Watson, Starc press claims for Adelaide: coach
BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) –
Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc will come under consideration for Australia in next week’s second Adelaide Test after drawing the series opener with South Africa, coach Mickey Arthur said on Wednesday.
Watson missed the first Gabba Test with a calf injury while selectors preferred spinner Nathan Lyon to left-arm paceman Starc in the team.
The Australians came out of the first of three Tests with an edge over the world number one Proteas and Arthur expects them to come back strong in Adelaide.
Australia needs to win the series to wrest the No.1 ranking away from South Africa.
Arthur, who was South Africa’s coach when they won an historic first series in Australia in 2008-09, said allrounder Watson would come into “a huge amount of consideration” to play in the second Test, starting on November 22.
“Watto (Watson) has had two nets, he had a bit of a run yesterday and he came through that well, he’s having a bowl on Friday. We’ll see early next week how that’s going,” Arthur told reporters.
On whether Watson would be considered purely as a specialist batsman given his recent injury, Arthur added: “We’ll have to sit down and consider what we think is the best eleven going into that Adelaide Test and Shane would come into a huge amount of consideration for that.
“He’s a quality player, he’s an international brand is Shane Watson. If Shane Watson was fit, we’d have to definitely consider that.”
Starc will be another under consideration given his ability to create rough around the wicket in his follow-through for spinner Lyon to exploit late in the Adelaide Test.
“Mitchell’s playing a Sheffield Shield game, let’s see how he goes in that one and it might give us another option come Adelaide. The more depth we create, the happier I am,” the coach said.
“Starc’s also on song at the moment, he’s swinging it nicely and bowling with good pace. He’s another option for us, and a nice one, considering he’s a left-armer.”
Arthur said he was happy with Lyon’s performance in Brisbane, where he took four wickets for the match.
“Nathan bowled 50 overs in the game and they were going hard at him,” he said.
“I thought he stuck to his guns, I thought he varied his pace well and built some pressure.
“So I’m happy where Nathan is, and he goes back to his home (Adelaide) pitch so I’m comfortable that he’s in a good enough place for us.”
Arthur said that batsman Rob Quiney, who made his Test debut in Brisbane, was not out of place in the Australian team.
“He certainly didn’t look out of his depth, I think it’s the best nine I’ve ever seen,” he laughed.
“He’s proved that he’s belonged and he wasn’t found wanting. He fitted right in.”
Arthur had special praise for skipper Michael Clarke, who was the man-of-the-match with an unbeaten 259, which was one of the major factors in turning the match to Australia over the closing days.
“Words can’t describe how good he’s been since he’s been captain. In the last year, he’s been outstanding,” Arthur said.
“I think the key is not the runs he’s getting because he’s a class batsman and he was always going to get the runs.
“The key is the way he prepares, the meticulous preparation he goes through. “He doesn’t leave anything to chance, he puts the work in and because of that, he’s a great example to the dressing room and also getting a reward through performance.”
Arthur likened next week’s Adelaide wicket to those on the sub-continent.
“Adelaide’s been pretty consistent, Adelaide’s a very, very good wicket,” he said.
“You know what you get, it’s almost like the sub-continent, it’s very slow for the first three days then quickens up towards the back end.
“It goes from being the best batting wicket in the world to being pretty difficult to bat on in days four and five. So, big first innings are the way to go there.”