The Investec Ashes 2013 July 30, 2013

Smith misses training with sore back

46

Steven Smith gave Australia an injury concern ahead of the Old Trafford Test, failing to train on Tuesday due to a sore back. Smith was Australia's only centurion from the tour match in Sussex, where he finished unbeaten on 102 in the first innings, and his efforts there meant he was unlikely to be in any real danger of losing his place for the third Investec Test in Manchester.

However, he will now have only one training session, on Wednesday, to prove his fitness ahead of the must-win Test, which begins on Thursday. Although Australia were confident that Smith would be fit, the unpredictable nature of back problems meant that it was too early to make a decision on his fitness.

"I think he's doing okay," opening batsman Chris Rogers said. "He might have tweaked it a little bit yesterday but talking to him he said he's improved a bit so hopefully he'll be right to train tomorrow and good to go on the first day. I think it's just a bit restrictive, so hopefully it's not a big issue."

The uncertainty around Smith added to the issues the selectors will face in the lead-up to the third Test, although if he were to miss out, it would give them an easy decision on how to squeeze David Warner back into the side. On Monday, Warner rejoined the squad for the first time since the Ashes began, after he was sent to Zimbabwe and South Africa to gain some match practice with Australia A.

His 193 against South Africa A in Pretoria in his final match of that tour built the pressure on the rest of the batsmen, although the coach Darren Lehmann said after the Sussex game that Warner was no certainty to be part of the XI in Manchester. Warner batted in the Old Trafford nets on Tuesday and would be the natural replacement if Smith were to miss out.

However, if Smith is fit to play and the selectors want the newly in-form Warner to slot in to the middle order, Phillip Hughes could be the man to miss out after scoring only two runs from his past three Test innings. Warner would be likely to bat in the middle order if recalled for his first Test of the tour, and Rogers said he was the kind of batsman who could make all the difference if things went his way.

"Davey brings a lot of energy to the group always," Rogers said. "He's just one of those guys. He goes a hundred miles an hour. It's fantastic to see him get runs. He's such a destructive player that if he bats for a while he could put some real pressure on England. If he plays hopefully he can do well and have one of those games out and help us win this next Test.

"He's one of those ones opposition know that they have to get out quickly. If he bats for a while he can take the game away like Gilchrist used to do. Hopefully he can do that if he does play."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bonobo on July 30, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    Smith seems to have a good temperament and looks like he has a good technique against spin. I thought his selection in 2010, symbolised a lot of what was wrong with the Australian thinking, overlooking the best available players on the basis they were not quite the same quality as the the Golden Generation, and taking something of a punt on youngsters like Smith and Hughes filingl those shoes. He looked completely out of his depth then...but he has improved, as is natural. It would have been better for all if Smith had been allowed to learn his game and prove himself the next best in line, rather than an aborted test experience, but of the young batters in the squad he looks to me the one, best to persevere with. On Warner I would have him at the top of the order, with Watson, apart from in the very different conditions in India, he has a good record...and Aus need to take a chance now, they are not going to beat England by out grinding them. Rogers would be just as effective at 3.

  • popcorn on July 30, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    The more I see Steve Smith's batting and bowling, the more I see him as a well -developed all round player. His fielding has always been among the best.He is a good Number 6,which is a very important position in the Team,one that gives solidity to a good foundation by the Engine Room - the Top Three Bats. (ask Bill Lawry,Ricky Ponting, Marcus North). Neither David Warner,nor Phil Hughes qualifies for this solid position.Both are flashy,impatient, and sitters for nicking behind the stumps. Of the two, I would prefer Phil Hughes, judgiing from the way he was patient while Agar was getting to his hundred.If not Smith,or Warner,or Hughes,I would choose Shane Watson at Number 6. He flatters to deceive as an opener. He has made very few hundreds. Rather have the solid Ed Cowan and Chris Rogers open, Shane Watson at Number 6.At least we'll get some seam bowling out of him. Particularly if we are going to choose two Quicks (Siddle and Harris,Watson the third) and two spinners,Lyon and Agar.

