Shane Watson finally stepped up during the opening day of the Boxing Day test against India in Melbourne today with a brisk 52, but doubts still remain over his form and place in the Australian test team after his wicket fell, once again, to an LBW decision.
It was Watson’s first 50 in 2014 after a series of failures with the bat and provided Australia with some much-needed stability after opener Dave Warner went for a duck in just the second over, leaving Australia at 1-0.
It fell to the ever reliable Chris Rogers to salvage the start of the Australian innings, building a determined 57 off 126 deliveries before he couldn’t resist a Mohammed Shami ball outside leg stump, edging it to the keeper, having built a 115-run partnership with Watson.
Having steadied the ship, Watson sent it listing again when he tried to sweep spinner Ravi Ashwin and the ball once again slammed into his pads. The finger went up and Watto was gone for 52 off 89 balls, including four 4s and Australia was suddenly 3-115.
So far this series Watson has scored 14, 33, 25 and a duck. While today’s half-century is a big improvement, his average in the Boxing Day test is 96, so once again he’s fallen short and it did include a lucky break just before lunch when he was dropped in the slips on 41.
Watson was looking good, so another failure to build on a good start will had to the pressure on his place in the side, with Brad Haddin also under the pump for his batting as the middle order looks fragile.
It was left to captain Steve Smith, 23 not out and Shaun Marsh 32 n.o. to rebuild as Australia went into the tea break at 3-174.
Sportsbet summed up the national frustration with Watson best:
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) December 26, 2014
And the schadenfreude is building:
— Ares Mars (@AresMarsFlack) December 26, 2014
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