptons innings would of been great for a seaming greentop under heavy cloud cover and to be fair he is probably way better at those kind of innings than Shane Watson but in this instance he allowed himself (w/shire's only test standard player)and therefore the team to be tied down on a belter of a pitch. He didnt do the conditions justice and the result for the team speaks for itself. Watson's Innings in comparison and because of its speed; set the whole game up for Oz.

  • jmcilhinney on July 4, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul on (July 4, 2013, 6:29 GMT), it depends on your point of view. If a batsman scores 50 then how quickly he makes those 50 is not going to determine whether or not his team wins the game, assuming that the psyche of the teams is not affected either way. If a team scores quickly then it increases the chance of a result in the game but doesn't necessarily increase that team's chance of winning. If England lose their cool because of fast scoring by Watson or other Australians are inspired to greater heights then that is in Australia's favour. Otherwise, it just means that England have more time to bat themselves and push for the win. Consider Australia batting first and scoring 350 in each innings. England score 350 in their first innings and thus need 350 in the fourth to win they might fall short and the game drawn or, if Australia scored their runs quickly, it might give England more time to reach the target they need.

  • TeamRocker on July 4, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Well, this secures a spot for bird. The last place in the bowling line up is open for either Siddle or Starc (Or maybe even Harris) Smith comes in at no. 6. What's left: No.3 for Cowan or Khawaja. If Cowan can make 75+ in the last innings, he's in. If he can't, he's out. This is my team for Trent Bridge:

    Rogers, Watson, Cowan/Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon

  • PFEL on July 4, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    Well that looks like that. Team decided IMO. Bird IN, Siddle OUT. Smith, Rogers IN, Khawaja, Cowan, OUT

  • H_Z_O on July 4, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @Meety on (July 3, 2013, 23:47 GMT) For us it shouldn't be a case of Finn or Bres (but it will be) but Bres or Broad. Finn and Broad are similar, expensive, bowl a lot of dross but when they get it right they take wickets. I just back Finn to take a lot more of them. That leaves one position, Broad or Bresnan and for me it'd be Bres. He's a workhorse, and his batting is handy too. While I'm not in favour of picking bowlers for their batting, if you're talking about a support bowler, whose job will mostly be containment, it does help.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 4, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Khawaja has played one decent innings in 12 months of FC cricket (Hobart). Yet he is "Australia's best" for number 3? Hughes is averaging 70 in these warm-up matches and will bat at 3. Boof knows cricket and knows the 5-6 positions are up for grabs between Khawaja, Warner and Smith. Smith has scored runs in every game he's played since India and looks likely for 6, he can play spin nearly as well as Clarke.

  • fatier on July 4, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    I really am not impressed by Cowan at all.I don't really like his style of play,and has been out of form for a long time.So I will not like him to play.David Warner is a great fielder and an aggressive batsmen,no doubt about that,but bad player of out-swingers.Philip Hughes and Usman Khawaja should be playing in my opinion,at least they are stylist and can anchor an innings well.

  • Benkl on July 4, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Khawaja is out of the test but i dont think you want Cowen at #3... maybe Rogers at 3 ?

  • brusselslion on July 4, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    Re Starc: What's happened to the lad? OK, it's county not international cricket but he looked lethal for Yorkshire.

    @Lyndon McPaul @6:29: I'll agree that 2.5 runs/ over isn't great, but I'll settle for England being 550 at lunch on the 3rd day. You ain't going to lose from that position and, in all probability, you'll win 2 or 3.

    @jonesy2 @17:11: As usual, I doubt that many other people - Aussie or not - would agree with you.

  • Moppa on July 4, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @Meety, classic two posts @7:38 and @7:47 GMT! You've captured my apprehension about Watson and my indecision about the batting line up perfectly!

  • JG2704 on July 4, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @Munkeymomo on (July 3, 2013, 14:38 GMT) I've got a feeling that Smith started off as a bowling all rounder and he was being compared to Warne. Out of interest did you see Napier and Key talking about the Eng under 19s WC win from early 2000s? Swann apparently started off more as a batsman than a bowler

  • Lightsaber on July 4, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Australians have been sent into hiding by other teams.If they had been on top you would see their arrogance,aggresive statements.They deserve the humiliation .

  • on July 4, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    @Tafara, Shaun Marsh looks the part too. I rest my case.

    @Meety, that is far from convincing, mate! Give me Warner, a bit of mongrel, brilliant field, can and HAS made big test match centuries, even if he does make a couple of low scores he wins back runs in the field, something Cowan and Khawaja are incapable of. I have had enough of blokes making 30's and 40's and getting out. As my old man always said to me when i was a kid "A bloke who makes a string of ducks is out of form, a bloke who makes a bunch of 30's and 40's can't cut it". It's true.

  • fatier on July 4, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    I will start on by saying that this is one of the most intriguing series in a long time,considering the young and promising sides we have. Coming to Australia's line-up,Watson,Clarke,Rogers and Haddin have cemented their place in the team.However,my problem with Watson is that he cannot bat for more than a session.He needs to play for long hauls and convert his innings,but at the moment he is failing to do so.Scoring centuries,but getting out n the first session is quite ludicrous.Chris Rogers has been playing pretty well,so is Clarke.I will have Smith play at #7.Coming to the bowling,Pattinson,Bird,Lyon and M.Starc are my choices. Now the most debatable positions,#3 and #4. We have,currently,4 players to fill in the spots,U.Khawaja,Ed Cowan,David Warner,Philip Hughes.I will leave out David Warner,as he is really weak playing out-swingers and that is quite evident watching CT's match. Philip Hughes can play at #4,let him give a chance, Now #3,I will go with Usman.

  • on July 4, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    @Lyndon, I think Compton's scoring rate and more specifically the scoring rates of he, Cook and Trott taken together is why they will go with Root.