  • Wefinishthis on July 31, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    I've said this before, but instead of complaining, Australia could nullify pitch doctoring by preparing the pitch in Darwin (Marrara) as a dust bowl designed to replicate Indian conditions and then play some first class matches there or possibly even introduce a NT shield team (with an Indian spinner like Harbhajan). Combined with the possible introduction of 5-day shield matches, this would for the first time give our batsmen a great chance to prove their techniques against spin in these conditions at a very high level - an opportunity they currently do not have. It's only when they get to India that they find themselves woefully underprepared with techniques that do not suit the conditions. Cricket Australia need to be leading the world and that involves being creative and being proactive and I think that if Australia ever want to win in India more regularly and address their weakness against spin, they need to do something about it.

  • Shaggy076 on July 31, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    samgannon22 ; And he showed every bit of that talent averaging 35 last shield season when all these batsman averaged that playing for Australia. Clearly with those statistics he is so much better than the current crop.

  • samgannon22 on July 31, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Aust needs to rush Maddinson straight into the test team. Any idiot can see he has more talent than any of our current hacks bar Clarke. Wake up and smell the roses selectors!

  • DustyBin on July 31, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    anyone else worried that Warner will be trooping off after a 5 ball nought about 143 tomorrow?

  • AltafPatel on July 31, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Cricinfo commenting section need to improve now seeing current trend. They might not include 'reply to comments' functionality to avoid dispute between the fans but can at-least allow agree/disagree buttons to make commenting more interesting and encouraging.

  • Shaggy076 on July 31, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    jmcilhinney; I wouldn't worry too much about people calling the pitches doctors some people are just looking for excuses. Australian batsman struggle on the selectively watered pitches of India where the bounce is inconsistent and theses pitches where the ball goes through the surface and explodes are a disgrace. The pitches in England have been dry, slow turn but consistent bounce - they have been batsman paradise but other than Root and Bell no batsman have taken advantage of them.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 31, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    When the Aussies miss Smith with a bad back, you know things must be bad. Although we knew that already.

  • jmcilhinney on July 31, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    I see various people complaining about "doctored" pitches. These people have no idea about English weather. That Lords pitch had a reasonable amount of grass on it to start with but it was simply dry because there hasn't been enough rain, unlike in previous years where there was too much. If England were going to doctor pitches then don't you think they'd have played SA on turners too? It sounds like excuses for Australia's poor play against spin to me.

  • bonobo on July 30, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    Smith seems to have a good temperament and looks like he has a good technique against spin. I thought his selection in 2010, symbolised a lot of what was wrong with the Australian thinking, overlooking the best available players on the basis they were not quite the same quality as the the Golden Generation, and taking something of a punt on youngsters like Smith and Hughes filingl those shoes. He looked completely out of his depth then...but he has improved, as is natural. It would have been better for all if Smith had been allowed to learn his game and prove himself the next best in line, rather than an aborted test experience, but of the young batters in the squad he looks to me the one, best to persevere with. On Warner I would have him at the top of the order, with Watson, apart from in the very different conditions in India, he has a good record...and Aus need to take a chance now, they are not going to beat England by out grinding them. Rogers would be just as effective at 3.

  • popcorn on July 30, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    The more I see Steve Smith's batting and bowling, the more I see him as a well -developed all round player. His fielding has always been among the best.He is a good Number 6,which is a very important position in the Team,one that gives solidity to a good foundation by the Engine Room - the Top Three Bats. (ask Bill Lawry,Ricky Ponting, Marcus North). Neither David Warner,nor Phil Hughes qualifies for this solid position.Both are flashy,impatient, and sitters for nicking behind the stumps. Of the two, I would prefer Phil Hughes, judgiing from the way he was patient while Agar was getting to his hundred.If not Smith,or Warner,or Hughes,I would choose Shane Watson at Number 6. He flatters to deceive as an opener. He has made very few hundreds. Rather have the solid Ed Cowan and Chris Rogers open, Shane Watson at Number 6.At least we'll get some seam bowling out of him. Particularly if we are going to choose two Quicks (Siddle and Harris,Watson the third) and two spinners,Lyon and Agar.

  • Wefinishthis on July 31, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    I've said this before, but instead of complaining, Australia could nullify pitch doctoring by preparing the pitch in Darwin (Marrara) as a dust bowl designed to replicate Indian conditions and then play some first class matches there or possibly even introduce a NT shield team (with an Indian spinner like Harbhajan). Combined with the possible introduction of 5-day shield matches, this would for the first time give our batsmen a great chance to prove their techniques against spin in these conditions at a very high level - an opportunity they currently do not have. It's only when they get to India that they find themselves woefully underprepared with techniques that do not suit the conditions. Cricket Australia need to be leading the world and that involves being creative and being proactive and I think that if Australia ever want to win in India more regularly and address their weakness against spin, they need to do something about it.

