London - Australia should focus on the form of Steve Smith and Brad Haddin
rather than blame Shane Watson for their first Ashes Test defeat, according to
former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.
Watson, 34, was dismissed lbw twice in Cardiff as he has been many times in
his career, raising question marks about the all-rounder's place in the side
for the second match at Lord's starting on Thursday.
"Every time the Australians get beaten, it's always Shane Watson who
takes the heat and surprise, surprise, this time it's no different,"
"Let's make no bones about it, he's got to stop getting out lbw and
start scoring some big runs, no-one is un-droppable after all, but he's a match
Watson's place is under threat from Mitchell Marsh who scored two centuries
in Ashes warm-up games.
"I've seen first-hand what damage Watson can do and for me, talk of
dropping him is massively premature. He needs to be backed by the Aussies, not
hounded," Pietersen said.
Pietersen said the form of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who will not play in
the second test for family reasons, and batsman Steve Smith were a bigger worry
"My concern, if I was an Australia supporter, would be the performances
of Brad Haddin and Steve Smith," Pietersen said.
"Haddin scored 29 over his two innings, hardly an invaluable
contribution, while Smith only scored a handful more runs than Watson, yet he's
supposed to be their dangerman and the form player in the world."
Smith failed to pass fifty in Cardiff following a brilliant run of form
which made him the top-ranked batsman in the world.
"He was totally overshadowed by (England's) Joe Root, who looked on a
different level to him," Pietersen said.
"Rooty showed just what a class act he is and I wouldn't be the least
bit surprised if at Lord's he picked up right where he finished off in
Pietersen thought the England bowling attack was also by far the most
threatening in Cardiff.
"Just as vital for the Aussies as their batting woes, is their
misfiring bowling attack," said Paddy Power ambassador Pietersen.
"Contrast their performance to that of the England attack, who bowled
beautifully. It was great to see all of our bowlers putting the Aussie batsmen
under sustained pressure and thankfully they got the rewards they