Ashes 3rd test Likely Australia Lineup

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56038565HB014_1st_Test_AustWord has spread in Australia today that Phillip Hughes is likely to be dropped from the starting line-up for the crucial 3rd test starting today in Birmingham. The hot word is that injury-prone all-rounder Shane Watson will take his place in the side, and will be promoted to open the batting alongside Simon Katich. With this incredible news just filtering through, it is then worthwhile to look at the likely line-up for the Aussies for today’s game.

If Shane Watson is to join Simon Katich at the top of the order, it seems incredibly unlikely that any other changes will be made to the team. So, let us therefore presume that the following will certainly play:
1.    Simon Katich
2.    Shane Watson
3.    Ricky Ponting
4.    Mike Hussey
5.    Michael Clarke
6.    Marcus North
7.    Brad Haddin
8.    Mitch Johnson
9.    Nathan Hauritz
10.    Peter Siddle
11.    Ben Hilfenhaus

In this case Stuart Clark will again be the unlucky spectator. It seems that if Australia feel that it is important to pick the all-rounder, Watson, then they will play Hauritz. I find it extremely unlikely that Johnson will be dropped, as he is a project player, and has really only had a couple of bad tests. Therefore, unless the selectors drop Siddle or Hilfenhaus, which they won’t, there will be no spot for Clark.

This seems to me to be a baffling decision. Hughes, like Johnson, is a project player, and although he may not make a stack of runs on this tour, the experience he will gain from being up the top of the order in an Ashes will be invaluable. Now, I understand you can’t pick someone just for that, but by all accounts the pitch for this test will be a soggy seamer, not a hard bouncer. Therefore, the short-pitched attack against Hughes will be less effective, and therefore give him a chance to bat into a bit of form. If the selectors really want to put an all-rounder in the team, then surely the person to go would be North. Yes, I realise he made a good hundred in the first test, but he is an older player, with less upside than Hughes, and therefore if someone has to make way, it should be him.

That said, personally I wouldn’t include Watson at all, and this still may be the case, if the rumours prove untrue. The real problem that the Aussies had was being effective with the new ball, and Watson provides nothing to improve this, as he isn’t a new ball bowler. The inclusion of Stuart Clark would prove much more effective, as he is an attacking bowler who can also provide much needed control. Haddin could easily move up to number six in place of North, and Johnson is clearly good enough to be a number seven batsmen. This allows Clark to be included into the team, without having to remove Hughes, and whilst also providing a valuable new ball option for Ricky Ponting. Watson has shown again and again that his body isn’t up to the rigors of test match cricket, and I’m not convinced that even at top fitness he’s good enough to open the batting, or provide a really incisive spell of test bowling.

Therefore, my suggested team for the 3rd test would be as follows:
1.    P. Hughes
2.    S. Katich
3.    R. Ponting
4.    M. Hussey
5.    M. Clarke
6.    B. Haddin
7.    M. Johnson
8.    N. Hauritz
9.    P. Siddle
10.    S. Clark
11.    B. Hilfenhaus

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  1. Tom says

    Yeah I agree, Watson is hopeless and will never make an opening batsman.
    Your opinion when it comes cricket is as useful as a bag of cat sh!t.

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