  • Shaggy076 on July 31, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    samgannon22 ; And he showed every bit of that talent averaging 35 last shield season when all these batsman averaged that playing for Australia. Clearly with those statistics he is so much better than the current crop.

  • samgannon22 on July 31, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Aust needs to rush Maddinson straight into the test team. Any idiot can see he has more talent than any of our current hacks bar Clarke. Wake up and smell the roses selectors!

  • DustyBin on July 31, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    anyone else worried that Warner will be trooping off after a 5 ball nought about 143 tomorrow?

  • AltafPatel on July 31, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Cricinfo commenting section need to improve now seeing current trend. They might not include 'reply to comments' functionality to avoid dispute between the fans but can at-least allow agree/disagree buttons to make commenting more interesting and encouraging.

  • Shaggy076 on July 31, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    jmcilhinney; I wouldn't worry too much about people calling the pitches doctors some people are just looking for excuses. Australian batsman struggle on the selectively watered pitches of India where the bounce is inconsistent and theses pitches where the ball goes through the surface and explodes are a disgrace. The pitches in England have been dry, slow turn but consistent bounce - they have been batsman paradise but other than Root and Bell no batsman have taken advantage of them.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 31, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    When the Aussies miss Smith with a bad back, you know things must be bad. Although we knew that already.

  • jmcilhinney on July 31, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    I see various people complaining about "doctored" pitches. These people have no idea about English weather. That Lords pitch had a reasonable amount of grass on it to start with but it was simply dry because there hasn't been enough rain, unlike in previous years where there was too much. If England were going to doctor pitches then don't you think they'd have played SA on turners too? It sounds like excuses for Australia's poor play against spin to me.

  • Wadood_Chaudhary on July 31, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Despite talent in Autralian batting they have serious problems of experience and concentration. For example, I noticed a real problem with Usman Khawaja. Every time he went on to bat in Test cricket he occupied the crease for more than an hour for each of his completed Test inning in 7 Tests. And yet despite occupying the crease for so long he failed to convert his minutes on the wicket into anything substantial.

  • on July 31, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    @Shaggy076, well said, I too have had enough of the Khawaja love brigade. Sure he looks okay against the quicks, but put a spinner on and he's a wicket waiting to happen. Hardly a wonder all his fans want him at no.3!

    For goodness sakes, bring back Warner, he is the one young bloke who can put BIG runs on the board.

  • 2MikeGattings on July 31, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    @Gautam I am guessing you are the aesthetic sort. Smith's batting is incredibly ugly.

  • Markus971 on July 31, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    If D.Warner is to come into the team, (Hes the closest thing around to V.Sehwag) its S.Smith that will drop out! He isnt going to bowl! so? Rogers 1 more chance. P.Hughes at no. 3 for the rest of the series, S.Watson at 4 (it has to be His last chance) U.Khwaja 5, M.Clarke at 6, He wont bat in the top 4.. so 6?! Now the Bowlers, I'd never have picked Harris, Siddle & Bird!! Its a pity Faulkner never got a few wickets.. Starc, Bird, Siddle, Lyon! Oh yeh Go Wadeyyyyy! Aussie a chance at a V!

  • DavoWilly on July 31, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    A well crunched team popcorn. Agree with you about Smith et al. But not Hughes - he flatters to deceive with position saving half century every 6 or so digs...unreliable and questionable technique against the best bowlers...he's had too many chances now..time to say bye bye. My team for what it's worth: Warner, Rogers/Cowan (much of a muchness there), Khawaja, Smith, Clarke, Watson, Haddin, Agar, Harris, Siddle, Bird. Agar over Lyon cos similar bowling ability(at this stage) but Agar much more potential and much better bat. With Smith, Warner and Clarke (if he can) taking up second spinner pos. between em - in combo still more dangerous than Lyon, who is susceptible to a thrashing by these Eng bats. Smith deserves chance at 4 allowing Clarke to bat at 5. Watson last chance to iron out technique probs at no. 6.

