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Friday, July 31, 2009

Weakened Australia hold firm: Ashes T3 D1

Australia 1/126 (30 ov, S Watson 62*) v England Ashes 09 T3 D1 at Edgbaston.

Australia has not fielded its best available team. Stuart Clark was once again omitted. Moreover Brad Haddin withdrew with a broken finger between the toss (won by Australia) and the start of play . England sportingly allowed Graham Manou to replace him (a decision not without some self interest as an injured yet in form Haddin was potentially more dangerous, at least with the bat, than his untried deputy). The wayward Mitchell Johnson was retained (at Clark's expense) while Phillip Hughes, surprisingly, was dropped for Shane Watson, whose opening record in the longer forms of the game has been decidedly modest.

As it turned out Watson justified his selection with an impressive 62*(105b, 10x4) . He and Simon Katich put on 85 for the first wicket against an England attack which lacked the zest it had shown at Lord's. Still, 30 overs in a rain shortened day does not a Test match make, let alone give us much of a guide to the outcome. The weather may continue to play a part, even if there's provision to make up lost play over the remaining days.

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