    @Fleming_Mitch, does he really average 50 in the shield batting at 3? He only averaged 39 this season just gone, he also averaged under 40 in the county championship last year, playing in division 2. Rogers averaged 49 and Hughes 56 in the shield season just gone, so I can see how they break into the team. Let me see him scoring centuries a little more often (just 3 in 3 years, I think) and averaging at least 45+ and he may be worth a look but right now his form just does not warrant it.

    @Mary_786, I realize its not out of the blue, I just don't understand it and I don't think now is the right time. There is blokes like Hughes and Smith in better form and more likely to win us matches, why pick him with just a few club matches under his belt and no runs? It serves nor he or the team well to do that.

  • Meety on July 4, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (July 4, 2013, 4:17 GMT) - I am not convinced Watson is the new knight in shining armour for Oz cricket - BUT, IF Watson does open the batting & has hi smind right, & plays his shots - he could be well into the 40s before he has had a chance to choke! IF, he does that, I think that England could find themselves under massive pressure even on the first morning of the first test (as dumb as it sounds). Cook is not yet a master tactician & could easily be wrong footed by an aggressive Watson & as long Rogers hangs with him & feeds him the strike, a repeat of Day 1 here, is not that hard to imagine. The problem for Watto is - what will he do once he gets to 40 odd?a) Run himself out? b) Run Rogers out, c) Jump down the pitch first ball to Swann & get stumped? d) Clam up - score 5 runs off the next 60 deliveries & get out lbw, or e) Work the easy singles & go on to a career defining 100? Hopefully it is E, but anyone of the other 4 options is historicallyl more likely!

  • Meety on July 4, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    @Jono Makim - flip of the coin v Cowan. IMO - Cowan is not as important now we have Rogers. I think Rogers is a better quality version of Cowan (albeit older). I have gone with Khawaja with ZERO conviction, just a gut feel - which could EASILY be wrong. IMO - the #3 is the only real contentious position (IF), Clarke bats @ #5, as I think Smith is has sealed the deal at #6. Hughes has done enuff for #4. That leaves essentially a 3-way battle for #3 between Warner, Khawaja & Cowan. Under different circumstances - I would of had Warner @ #3 (or opening), but it is my view he has not played enuff to slot in & will have to wait his turn until after the 2nd Test - when a tour game is played (& perform). So - it is Khawaja v Cowan, with Cowan having probably a better case to prosecute, but I am tired of Cowan not getting on with the job - which is funny that I want to replace him with Khawaja - who has failed to deliver as well. Flip of the coin + gut feel = Khawaja - makes sense? LOL!

  • on July 4, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @Jono Makim, the simple answer to that question is that he simply looks the part. Out of all the younger up and coming batsman, Khawaja is simply the one who looks the most like a test batsman. Perfomance is another story, but as Ian Chappell once put it. "You don't see a guy who looks like a champion, and averages 10. it just doesn't happen." People now have confidence in Cowan, but thats just because we have seen alot of him at the top level, if Khawaja is given another chance, im sure he can do it.

  • on July 4, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    From the start (for me at least), I always believe Smith to be the ideal no 5-6, and with his recent success in India where he handled the spin quite easily under pressure situations he is my ideal selection for any series let alone for Ashes. Given the time, he could be the next Steve Waugh (in terms of batting only, both with limited abilities, but lot of fight) and Aus will definitely benefit from it.

  • Bloody_Hell on July 4, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Does anyone know if Rogers can field at bat pad?

    Both Cowan and Hughes have filled the role in the past with some success (Khawaja much less successfully). Both could potentially miss the first test.

  • Batmanian on July 4, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    @Jono Makim, the case for Khawaja seems to be based on his advocates' inability to remember his previous two Test stints. The irony is, those who love him unconditionally can't remember his record and would have no compunction in throwing him to the lions, while those of us who are apprised of his modest achievements and ageing promise are more likely to put him forward as a down-the-order project player where he might begin to flourish. Cowan really has to stuff up in the second dig, or Clarke's back pop out, for Khawaja to get a shot for the Test. Chances are a couple of the batsmen will fail, and Aus lose a Test or two, and Khawaja will get a chance soon enough. I just hope he's ready to concentrate if he does.

  • Mary_786 on July 4, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    @Jono Makim both Punter and Huss endorsed Ussie as their replacement furthermore when Punter retired they asked Taylor, Waugh, Slater and Chappell who they think should be number 3 on the tea break on our local coverage on nine and 4 endorsed Khawaja at the time to come in for Punter, it was unfortunate that Arthur kept him as 12th man for 6 months but the guys who were our champions knew that this kid is best suited to come in to that position. So its not out of the blue that he is being suggested for that role.

  • on July 4, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Another thing...Comptons innings and his slow rate of scoring was a help to the Australians. Whenever the run rate is 2.5 or less; the bowlers are always in the game. Watson however; almost on his own blasted the opposition out of the game by summing up the conditions and playing accordingly. When a bowler is able to plug away all day going for less than 2.5 an over on an absolute belter; he should never count himself out of the game and so it proved with Jackson Bird. For this reason; Australia shouldnt fear innings such as these that only contribute to stagnation. For this reason; I wouldnt mind a bit were Compton to open with Cook (another snail). Keep those flat pitched snail paced 70's and 80's coming and Australia will be laughing alway the way back to Sydney with the Urn!!

  • Flemo_Gilly on July 4, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    @Jono Makim fair point mate but i have to go with meety on this one. Khawaja is currently our best nubmer 3 because he has batted successfully at that position for the Bulls and Blues averaging 50 in that position specifically. Most of his big scores this season came in tough green decks when the ball was swinging around(i.e 138 vs Tas, 88 vs SA and against NSW) where he picked up man of the match awards. When Ponting retired the position was going to go to either him or Hughes but given Hughes had more shield runs(Hughes was number 1 and Khawaja 2 at the time on shield scoring at the christmas break) it went to Hughes. Aside from Rogers there are few batsman who can handle swing bowling well and that's what we need from our number 3, which is the reason so many folks are calling him to get a go at 3 which has been given unsuccesfully to Hughes and Marsh. I think that's where he will bat in the ashes as boof as seen him close up for the bulls firing at that position.

