Chris Rogers doubtful for Jamaica
Chris Rogers' chances of returning to Australia's XI for the second Test in Jamaica appear to be receding as he continues to suffer from the after-effects of the concussion that ruled him out of the tourists' nine-wicket victory in Dominica.
The team doctor Peter Brukner has said that Rogers, who briefly faced up to some throw-downs in the Windsor Park nets during the match, is still working through symptoms and will be given more time to recover before returning to training.
"Chris is still experiencing some symptoms of concussion and the plan is have him take it easy another few days," Brukner said. "In regards to his availability for selection for the second Test it's too early to say at this stage."
Ruling Rogers out of the second Test would defer a major selection conundrum for the coach Darren Lehmann and the selector on duty Mark Waugh, created by Adam Voges' sublime debut century and the elevation of Shaun Marsh to partner David Warner at the top of the order.
There is only room for two of Rogers, Marsh and Voges in the team, and it would seem harsh in the extreme to drop the latter following an innings that effectively won the Dominica Test for Australia. Marsh has performed solidly on his latest stint in the side, and is valued for his ability to bat in a variety of places in the order. Rogers will be of most value to the team in England, where his sturdy opener's technique will be employed to once more blunt the new ball work of James Anderson and others.
Among other places in the top six, the allrounder Shane Watson is least assured of his place, but is helped by Lehmann's longtime insistence that his teams must always have a viable fifth bowling option. Mitchell Marsh is also on tour, and may have been moved into the team had the selectors chosen to go with twin spin from Fawad Ahmed and Nathan Lyon in Dominica.
Rogers has flagged that he will retire at the conclusion of the Ashes, meaning Lehmann is on the lookout for the next man to serve as Warner's compatriot. Apart from Marsh, the Queenslander Joe Burns is in contention after opening with great success for Queensland and making his own Test debut during the home summer, with other options including Cameron Bancroft and the former Test opener Ed Cowan.
"Shaun Marsh has been excellent for us in the middle order last summer," Lehmann said. "He's grown as a Test player and he's starting to get more consistent in his game. That's pleasing. He can bat anywhere between one to six and at the moment we're trying to pick the best six batters to play each game. He's certainly in the frame [to succeed Rogers]."
Whoever turns out at Sabina Park, they will be doing so with the words of Lehmann and the captain Michael Clarke about top-order runs ringing in their ears. Lehmann said the team were acutely aware of the fact they "got out of jail" in Dominica thanks to Voges and the lower order partnerships he built with Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon, and needed more from the top six. More red-ball matches between now and the first Ashes Test in Cardiff next month will help.
"The captain and I are pretty big on the top six making the runs," Lehman said. "So that was a disappointing output, we were 6 for 100 roughly. We need our top six making runs. We know that, to perform how we want to perform in each Test match. The tail got us out of jail here and they've done that a bit in the past. The batters will be working hard to get it right.
"We were a little bit rusty the first hour with the ball on the first day because blokes hadn't played in a bit. The same with the bat in the first innings. Hopefully all the cricket we've played, with the tour game and the training, hopefully in Jamaica we'll start to settle into that five-day Test mode. It's not a concern. It's just about the batters adapting better."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig