Australia’s touring XI at Hove had a very good day overnight scoring 5/354 off 92 overs. All of the batsmen were in the runs save for the man many thought most likely, though not including me, to be an inclusion for the next test, Matthew Wade, who scored an 8 ball duck.
At the top of the order, stand in captain Ed Cowan scored 66 and current number four in the test line up Phil Hughes scored 84. Steve Smith is presently not out on 98.
Of course, Phil Hughes’ innings coupled with the form of David Warner on his sojourn in Africa, has led for some to renew their vehement call for Shane Watson or Chris Rogers (or both) to be dropped in favour of a return by Warner or a move to the top of the order for Hughes.
I sincerely hope that the Australian selectors take a moment and think before doing anything so stupid! And here is why:
* I concede that Phil Hughes was the form opener in the Sheffield Shield competition last season, along with Chris Rogers, averaging over 50 runs per innings in the games he played. Are people forgetting that he is coming into the third test off the back of a performance that saw him reap 2 runs (in total) as well as wrongly use 2 reviews?
* Any runs against Sussex by the Australians need to be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to the form implications that may flow from them. Monty Panesar aside, the bowling attack of Jordan, Hatchett and Liddle is hardly a bowling line up that is likely to send shock waves through any first class cricket line up let alone a Australian touring XI. Jimmy Anderson these blokes are not.
* I have written about my thoughts on a return to the fold for David Warner on this blog and remain vehement in my view that he needs to undertake an apprenticeship in first class cricket and to wait his turn on form. One innings does not make a summer and, frankly, given the score that the South African’s have put up overnight it looks like the pitch that has been trotted out in Pretoria is an absolute road. Warner needs to stay in Africa.
Frankly: the main thing cricket in Australia and the cricketers that represent this country need right now is stability. Toying with the batting order and bringing back a player who presents as a toxic influence at worst or who remains out of form at best would be the antithesis of such stability and just a stupid decision!
I love that people are passionate about cricket and are desperate for Australia to succeed but I think we all need to take a deep breath. The Australian team for the 3rd test is probably already set, particularly so given Wade’s duck at Hove, and those who have been rested from this game will be there. That means those advocating the removal of Watson or Rogers (or both) are likely to be sorely disappointed come 1 August!