  • on July 4, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    @Meety, why Khawaja? I'm interested to hear your case for the man, I can't make one for him, particularly not at 3 where all of his fans seem to think he is "Australia's best".

  • on July 4, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Lehmann's bowling dillemma is as follows;Whether to go all out attack by playing Starc with Pattinson and Bird and risk leaking a few runs but also maybe bowling England out super cheaply if Starc brings his A game or going more the NZ style python squeeze only with a li'l more punch (Pattinson) by including Harris or Siddle as the third seamer behind Pattinson and Bird.From the Sidelines it appears that the 'all guns blazing approach' by including Starc is unneccessary and potentially costly; especially because the Python squeeze proved so effective in the NZ games and could easily be implemented by all of Bird, Harris or Siddle who have proved capable of drying up the runs in the best of batting conditions. I think that Lehmann may consider himself to be the 'Mitch Whisperer' by thinking he is able to bring out Starc's best however their is NO NEED TO GAMBLE!To be safe from excessive run leakage but still to have plenty of potency; A lineup of Pattinson, Bird, Harris is the best!

  • Mary_786 on July 4, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    @Amith_S well said, i think the battle is leaning towards Smith but cowan will have his chance today, wish him luck.My feel is that we will have Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Smith as our top 6 for the first test, but it depends on how few of the batsman bat today.

  • on July 4, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Based on form in the warm-up games, Siddle doesn't deserve a spot. If you check out his performances during Test matches you find something pretty cool.

    Stats since 1/1/2011 (to be as generous as possible to the English bowlers):

    Siddle: 26.76 ave, 54.4 SR, 2.94 Econ Anderson: 27.33 ave, 60.8 SR, 2.69 Econ Broad: 26.50 ave, 53.3 SR, 2.98 Econ

    This is the forgotten man of Australian pace bowling: totally written off as being worthless and inconsistent by both his countrymen and the opposition when in actuality he performs as well as Anderson and Broad and doesn't get an ounce of credit for it! Have to admit that at one stage I would have preferred his place to be taken by Harris or Bird but in a case like this you just have to have faith and back Sids' experience, work ethic and talent.

  • Shaggy076 on July 4, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    I think the test team is all but decided it looks like its going to be Watson, Rogers, Cowan, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Siddle, Starc and Lyon. I imagine it was close between Khawaja and Cowan but with both batsman having done very little the selectors have surely given Cowan time in this game to find form as he is in the team. I cannot understand if Khawaja is to play the first test why they would have left him out of this game. The other one is has Bird done enough to replace Siddle but I think his lack of bowling since his injury may count against him.

  • hycIass on July 4, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    @SangeethAsokan well written mate and your analysis is correct. I would also go with Khawaja and Hughes but Khawaja at 3 and Hughes at 5 as Khawaja bats at that position in state cricket and can handle the moving ball much better then Hughes. Hughes could be good for us lower in the order. Also i am still tempted to have Warner in at 6 but Smith is making a good case. For the bowling think you need either Harris OR Siddle in the attack otherwise you are lacking a little in experience and may need that ticker when the chips are down.So for me its Patterson-Lyon-Starc-Siddle OR Patterson-Lyon-Harris-Bird. I do agree that Bird/Starc is a mouthwatering preposition though!

  • Meety on July 4, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    @Chris_P on (July 3, 2013, 22:24 GMT) "...The guy who is probably best suited to English conditions (Copeland) has gone back home..." - on Northants form - he could easily open the bowling AND the batting AND be a better slipper than Watto!

  • on July 4, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    The two warm-up matches have given the Selectors and the coach a big headache. Both in the batting and the bwling. Shane Watson,Chris Rogers,Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin will take their respective positions of open,no.4 & no.7 But there is a fight for the rest of the 3 positions in the bating.And there are 5 players-the 30 scoring Cowan,the talented bt underperforming Hughes,benchwarmer Khawaja,agresive Smith and the Punching Warner. Hughes is the better option @ 3,given his performances in the warmups.Smith is the better option @6 given that he can tackle the English Spinners and the dryer pitches.As Warner is in the poorst form and out of Cricket,he may be left out.So,Its a faceoff btwn Khawaja and Cowan.And i wil be going with Khawaja.

    In the bowling,its real headache as Bird performed exceedingly well yesterday.Siddle was out of touch in the first warmup,but he is a fighter and the leader of d attack. so my team- Watto,Rogrs,Hughes,Pup,Khawaja,Smith,Haddin,Sidle,Patto,Lyon,Bird.

  • Amith_S on July 4, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    No doubt in my mind that this match was a fight off between Smith and Cowan and Smith is winning but Cowan has one more chance to get a big one. I do love Watson and Rogers opening and Khawaja at 3 as he is our best number 3 and resting him after his top score last game showed that decision has been made and rightly so. And as for Lyon how does he fare against Tim May?Because I'll bring this up again: Lyon has more wickets in less Tests at a better average, than May finished with…And for what it's worth, I'd be more than happy to have him in the test side as our main spinner.

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 4, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Bird hasn't hurt his chances but i am not sure if we will move away from Starc, Pattinson and Siddle as the fast bowlers. But well done to the kid. And with Rhino still there our bowling depth is amazing.I think Smith has won the battle over Cowan for the number 6 spot unless Cowan gets a century in the second innings. Khawaja is the one i am looking forward to watching. The kid has been waiting in the wings patiently with that promise far too long while Australia has done nothing to justify keeping him from getting a chance. He will be selected so we can see what he's now got. If after three or four tests he doesnt come up to standard, then confine him to the reserves. But he deserves his chance especially given this line ups poor performances over the past six months

  • MinusZero on July 4, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Considering Worcestershire is a Division 2 county side with no test players (apart from Compton's one off game). Is it too early to get excited about performances?