  • jmcilhinney on July 31, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy on (July 30, 2013, 14:51 GMT), everyone but you is clear that Smith is a batsman and he has been selected as such, which explains why it took so long for him to get a bowl. I think that everyone on both sides of the fence was surprised at just how handy his bowling was, given how he's neglected it lately. He is a much-improved batsman at the domestic level and obviously the hope is that he can translate that to the Test arena, although that is obviously not a given either. I think one of the main concerns regarding Smith is that he's probably Australia's best player of spin after Clarke and losing him might leave them even more exposed. If he was replaced by Warner then that's another left-hander who is shaky against spin, of which Australia already have two. Swann would think it was his birthday.

  • jmcilhinney on July 31, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    @Robin Ryder on (July 30, 2013, 18:34 GMT), the forecast I saw yesterday said a thunderstorm on Thursday and the timing implied that the whole day would likely be lost. That's now improved markedly and currently suggests that the day should be mostly, if not completely, unaffected by rain. There will be cloud cover though, so the captains will have to weigh up bowling first to help their seamers against batting last on a likely spinning wicket. Of course, the forecast may change several times more before the toss.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 30, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Smith must play if he is fit. He is a very good player of spin, and all the tracks are very un-English like this year. The Poms apparently believe that they can't beat us on normal English pitches, which is rather strange when you consider their media's insistance that they are far superior to Australia - they should be able to win on the same pitches they served up for India and the WI recently. It seems that in this past year or 2 all ethics regarding pitch preparation have been thrown out the window. I feared this is the wake of India's relentless doctoring of its home tracks - that it might lead to a pitch war. Now this seems to have happened. I've have always been totally against this, as it is little better than cheating. But I now hope Australia does the same thing to India and England when they come to AUS next. As Allan Border recently commented regarding the current tracks in ENG, when the great 1980's WI teams toured AUS we didn't lay down "dry turners". Times have changed.

  • Shaggy076 on July 30, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    I've been reading these comments for the last few weeks and it goes to show that there are a lot of people with no idea what goes on with cricket. I'm sick of reading the pick Katich comments - he has retired from shield cricket and to me that is retirement from test cricket. The Aussies have to stick with a selection policy of you must play shield cricket otherwise they will devalue our greatest tool. Gautam Shenoy; seriously mate don't comment if you have no idea Smith is clearly a batsman that will have the occasional bowl he has rarely bowled in shield cricket. Also to the Khawaja lovers he may be an ok cricket but please spare me the drivel where he will be a solid # 3 and best aussie young batsman he has delivered nothing yet, lets at least wait until he has delivered something. Then I read about dropping Hughes, in four test innings Australia only have 2 batting efforts from the top 7 that you could call credible Hughes has one of them and Haddin the other.

  • Wefinishthis on July 30, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Milhouse79 - great post! It's hard to argue with that prediction. I'd agree that all of that is the most likely scenario. Bird should have been playing the last 2 tests (I said this BEFORE) and now they will pick him for his LEAST-suited pitch where if he goes badly, they'll drop him undeservedly probably for Starc yet again. My only hope is that like McGrath, his style of bowling can be effective on any pitch in the world, but he's still inexperienced and I'm not getting my hopes up after hearing about how the pitch was burnt (ie set up for Swann/Panesar). Great move by the English curators as the Aus selectors failed to pick their best spinner again (O'Keefe) and having seen how Agar/Lyon are completely ineffective, it's difficult to see Aus winning a single test and therefore they will end up making history as the worst Australian side ever.

  • SamWintson92 on July 30, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    a) David Warner just has to be in the XI in 3rd test. He averages 39 in the tests. I'll put him at 4. I'll drop Smith for Warner b) No 6 will be a toss up between Hughes & Smith. Smith does offer effective legspin but Aus doesn't have the luxury to include him as Aus is struggling to compile runs on the board. I prefer Hughes over Smith as a batsman & I feel it'll stregthen the batting of Aus c) I'll play 3 frontline seamers with Watson as 4th & 1 spinner. Lyon should play in place of Agar. Harris & Siddle are certain. The 3rd pacer will be one of Starc, Bird or Faulkner. I'll give my nod to Bird. He averages 16 with the ball in tests d) Want to see Watson scoring a massive century. He needs to occupy the crease more than dominating & play straight with the bat rather than across where he falls victim to lbw. My lineup for 3rd test will be: 1 Watson 2 Rogers 3 Khawaja 4 Warner 5 Clarke (C) 6 Hughes 7 Haddin (WK) 8 Siddle 9 Harris 10 Bird 11 Lyon.

