Watson back in Test reckoning

Shane Watson, centre, is likely to be fit for the series decider. Picture: GETTY IMAGESCRICKET

The inclusion of Shane Watson and a re-jigged bowling attack are the two issues Australia’s selectors will pore over before the three-Test series decider with the Proteas starts on Saturday.

Watson is recovering well from a calf injury and set to bowl again today in Port Elizabeth, and it’s likely he will be fully fit before the Third Test starts in Cape Town.

“As long as he’s bowling overs and he’s fit, we would love to have that extra bowler,” coach Darren Lehmann said after his side slumped up a 231-run loss in Port Elizabeth.

“We’ll wait and see. It’s a selectors’ conundrum … it depends on the pitch.”

Alex Doolan or Shaun Marsh appear the most likely to be squeezed out if Watson were to return to the XI, but the heroes of the First Test would feel aggrieved to be dumped after one poor match.

“If we have to fit Shane Watson in and someone misses out it will be really unlucky,” Lehmann conceded.

Lehmann and chief selector John Inverarity will also be having robust discussions about what to do with overworked pace trio Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

The three quicks have spearheaded Australia’s success in six of their past seven Tests, but have bowled a combined 133 overs in the Second Test.

It is the highest match tally for three Australian quicks in a Test in three years.

Watson, if selected, would ease their burden in Cape Town.

But James Pattinson and Jackson Bird are both part of the touring squad and could come under consideration for the clash at Newlands.

“We’ll see how they pull up,” Lehmann said of whether there could be changes to Australia’s attack for the first time since the opening Test of the 2013-14 Ashes.

“We’ll have a look at that over the next few days and monitor things. Obviously, fitness is a key issue.

“But so are conditions and what we think is going to get us 20 wickets.”


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