  • AidanFX on July 4, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    Surprisingly the good news for Australia is all of the batters and most of their bowlers have been amongst the runs and wickets in these lead up matches; ok given the debacle in India and Champions Trophy. Still, you would imagine England are steal better prepared and more stable. But at least things are looking tighter now. There is a good case for selecting Smith - namely because he is such a good fieldsmen which is crucial to have such players. Aus used to lead the pack, their seconds where better then most International starters; those days are long gone. That is the area I hope Leeman targets going forward.

  • OneEyedAussie on July 4, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    My only concern with playing a bowling line-up of Harris, Pattinson, Bird is injury. Also, my gut feeling is that the selectors will continue to place their faith in Siddle. I think the likely bowling line-up will be Siddle, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon.

    I think the selectors will go with Watson, Rogers, Hughes and Clarke for the top 4. Smith looks a likely starter in the lower order too and will be a good pick on a dry pitch. That leaves Khawaja, Warner and Cowan slugging it out for the last spot. As I wrote before I would prefer Khawaja, but I don't think he's done enough to convince the selectors. I think we will see Cowan in some capacity (perhaps at 3 with Hughes in the middle order).

    Can this team beat England? Well...they will have to have a very good game and be bowling when it's overcast and batting in the sunshine.

  • TATTUs on July 4, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Cowan, Clarke, Warner, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Starc, Bird, Lyon is my team.

  • BradmanBestEver on July 4, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    Pattinson, Bird and Starc - yes. The weak link by a mile is Lyon. Smith at 6? yeah not bad. The only edge we have over the poms is the fast men though - so it will be several years before we resume our rightful place at the top of the test tree.

  • on July 4, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    1. Watson 2. Rogers 3. Cowan 4. Clarke 5. Hughes 6. Smith 7. Haddin 8. Starc 9. Pattinson 10. Lyon 11. Bird - Warner was in abysmal form before his ban - he would be a huge risk to take. He doesn't stand a chance of playing the first Test.

  • _Australian_ on July 4, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 3, 2013, 17:50 GMT). Actually the total crowds for the entire Ashes of 2011 was greater than England's total in 2005. This will always be the case as our grounds have a capacity of double, triple and some times five times greater than the small English grounds. Considering our population we do o.k. attending sport. I was at both Melbourne and Sydney tests and the crowd was not too bad considering the position of the series. Yes sure it may have looked on TV that they were mostly English supporters but reality is we Aussies sadly had nothing to cheer about and the crowds were not all English as I am sure you believe. I was also playing cricket in your country in 1989 and 1993 and went to most tests and the crowds weren't too flash back then when England were not doing too well. Best you buy the English bowlers some chap stick. They seem to be "licking their lips" every time you post. One could even say that is "well documented" no!

  • Rowayton on July 4, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    About FFL's talk of empty seats in 2011, even you, Lunge, may have noticed a difference between Trent Bridge, which has a capacity of three men and a dog, and the MCG.

  • Mitty2 on July 4, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    @jlw74, well not anymore with bird taking those 4 wickets! The attack most likely will be starc, Lyon, patto and bird, although I completely agree with @wefinishthis's comment (not the part about siddle) and would prefer his line up. As @meety said in another thread, Faulkner will be used if we're one down with two tests to go - or some situation like that - as the fifth bowler, and I agree.

    @wefinishthis, siddle's career average is just above 28, which is very good in any respects - just ask James Anderson what he thinks about that average ;). And I'm going to be honest, it's as simple as his warm up form not warranting selection, the rest of this siddle denigration is just crap. He is completely devoted to the team, 'lionhearted', has done numerous things for this team and has given the advice and been the mentor of the young bowling brigade to make them the bowlers they are today. Siddle's worth in Aus cricket has been invaluable, and the devaluing of him is just ignorant and naive

  • Barnesy4444 on July 4, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    Warner, Khawaja and Smith should be fighting it out for the vacant 5-6 positions. Hughes 3, Haddin 7. I can't see a place for Cowan, a typically scratchy innings where he ran out his captain and then himself. The 3rd fast bowling spot is a challenge, Bird or Starc? Bird is likely to take more wickets in England in the mould of Mcgrath and Stuart Clarke. But Starc adds something different.

  • dunger.bob on July 4, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    I'm glad I'm not a selector. There is a case for each and every bowler in the squad, even Sidds. ... I think it gets down to what style of game you want to play. Personally, I think that attack is nearly always the best form of defense so I like an attack that has variety and can ask a lot of different questions. Obviously one or two bowlers need to be able to bowl economically when needed but the main emphasis should always be on getting wickets. It's a cliche but its true that there's nothing like loosing wickets to slow the scoring down. .. So I agree with those who went for Patto, Bird, Starc and Lyon. 4 very different bowlers who are all capable of going on a bit of a feeding frenzy of wickets. OK, maybe not Lyon but I reckon he is seriously under-rated by most of England. That alone might get him a wicket or two.

  • Batmanian on July 4, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    @HansonKoch, I think you've picked the most sensible team, but I think Warner will be benched for Cowan at Trent Bridge.

  • Mitty2 on July 4, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    (Cont) - with the likely bowling line up being patto, bird, starc and Lyon - which I'm not adverse to, because starc has seemingly improved since his surgery and his usual expensiveness and pressure-releasing overs being somewhat negated by Bird's prescence. Unless Harris takes a five for or better next innings, that should and will be the attack. But will there be a problem of inexperience? That may be a factor which pushes siddle in, but if it's in bird's position... No.

    Smith has to be selected. Two centuries on the A tour (one in a warm up) and one likely century here, as well as a critic defying and stoic half series in India, it would be shameful if he wasn't selected. He and Clarke are our only middle order bats, and he would do well against swann (being right handed helps). Smith's composure and adaptability will be very needed depending on if he comes in at 50/4 or 400/4 - and as seen in India, he prospered when it was closer to 50/4...

    Oh and smith in means no usman :)

  • Mitty2 on July 4, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    I posted that comment about bird at about tea, with both being wicket less, so very happy that bird has proved me wrong with 4 apparently solid wickets. As I've always said, he HAS to be in the first test. He compliments other bowlers (as seen at the Boxing Day test he complimented MJ perfectly), keeps the pressure on, gets little runs scored off him and is always a threat - old ball and new.

    @randy, I disagree with you, I think he is much more like Harris, and siddle can always be in the same attack because he can bowl the most overs and get us back in the game if all the other bowlers are struggling. However, there is an argument for having both bird and siddle being too one dimensional, well... What would you prefer, starc, who averages way above 30 in FC and tests and is ALWAYS expensive and MJ like, or siddle, who is a proven test performer, with a far superior record to Anderson. However, siddle's form doesn't warrant selection and starc's does, so there's your likely line up.

  • on July 4, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    The team I would like the selectors to go for (sure I am going to cop a lot of stick over this team) 1. Rogers 2. Watson 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Haddin 6. Smith 7. Starc 8. Pattinson 9. Harris 10. Lyon 11. Bird

  • siddhartha87 on July 4, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    Bird should take the new ball with Pattinson.Looks like Smith is almost sure at no 6 now. SO the only unfulfilled position is no 3.The race is between Cowan,Warner,Khwaja

  • wix99 on July 3, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    The batting lineup for the First Test is becoming clearer. I think Rogers, Watson, Hughes and Clarke have cemented their places. That leaves Khawaja, Cowan, Smith and Warner competing for the No. 4 & 6 spots. My preference would be Khawaja and Smith although I think the selectors will leave one of them out and put Warner in instead.

  • Rowayton on July 3, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    Wellfinishthis says Siddle's career average is very poor. What are you talking about? His runs per wicket in tests is better than Anderson, Broad and Bresnan and about the same as Finn and Swann. And the English quickies get to play half their games in the supposedly seam friendly English conditions. Not saying that he's a better bowler than any of them, but there's nothing wrong with his record. And for those saying Smith should be picked on some wickets but not others. Thank goodness you're not selectors. 140 years of test cricket tells us you don't try to rotate batsmen by guessing what the conditions might be like.

  • Meety on July 3, 2013, 23:47 GMT

    @Jono Makim - re: Finn, I think he is a wicket taker, but I also think he bowls a lot of bad balls. I have a healthy respect of Bresnan, IMO he & Tremlett are the two bowlers who turned the 10/11 Ashes around (Pommie fans forget that it was 1 all with 2 to go with Broad averaging 80 & Finn going at 4 rpo). Bresnan if fully recovered from his elbow injury has the Siddle-like competitiveness that you need in Test cricket. I would also venture he really is a Team Player, as his first 13 or 14 Tests resulted in wins for England. As for our boys - I agree that Warner is more of a match winner with the bat than most of the other Oz batsmen (all bar Clarke). I don't think he has had the opportunity (self inflicted), to be a viable selection for the first 2 Tests. I think Cowan cops too much criticism for his efforts, but with rogers in the team - I think Cowan is not as important - 1.Rogers, 2. Watto, 3. Khawaja, 4. Hughes, 5. Pup, 6. Smith, 7. Haddin, 8. Starc, 9. Sidz, 10. Patto, 11. Lyon

  • bobagorof on July 3, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge: Apparently Anderson will have licked his lips off before the first Test starts, with the amount he's been doing recently. If you are to be believed, it doesn't matter who the Aussies pick as Anderson will run through them all. I hope that a lack of lip-balm won't keep him out of the match.

  • Batmanian on July 3, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    I really enjoy the Khawaja lobby's approach. Not content with proffering him to bat one behind Clarke at six or five to give him some chance of adjusting to Test level, they actually want him first drop. Maybe this means they've given up on the unfavourable comparison to Smith and Hughes, and the likelihood that Warner will come back from the gulag soon enough, and are targeting Cowan. Cowan is not an first drop either, obviously, but the selectors seem to rate him as a stabilising influence (notwithstanding the run outs). If they were going to select Khawaja, they would have to protect him. Warner is Cowan's biggest threat, but if he does OK in the second innings, Cowan will get another chance - the most exhilarating no.3 since Mark Greatbatch.

  • Chris_P on July 3, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    @Mitty2. I really don't think Starc's inclusion is that bad, as I have been following him for quite a while. He is only 23, still on the rise & has shown enough, to me anyway, that he can be dangerous anywhere. But he needs the other quicks firing as well, Pattinson for sure, & who knows for the other although I have a feeling they will go with Siddle. I also would have liked to see Bird state his case & he has shown he is up to it this match. Rhino needed this hit out, I would take him into Lords. Faulkner is a great option to have as a back-up. The guy who is probably best suited to English conditions (Copeland) has gone back home after a successful stint with Northants. The batting is interesting, I have no idea what Boof is thinking at 3, 5 & 6 (assuming Clarke is 4).

  • phermon on July 3, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Jonsey2 Glad Pattinson's got something to lick - perhaps he should go get some Somerset icecream and settle down. He'll do a gasket before the third over if he gets too worked up about being Broootal! While I would bat Root further down the list, having him open means the bowlers can get rooted a little earlier in the innings. If Bairstow plays, he's got one hell of a lot to prove about his capacity at this level>

  • lesamourai on July 3, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    @Jono Makim. Agreed on Warner v Cowan/Khawaja. Any top 6 batsmen should be capable of winning a game from time to time off their own bat. Clarke has done it. So have Hughes and Warner. Watto has done it in other formats and is due in tests. Rogers and Smith are capable of doing it. Cowan and Khawaja haven't done so, and nor do they look likely to any time soon. Both also have a tendency to get bogged down, and also to be involved in run outs.

    @PrasPunter. On form, your bowling line-up is spot on - Patto, Starc, Bird and Lyon are the ones. However, I think Faulkner has to be in as the all-rounder/extra bowler. He is aggressive, economical, a genunine wicket taker, and a decent bat. He is also lively in the field. We need Watto for his batting, and so we can't rely on him for more than a couple of overs here and there. We can't risk him breaking down from over bowling.