  • landl47 on July 30, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Australia really don't want one of their right-handers to go down on what we're told will likely be a pitch that takes spin. I'd take Smith second after Clarke, he is one of the few that might be able to counter Swann.

  • crockit on July 30, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    some crazy ideas milepost. you want to not pick the spinner with best record since warne (Lyon) and have 4 spin options consisting of Clarke who is not bowling because of back issues, warner who is at best a partnership breaker, agar who will bowl lots of overs and have lots of runs taken off him and smith who has looked ok but was flattered by his 4 wicket haul and remains very much a part timer who also has a bad back right now. The Aussies cannot solve their batting problems. They should at least make sure they stick to the motto its not how many but how good when it comes to the bowling. Bring in Lyon for Agar, Starc or Bird for Pattinson and if you like Warner for Hughes (or Smith if he is injured).

  • on July 30, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    Where do you get your weather prediction from CapitalMarkets? The one I have, which is usually reliable (Accu) is predicting a good weather day for Thursday in Manchester. Same for B'ham and London, i.e. whole England, sunny and warm 30C. Looking at the whole 5 days, you'd count on a result unaffected by weather. This new rotated track has never had a Test Match played on it, so we have no prior knowledge of pace, spinnability, bounce or wear. Given an unknown surface in England, and England's tendency to dominate on English pitches, I'd say this is England's Perth, a bouncy track England never cope with in Perth, but this is Manchester. T20 has taken a serious toll on Aussie batsmanship and this is the crux. It is a Test Match, requiring hours of intense concentration if you are a batsman, and young Mr Warner for one, does not have a smidgeon of what it takes in this arena, nor does any other Aussie batsman, barring Clarke. Australia have no Root, Trott nor a Bell.

  • CapitalMarkets on July 30, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    If Australia don't win this test match (and it is unlikely that they will, bearing in mind that at least half of the first day is going to be lost to rain) they can start to select for the future test series in Australia. They can experiment for the last two test matches, (Kaitich is history). Of the older players, I'd say that Rogers and probably Watson need to be deselected. Watson is too flawed technically to be credible as an opener and Australia have plenty of number 6s. I don't ascribe to the "Shane Watson is an arrogant prima donna" theory but I don't think his bit part cricket adds enough to Australia. Warner should open with Hughes or Cowan and they should play carefully and straight. I think Australia should stick with Harris and Clarke because they are clearly their two class acts but of the other thirty-somethings, I think Haddin should make way for Wade. So we have Warner, Hughes/Cowan, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Agar and Wade, with Siddle, Harris, Bird/AN Other and Lyon.

  • on July 30, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    it seems every 2nd person in australia is a selector these days. australia need to stop changing and chopping their side every 5 seconds-i know there are many good players in australia but there is no miracle man who will save them. it all depends on the grit and hard work by every member of the XI that takes the field. whether u pick or warner or hughes wont make a difference anyway if you dont play well this is a team game.......time to grow a ticker australia.

  • wibblewibble on July 30, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Warner is now in form because he almost got 200 on a bouncy road on which three other people scored their highest ever FC scores? I guess we will see on Thursday.

    This Test is Australia's only hope of avoiding a whitewash, looks like it's going to rain a bit.

  • on July 30, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    So much fuss over a player who still hasn't figured out whether he is a bowler or a batsman (neither, from the evidence we have seen). He averages 18.25 with the bat this Ashes, under 30 in his career and a whole article is dedicated to the concern of whether he will play or not due to injury as if he is some kind of an impact player. What a joke! Pretty much sums up Australia's lack of resources. For all those who claim he is an "improved player", please back it up with test match (not warm up games) stats.

  • Jaffa79 on July 30, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    My prediction is that all members of the Aussie touring squad will play a Test. Lyon will play next Test without success and then they'll turn to the Pakistani leggie, Harris is due a breakdown this Test and will be replaced by Faulkner, who will be picked because he has some 'mongrel' (unlike the rest of them) and Wade will replace the equally hapless Haddin on the basis that he is younger. Warner will play, swish and then edge. Bird will finally play but he would've been better on the Trent Bridge and Lords pitches.

