The person hoping most that Shane Watson's injured hamstring will prevent him from playing in the third Test is Damien Martyn. A slow start to the series has put his place in doubt for a home-ground appearance in Perth if Australia insist on picking an allrounder or five frontline bowlers.
Watson's all-purpose skills have been highlighted by the Australia selectors as essential to this Ashes campaign and they are desperate to trial him, but his leg problem flared before the first Test and he was ruled out of a Queensland one-day match on Wednesday. Martyn was the side's best batsman during the Champions Trophy triumph in India last month but since returning home he has failed to contribute in the opening two Tests.

Dropped after the 2005 Ashes series, he has again struggled with scores of 29, 11 and 5 and all three dismissals have come from catches behind the wicket. His fourth-ball departure as the Adelaide game closed - it followed a thumping, lofted off-drive - may have been his last moment as one of the country's most gifted Test players.

The re-emergence of Michael Clarke, who struck a sensible 124 in the first innings and was 21 not out as Australia took a 2-0 lead, means he will almost certainly hold his place for Perth. "We'll keep our fingers cross and hope Watson's okay, which he should be," Ricky Ponting said in Adelaide. "Then it will be a tough call for the selectors.

"Michael has played brilliantly in this game, his hundred in the first innings, at a difficult time, was full of class. He looked a million dollars throughout the innings. If Watson does come up fit there will be a tough call to be made."

Martyn returned to the Test outfit in South Africa and added a nerveless century in the final match to seal a 3-0 series win, but he has been unable to muster anything of note in the current campaign. In Brisbane he glided Ashley Giles to slip and in Adelaide he was twice caught at gully, edging Matthew Hoggard in the first innings and stepping away and slicing Andrew Flintoff in the second.

Australia needed to keep the run-rate rattling as they chased 168 in 36 overs, but Martyn's swift dismissal was a sad way to end the innings, and perhaps his career. The squad will have a couple of days off before heading to Perth to prepare to face England at the WACA from December 14.