  • HansonKoch on July 3, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Warner, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon.

  • Wefinishthis on July 3, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Siddle has done absolutely nothing to deserve a chance. His average against England both home and away is on the wrong side of 30, his career average is very poor and he got blasted in all of the warm-up games against weak opposition - how will he do against Cook and Trott? Not much better than last time I fear. Hands down, it HAS to be Bird, Pattinson, Harris and O'Keefe with Faulkner, Sayers or Starc to come in for injuries. Unfortunately the only other choice for spinner would be Lyon, but I think Agar has shown great potential. RandyOZ - Bird and Siddle are NOTHING alike. Bird bowls an accurate, economical line and length with great bounce and hits the seam. Siddle is nowhere near as accurate and rarely hits the seam upright. He's almost as inconsistent as MJ. Bird and Pattinson opening the bowling would be the perfect opening combination against England. They have the potential to be the new Steyn/Philander. Unfortunately I doubt they'll be picked.

  • PrasPunter on July 3, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    @jlw74, picking Faulkner means that we would have 6 bowlers ( if Watto bowls ). Not sure if it is a right combo given that our batting lineup is yet to establish itself. Patto, Starc and Bird would be the ones with Lyon as the spinner. That would give variety as well as some batting depth - Both Patto and Starc are decent bats.

    Watto/Rogers/Ussie/Clarke/Hughes/Smith/Haddin form the top 7. No Warner and Cowan for test #1.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 3, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    England fans would love it if Smith were picked again, Anderson and co will be licking their lips to bowl at this infamously brittle Australian batting order, just like it was in 2011. Unlike last time, where row upon row of empty seats in the stadiums spoke badly of the constitution of Oz support, I hope the same isn't repeated this time. Cricket is there to be enjoyed, and not result in the desertion of one's team when things are looking downward.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Many have said Bird is well suited to English conditions. I don't know. His returns prior to this game have not impressed me enough to feel he should be one of the 3, particularly since he really wasted the new ball today. One of Harris&Siddle is required to lead the side.

    @Tafara if warmup matches were my sole source for judgement, why is Warner in my side? Or for that matter the regular presence of Smith, before it was even confirmed that he would stay and not leave when Clarke's shows promising signs? Cowan has done relatively well from the top, yet I still have a shaky Hughes at 3 ahead of him.

    Strangely you pick up some non-existent link, but somehow qualify it yourself. I'm ok with that as long as you don't ascribe any of it to me, or think out loud too much. Anyway, if I'm not mistaken your name means "happy" and it's clearly not Aussie(Eng). Which means you're either a naturalised convert or just starved of action by Zim, as usual...but what you're not sounding happy boet.

  • jonesy2 on July 3, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    haha i think i can speak for every Australian supporter when i say i hope nick Compton is selected along with root and also ian bell and bairstow. patto is already licking his lips.

  • on July 3, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    @MarkTaffin, if they do decide to leave Finn out I reckon the Aussies chances will be a whole lot heftier. Compton too has done well in these matches and is probably just that bit older and grittier than Bairstow.

  • MarkTaffin on July 3, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Regardless of Compton (and Finn at Chelmsford) Flower & Miller have their XI for TB. Seems that it didn't matter how many runs Compton got (or wickets Finn or Onions got) they are bloody-mindedly sticking with the decision they made probably as long ago at the Headingley NZ Test. Just hope Root opening, Jonny at 6, and Bresnan's bowling doesn't come back and bite them. Andy/Geoff there's nothing wrong with changing your mind: I'm sure the team spirit could handle it....

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on July 3, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    Bird now with 3 wickets. He will be a surprise to the English, will only get better, and keeps the runs down. Has to be picked. Pattinson is a shoe in as well. That leaves Harris, Starc or Siddle for the 3rd pace spot. Peter might get it for his experience and record

  • RandyOZ on July 3, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    The problem with Bird doing well and not harris, is that we cannot play both Bird and Siddle, they are too alike, and based on form, Siddle is out.

  • on July 3, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    @Tafara Jakopo, I don't really see how you come to that conclusion? Perhaps you are miffed because I see no place for Khawaja, but the fact is that he just isn't doing enough... Its pretty clear to me that if Khawaja was going to play at Trent Bridge he would be playing here, Cowan certainly doesn't need the practice having spent the last couple of months playing for Notts.

    @jlw74, I just think Warner is more likely to go out and win us a game of cricket than Cowan or Khawaja, in Lehmann's brave new world that may see him play. Lehmann has said earlier in the week that he is contention to play. They played him in India despite the fact that he missed the warm ups due to a broken finger and he came out and did okay.

  • on July 3, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    The Aussie batting already is looking improved under Lehman. Let's hope it continues. The bowlers seem to have picked themselves for the 1st Test. Going by the last two trial games my team would be:

    Watson, Rogers, Cowan, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon and Bird.

    Go Aussies!!!

  • Charlie101 on July 3, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Nice to see Compton pressing his case for selection and good to have difficult decisions to make. I personally would like to see Root at 6 for the first test as I feel he has played so well at 6 and we may well need a rebuilding job in the middle order at Trent bridge . I am sure which ever way the selectors go will work for us.

  • on July 3, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    Im thinking 4 frontline Quicks for first test now, even if at expense of a Spinner.

    1. Rogers 2 . Watson 3. Cowan/Khawaja 4. Hughes 5. Clarke 6. Smith/warner 7 Haddin 8. Pattinson 9. Siddle 10. Harris 11. Bird

    I reckon hughes might bat better with Khawaja, and Smith might do well at 5. Perhaps this Order, 1. Rogers 2. Watson 3. Clarke 4. Hughes 5. Smith 6. Khawaja 7. Haddin 8. Pattinson 9. Siddle 10. Harris 11. Bird As good as Clarke is, I wouldn't mind if he missed out... for the team's sake.

  • jlw74 on July 3, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    @DylanBrah, dunno about delusional bro thats a bit harsh ;) however Khawaja has been spoken about as you are probably aware for quite a long time. He has flourished under Boof for Queensland and yes whilst he has yet to put a score on the board this series that says "PICK ME PICK ME" he does have the temprement and the class to be a very good number 3 for Australia. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of belief not in yourself but by somebody else. Lehmann has that belief in Khawaja thats why I reckon he might take a punt on him and play in him in the 1st test. Khawaja has more chance to score 500 runs in the series with a couple of big hundreds then Cowan does. @Mitty2 what odds you reckon that Faulkner may be a bolter and grab Starc's spot?? Bat at 8 and bowl 1st change with Pattinson and Siddle with the new ball?? Still time for Harris or Bird to step up though.

  • on July 3, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Don't freak out about Bird and Harris, the Worcs Batsman are seeing off their spells and focusing on scoring on the other bowlers. But if they play along with Pattinson, Siddle or Starc, then its relentless quality on the batsman and they will be forced to look to score more. We'll see, though.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 3, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Compton has now delivered again; meanwhile, Root opening has yielded less runs in two innings than Compton has in one. Conclusion: Compton should open for Ashes, and Root should stay down in middle/lower-middle.

  • on July 3, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    I'm beginning to seriously worry about our new bowl bowling, only 1 wicket from Pattinson, Harris, Starc and Bird with the innings new ball.

  • Mitty2 on July 3, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Really disappointing with both Harris and bird. Now it looks like the catastrophe that is waiting to happen in Mitchell starc bowling these ashes is going to eventuate. If you thought MJ was bad in '09 and '10/'11... Just wait for starc. Well it's not that bad, but there are 10 quicks in Australia right now who are superior to starc.

    Bird hasn't looked the same since his injury, however, it's not just that and I think that he isn't that suited to English conditions as many postulate. People say he is completely tailor made for bowling in England and so did bill Lawry during the SL series. However, he's been on two Aus A tours to England now with both having modest returns and in this innings he has so far been wicket less. He relies more on seam than swing and because of his 135km/h average pace, he seems to like the faster pitches. With an outstanding shield record and an outstanding two tests - all in Aus - his English results are comparably poor, but at least he's still economical.

  • on July 3, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    @Jono Makin and @ZFC_outkast, from what i have seen from you two, you are putting way too much emphasis on these warmup games and to use them as the sole source of selection in stupid. It's not as simple as that, it's not only the fact that runs are scored it's how they are scored, how certain players react when under pressure, if they are improving, their composure at the crease etc. I hear people calling for Nic Maddinson to come into the team simply becase he hits those two back to back hundreds, there was an article on him that every big shot was followed by a big swing and miss, he is not ready yet.

  • DylanBrah on July 3, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    You are all delusional if you believe Khawaja has any chance of playing at Trent Bridge after a lacklustre Aus A tour, scoring just 194 runs at an unimpressive average of 32.33. The reality is, Cowan, who has a CA contract and averaged 43.45 in the div 1 County competition has all but locked up the no.3 spot for at least the first Test. Having said that, I am extremely concerned with his inability to convert his starts into hundreds - but unless you want to take a risk and pick Warner, I'd be sticking with Cowan for the time being.

  • RandyOZ on July 3, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Harris a bit of a worry here. Surely now Smith is in over Cowan, who ran out Clarke and didnt convert yet again, despite his own hyperbole. Bird and Harris looking quite toothless, a bit disappointing.

  • milepost on July 3, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Smith has to play. Hughes and Warner are concerns. Compton would be harshly done by to be left out. I'd leave Bairstow out for Root. Finn will work Hughes over. This is going to be a tasty series and I am starting to think England could be in trouble here.

  • Munkeymomo on July 3, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    I'm glad to see Steve Smith getting his chance. I've been a fan for awhile, mainly due to his fantastic fielding. He will be the only Aussie wicket I won't be cheering for. Go Steve!

  • Benkl on July 3, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Hughes last series... Hughes last series in England...he HAS to do a lot of work because he is comming from a long way behind. Warm ups are not tests.. he did GREAT in england before being selected and failing in the tests.

    Smith is a 50/50 has improved a lot ...but would not pick him on a green wicket . ( If its dry pick Smith if green and moving Cowan)

    Cowen was one of our best player last tour (when Warner and Hughes failed completely )and he is great when there is a moving ball which is a big issue for Hughes and Warner. If its not a green top then open with Rogers..

    We also need a #3 and its not Khawaja .. he has limited international experience.. #3 should be our 2nd best / experienced player . I like Rogers at 3..

    Anyway my hunch is Rogers is the first backup , the fact that Siddle is not playing and he needs a lot of overs is interesting .. i think he wont be in the first test

    Cowen Watson Warner Clarke Hughes Haddin Smith Patterson Starc Harrison Lyon

  • jlw74 on July 3, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    @ Jono Makim, just curious mate do you think Warner is really a chance for Trent Bridge, and if so who for from the guys we have seen that have been given the opportunity to impress? I have a sneaking suspicion the only change we will see is Khawaja at 3 instead of Cowan, with Hughes and Smith at 5 and 6. Either way the next week waiting for Trent Bridge is going to be agony.

  • JMassive on July 3, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Right, so Phil Hughes shouldn't play because he was a bit scratchy in one innings which he wasn't even able to complete. That seems reasonable. Is everyone totally forgetting the 2 50s he made just last week?

    Well that seems pretty consistent with the current selection policy.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 3, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    My confidence in Smith and regular praise of him is an open secret. It's no coincidence that I also happen to rate Punter's captaincy and batting ahead of Sachin(fractionally behind Brian in batting though), and he happens rate Smith highly - or at least did so at the time he was brought in. Smith was destined for great heights!

    Why didn't they bat on and push on for an innings win? The only answer could be Hughes is already set to be included in the XI, and their questions about Smith are now answered and he's also in.

