Buoyant Oz still face selection issues

2015-07-20 14:26
Chris Rogers (AFP)

London - Australia may have thrashed England by 405 runs at Lord's on Sunday to level the five-match Ashes series at 1-1, but they still have to make some selection decisions ahead of the third Test in Birmingham.

The sight of opener Chris Rogers, who made a Test-best 173 in Australia's first innings at Lord's, suffering a dizzy spell early on Sunday morning when batting second time around sparked fears the 37-year-old left-hander was suffering from delayed concussion after being hit on the helmet by James Anderson on Friday.

Rogers, who plans to retire after the Ashes, missed Australia's recent Test series win in the Caribbean after being concussed while batting in the nets.

Australia also have a tricky dilemma to solve when it comes to the question of their wicket-keeper at Edgbaston, where the third Test begins on July 29.

Peter Nevill impressed on debut at Lord's with seven catches and a breezy 45 in his only innings.

But he only got his chance behind the stumps after the experienced Brad Haddin, his mentor at New South Wales, withdrew because of unspecified "family reasons".

Haddin is still with the tour party, however, and Australia could use their upcoming three-day tour match with Derbyshire starting on Thursday as a way of testing his readiness to return to the international arena.

Far more straightforward was the performance at Lord's of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, called into the side after Shane Watson was dropped following Australia's 169-run defeat in the first Test in Cardiff.

Marsh weighed in with handy wickets, looking a far more threatening bowler than fellow seamer Watson, and some useful runs.

"It's always tough to have those decisions to make, one forced and one unforced," said Australia coach Darren Lehmann of his side's changes at Lord's.

"We were really pleased with both performances, from Mitchell and Peter.

"I thought they did a really good job for us and injected some enthusiasm in the group, played really well and did their job."

Australia are still waiting on the latest medical update regarding Rogers's condition but Lehmann said: "He's all right.

"We'll just have to wait and see what the medical staff come up with."

With Rogers's participation in the third Test set to be a matter of medical clearance alone, the issue of who keeps wicket in that match promises to be the most taxing issue for Australia.

However, it is one they are particularly well-qualified to answer this trip as panel chief Rodney Marsh, one of Australia's greatest wicket-keepers, is the on-tour selector.

"Selection's always difficult, so Rodney and I will have to sit down and work out which way we go," said former Australia batsman Lehmann.

"We have to get Brad back playing cricket before we cross that bridge.

"It's just trying to work out what happens moving forward, and we hope he'll be available for the Derby game."

Australia left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was mocked by some spectators while going wicket less in the first innings at Cardiff.

But there were no such jeers at Lord's where a six-wicket haul left him one shy of taking 300 wickets in Test cricket.

"He's had some difficult times in England in the past, but he's a different Mitchell Johnson you see playing for Australia now," said Lehmann.

But just as Australia recovered after losing the first Test, Lehmann warned that England could bounce back as well.

"We will have to play with the same intensity we had in this game," Lehmann said.

"If we back that up, then the result will look after itself. But England will come back hard, definitely."

Read more on:    australia  |  ashes  |  chris rogers  |  cricket

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