The Investec Ashes 2013 August 15, 2013

Watson to lead Australians in tour game

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Shane Watson will lead the Australian XI in their two-day tour match against the England Lions in Northampton, with the captain Michael Clarke and vice-captain Brad Haddin both resting from the fixture.

Watson has been passed fit to bat in the match, which starts on Friday, but he will not bowl as he continues to work towards full fitness after suffering pain in his right hip/groin during the fourth Test. However, the Australians are confident Watson will be able to bowl in the final Test at The Oval, which begins next Wednesday.

Haddin, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle have already headed to London to prepare, and Clarke, Chris Rogers and Jackson Bird are the other squad members who will sit out of the Northampton game. That leaves Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner as the only pace bowlers in the team, although the coach Darren Lehmann floated the possibility of wicketkeeper Matthew Wade sending down some seamers if required.

Wade bowled his only first-class over during the Hobart Test against Sri Lanka in December and it was impressive, skiddy and quicker than expected. Lehmann said the match would be a good opportunity to get a large amount of overs from spinners Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar, and also to give the batsmen some time in the middle.

"We'll give them [Agar and Lyon] a decent bowl," Lehmann said. "You'd be mad not to. It's a great opportunity to bowl a lot of overs. Steve Smith will bowl a few, you might see Wade or Warner bowl a few. We'll see how we go.

"The thing for us is to just get the batters some time in the middle. We can only bat for a day and bowl for a day. I suppose it's like a longer training session, if you like, and it's not first-class. For us it's still a chance to impress the selectors and perform really well and get to where we want to get to. It's still important, it's two long days."

The match will be played to a maximum of 100 overs per side for the first innings.

Australian XI Shane Watson (capt), Ashton Agar, Ed Cowan, James Faulkner, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner.

England Lions Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Gary Ballance, Keith Barker, Jos Buttler, James Harris, Simon Kerrigan, Alex Lees, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 2MikeGattings on August 16, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    What happened to Varun Chopra, didn't he get a double century recently?

  • Ms.Cricket on August 16, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    Hopefully the England Lions will bowl the Australians out twice in two days and score enough runs batting once to win by tea on day 2 ;)

  • willsrustynuts on August 16, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    Crazy preparation continues. Can't blame Shrek for the ill thought out schedule.

    Will be funny if it rains for a day and then Australia get bowled out in 40 overs!

  • dummy4fb on August 16, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    I am just curious, which WK-batsman, Cricket Australia wants to groom in, as THE successor to Gilly? So far it looked like a game of Musical Chair. "Had(guys)in" ; Had-out! Someone or the other is allowed to "Wade" in. And, Fade-out! It gives us (the admirer's of Gilly), a little "Paine" to watch the goings-on, goings-in, and goings-out on this front!

  • Malx on August 16, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    What a rubbish game of cricket, 2 days !! It doesn't matter what happens, I saw Watson play straight and smash Worcester around for a ton but in the Tests he plays across the line. The selectors couldn't pick their noses, Lehmann is changing the side every game, he wouldn't know if the sun was out ! Stick with your best 11. These guys need experience.

  • dummy4fb on August 16, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @Chris_P, i would go in with 5 bowlers here and also bring back Hughes as an opener, I thought he'd be a good long term no.3, but I didn't realise that his batting against spin was so poor, so i'd bump him up to opener with Warner and play Rogers at 3.

    I'd like to see Agar get another run, but only if he is fully fit and recovered from his hip and finger injuries, Lyon should also play. Starc brings good variety, i swear he is so close now to becoming a very good test match bowler, we need to keep putting him in there and letting him work it out. Siddle and Harris round it out. Added to that I think the likes of Agar and Starc are genuine run scorers and they don't have the pressure of being specialist batsmen and the expectations that go with it. I would leave out Khawaja, Watson and Bird here. I like Bird, but he is surplus to requirements with Siddle and Harris bowling so well right now.

  • dummy4fb on August 16, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    MInerva it's better than nothing. it was not remarked upon at the time but the "homeworkgate" fiasco happened when there were I think 9 days before the next test and not a single second of competitive cricket scheduled. disaster!

  • dashe on August 16, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    MonishaCS: What are you talking about Watson promoted The Big Show (chuckles) to open in a test match.

  • android_user on August 16, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    2 day limited over game... So pointless, Australia would be better served batting for two days than ever bothering bowling...

  • popcorn on August 16, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    THIS is the opportunity for Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja and Shane Watson to post good scores and Mitchell Starc to throw out the useless Jackson Bird.