    Harris is a concern. I was hoping to see him rip through this Worcs side. If neither Bird nor Harris deliver here, then the decision will be down to Faulkner&Siddle. With Watson feeling confident enough to bowl now we're set to see toothless Siddle - much to the Poms' delight!

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Smith, Haddin, Siddle,Starc, Pattinson, Lyon. Batting up to 10 should give Flower&Cook a lot to think about.

  • goldeneraaus on July 3, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    why is australia strugling so much to take wickets with the new ball? has been a worrying recurring trend, they have hit back well but you must take wickets early against such a strong english batting line up or you face trott and cook settling in for the long haul...

  • Mary_786 on July 3, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    Smith making a good case for test selection, if he does come in at 6 then we have our final batsman with Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith looking good. Hughes was 19 not out but why was he struggling, he wasn't struggling last game, wonder if he is not feeling well.

  • siltbreeze on July 3, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    From what I've seen of Smith in international cricket, Big Bash, IPL etc, while his first class record might be just behind Hughes and Khawaja, he's ahead of them in terms of maturity, composure and ability to thrive on the big stage. As an England supporter I'm worried that Australia are stumbling upon their best top 6 just in time!

  • on July 3, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    I hope Smith gets a game or two in the ashes . He looks confident and should be an ideal No 6 for Australia . Best of luck to the Aussies from an Indian .

  • on July 3, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    R_U_4_REAL_NICK, What are you on about? Hughes has not really set a foot wrong in these two warm ups. I will not be in the least bit surprised if we carry on with this top 6 at Trent Bridge, the only change I see possible is Warner coming.

  • jlw74 on July 3, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    I never thought I would hear myself saying this after 10-11 but Steve Smith simply must play for Australia in the first test and be given the chance to make the number 6 position his own. Was super impressed by his 92 in Mohali his form with Australia A was outstanding and he now seems to know what sort of cricketer he is. Add to this the fact he is probably the best fielder in the country and has developed a level head the kid needs to be picked. The decision to scrap the idea of being a front line leg spinner has paid off also. Love the confidence Boof seems to have instilled into this side in a short period. Bottom line is Smith has shown how badly he wants to represent his country and be a success. Another reason for Dave Warner to be aggrieved at himself for letting himself and his country down. Smith will not let anybody down give the kid a crack.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 3, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Surely the curtain has closed for Hughes now, huh? Can't open in tests; can't perform at no. 3 in tests; can't perform at no. 6 in a First Class...

    The cupboard can't be THAT bare is it?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 3, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Surely the curtain has closed for Hughes now, huh? Can't open in tests; can't perform at no. 3 in tests; can't perform at no. 6 in a First Class...

    The cupboard can't be THAT bare is it?

  • jlw74 on July 3, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    I never thought I would hear myself saying this after 10-11 but Steve Smith simply must play for Australia in the first test and be given the chance to make the number 6 position his own. Was super impressed by his 92 in Mohali his form with Australia A was outstanding and he now seems to know what sort of cricketer he is. Add to this the fact he is probably the best fielder in the country and has developed a level head the kid needs to be picked. The decision to scrap the idea of being a front line leg spinner has paid off also. Love the confidence Boof seems to have instilled into this side in a short period. Bottom line is Smith has shown how badly he wants to represent his country and be a success. Another reason for Dave Warner to be aggrieved at himself for letting himself and his country down. Smith will not let anybody down give the kid a crack.

  • on July 3, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    R_U_4_REAL_NICK, What are you on about? Hughes has not really set a foot wrong in these two warm ups. I will not be in the least bit surprised if we carry on with this top 6 at Trent Bridge, the only change I see possible is Warner coming.

  • on July 3, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    I hope Smith gets a game or two in the ashes . He looks confident and should be an ideal No 6 for Australia . Best of luck to the Aussies from an Indian .

  • siltbreeze on July 3, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    From what I've seen of Smith in international cricket, Big Bash, IPL etc, while his first class record might be just behind Hughes and Khawaja, he's ahead of them in terms of maturity, composure and ability to thrive on the big stage. As an England supporter I'm worried that Australia are stumbling upon their best top 6 just in time!

  • Mary_786 on July 3, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    Smith making a good case for test selection, if he does come in at 6 then we have our final batsman with Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith looking good. Hughes was 19 not out but why was he struggling, he wasn't struggling last game, wonder if he is not feeling well.

  • goldeneraaus on July 3, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    why is australia strugling so much to take wickets with the new ball? has been a worrying recurring trend, they have hit back well but you must take wickets early against such a strong english batting line up or you face trott and cook settling in for the long haul...

  • ZCFOutkast on July 3, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    My confidence in Smith and regular praise of him is an open secret. It's no coincidence that I also happen to rate Punter's captaincy and batting ahead of Sachin(fractionally behind Brian in batting though), and he happens rate Smith highly - or at least did so at the time he was brought in. Smith was destined for great heights!

    Why didn't they bat on and push on for an innings win? The only answer could be Hughes is already set to be included in the XI, and their questions about Smith are now answered and he's also in.

    Harris is a concern. I was hoping to see him rip through this Worcs side. If neither Bird nor Harris deliver here, then the decision will be down to Faulkner&Siddle. With Watson feeling confident enough to bowl now we're set to see toothless Siddle - much to the Poms' delight!

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Smith, Haddin, Siddle,Starc, Pattinson, Lyon. Batting up to 10 should give Flower&Cook a lot to think about.

  • JMassive on July 3, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Right, so Phil Hughes shouldn't play because he was a bit scratchy in one innings which he wasn't even able to complete. That seems reasonable. Is everyone totally forgetting the 2 50s he made just last week?

    Well that seems pretty consistent with the current selection policy.

  • jlw74 on July 3, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    @ Jono Makim, just curious mate do you think Warner is really a chance for Trent Bridge, and if so who for from the guys we have seen that have been given the opportunity to impress? I have a sneaking suspicion the only change we will see is Khawaja at 3 instead of Cowan, with Hughes and Smith at 5 and 6. Either way the next week waiting for Trent Bridge is going to be agony.