  • MartinC on July 30, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Even as an Englishman I like Steve Smith. Gives it 100%, looks like a good guy to have around the dressing room and has talent. However lets not mistake him for a top 6 Test batsman.

    If he could work on his bowling and develop that so you could call him a 2nd spinner with a straight face and he could bat at 7 or 8 and bowl as the 5th bowler then he is worth his place. Right now while he will score you useful runs it would be surprise if he made the kind of big scores you need from a specialist batsman.

    Then again that batting all rounder spot is also where Watson should be if he is going to play.

  • milepost on July 30, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    If it is a spinning track I'd just bring in Warner for Pattinson. Controversial, may be, but I think that it would improve our batting and give us 4 spin options (Clarke, Agar, Smith and Warner). Bat Watson at 5 or 6 so he can bowl a bit more with Warner to open. Lyon doesn't have the form to edge out Agar. It is also minimum disruption to the team. Easy.

  • 2MikeGattings on July 30, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    I agree with @dmat that Smith is the better all rounder at the moment. Watson despite his obvious talent never seems to make a big impact with either bat or ball. Smith looks like a bits and pieces cricketer but he is the one who is putting in the more impressive performances.

  • hycIass on July 30, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    If Smith is injured then Warner comes in otherwise we go with the same top 6 as Lords. Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, BIrd, Siddle, Harris, Lyon

  • ullasjp on July 30, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    My test team Warner s.marsh burns clarke watson smith wade johnson agar siddle cummins/harris my odi n t20 team warner watson marsh clarke smith haddin marsh faulkner hazlewood/helfinahus starc dohetry

  • Barnesy4444 on July 30, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Hughes should be at 3, he is an opener and needs to be as high up the order as possible, preferably opening. Clarke seems determined to bat at 5 therefore Warner should be at 4. Number 6 is open between Khawaja and Smith.

    But having said all of that some stability in the top 6 would be nice for a change.

  • ullasjp on July 30, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Really australia have the great bunch of guys just they need some x factor to perform. i think its better than indian team that won champion trophy..

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 30, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Our batsman need to learn how to build an innings. There's been periods of time were England have been scoring between 1.5 & 2.5 runs per over…Yet they manage to always build innings. Players like Root & Bell have shown the Blue Print. Warner did well but it was a very flat pitch which he won't get in the ashes so ne needs to be aware of that. Rogers will eventually come through, Khawaja is one of the best young batsman going around and showed some of that class in Lords and will come through if given only half the run Cowan was given. I like Smith because he has shown improvement in his batting and also bowls leggies as well. But all these young batsman need to learn to build an innings whichi know boof has been publicly stating as well.

  • DPENRAW on July 30, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Steve Smith will be fine and he will be playing a historical game there at Manchesters. Hopefully David Warner will also give some momentum to the game and this test will turn around to AUSTRALIANS' favour.

  • AltafPatel on July 30, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    It's been much longer gap before 3rd test. Scheduling should be consistent.

  • dmat on July 30, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    For the position of all rounder in the team, it's a toss up between Smith and Watson. Frankly, I would say that Smith is more reliable physically and if he's fit, he should play. As for Watson, the Australian selectors continue to pander to this underperformer and the sooner he's out of the team the better. Warner needs to sit on the sidelines for another game and give Hughes one last chance, let's see how Cowan goes opening with Rogers (assuming he's not sick again). Bird has to come in for Patto and (sadly) Lyon for Agar.

  • Front-foot-gunge on July 30, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Bring in Simon Katich. The guy plays for Lancashire, can actually hold a bat and can bowl useful left arm Chinaman's Can't believe no-one is sounding out the Kat he just recently scored a double ton and has the ability and patience to grind out an ugly innings, just what Australia needs. Michael Clarke needs to put his ego aside and do what's right for the team, who cares if the Kat throttled him in the dressing room, once, bling bling Clarke probably asked for it.

  • Amith_S on July 30, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Popcorn good comments mate, lets hope Smith is good to go for Manchester as his ability to play spin will be important in the middle order. I don't think any changes will be made to our top 6 from the Lords test as boof will show confidence in the young batsman. Smith got a century in Hove so he is good to go if fit, Khawaja was our top scorer in Lords on a tough track so i am excited by his growth and hoping he becomes a solid number 3 for us and Hughes will hopefully work out how to play Swann and get some runs if chosen ahead of Warner. I am wondering if we will go with 2 spinners given the pitch will turn though i am inclined to go with Bird and Lyon as the new additions.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 30, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Well they did say he was the next 'Michael Clarke' didn't they! No kidding... bad back at 24 years old eh? Poor fella; I hope it's just growing pains - Aus. really need his bowling.

  • samgannon22 on July 30, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    When we are worried about Steve Smith not playing we are really in trouble!

  • 2MikeGattings on July 30, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Let's hope he recovers in time for the test. Smith is a plucky cricketer and I admire the way he has improved his game in the last few years. After his success at Lord's I hope Clarke has the confidence use him as a genuine bowling option.

  • on July 30, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    People are seriously talking up Warner too much. 193 against A-team bowlers on a ridiculously flat pitch shows nothing. The likes of Abbott, de Lange and Harmer are good bowlers but they're still not at the level of Anderson, Broad and Swann. Also from what we've seen of Warner so far he is hit or miss. From 34 innings he has 3 centuries, but also 17 scores of less than 25.

  • on July 30, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    People are seriously talking up Warner too much. 193 against A-team bowlers on a ridiculously flat pitch shows nothing. The likes of Abbott, de Lange and Harmer are good bowlers but they're still not at the level of Anderson, Broad and Swann. Also from what we've seen of Warner so far he is hit or miss. From 34 innings he has 3 centuries, but also 17 scores of less than 25.

  • 2MikeGattings on July 30, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Let's hope he recovers in time for the test. Smith is a plucky cricketer and I admire the way he has improved his game in the last few years. After his success at Lord's I hope Clarke has the confidence use him as a genuine bowling option.

  • samgannon22 on July 30, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    When we are worried about Steve Smith not playing we are really in trouble!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 30, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Well they did say he was the next 'Michael Clarke' didn't they! No kidding... bad back at 24 years old eh? Poor fella; I hope it's just growing pains - Aus. really need his bowling.

  • Amith_S on July 30, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Popcorn good comments mate, lets hope Smith is good to go for Manchester as his ability to play spin will be important in the middle order. I don't think any changes will be made to our top 6 from the Lords test as boof will show confidence in the young batsman. Smith got a century in Hove so he is good to go if fit, Khawaja was our top scorer in Lords on a tough track so i am excited by his growth and hoping he becomes a solid number 3 for us and Hughes will hopefully work out how to play Swann and get some runs if chosen ahead of Warner. I am wondering if we will go with 2 spinners given the pitch will turn though i am inclined to go with Bird and Lyon as the new additions.

  • Front-foot-gunge on July 30, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Bring in Simon Katich. The guy plays for Lancashire, can actually hold a bat and can bowl useful left arm Chinaman's Can't believe no-one is sounding out the Kat he just recently scored a double ton and has the ability and patience to grind out an ugly innings, just what Australia needs. Michael Clarke needs to put his ego aside and do what's right for the team, who cares if the Kat throttled him in the dressing room, once, bling bling Clarke probably asked for it.

  • dmat on July 30, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    For the position of all rounder in the team, it's a toss up between Smith and Watson. Frankly, I would say that Smith is more reliable physically and if he's fit, he should play. As for Watson, the Australian selectors continue to pander to this underperformer and the sooner he's out of the team the better. Warner needs to sit on the sidelines for another game and give Hughes one last chance, let's see how Cowan goes opening with Rogers (assuming he's not sick again). Bird has to come in for Patto and (sadly) Lyon for Agar.

  • AltafPatel on July 30, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    It's been much longer gap before 3rd test. Scheduling should be consistent.

  • DPENRAW on July 30, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Steve Smith will be fine and he will be playing a historical game there at Manchesters. Hopefully David Warner will also give some momentum to the game and this test will turn around to AUSTRALIANS' favour.

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 30, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Our batsman need to learn how to build an innings. There's been periods of time were England have been scoring between 1.5 & 2.5 runs per over…Yet they manage to always build innings. Players like Root & Bell have shown the Blue Print. Warner did well but it was a very flat pitch which he won't get in the ashes so ne needs to be aware of that. Rogers will eventually come through, Khawaja is one of the best young batsman going around and showed some of that class in Lords and will come through if given only half the run Cowan was given. I like Smith because he has shown improvement in his batting and also bowls leggies as well. But all these young batsman need to learn to build an innings whichi know boof has been publicly stating as well.