ICL: Indian Cricket League

Hayden in fitness battle before third Test


Australia opener Matthew Hayden’s chances of playing in next week’s third Test against India in Perth will be decided in the next two days.

Hayden, who strained a hamstring while batting in the second Test in Sydney, was confident of playing but it would depend on how he reacted to training over the next couple of days, coach Tim Nielsen said on Saturday.

Hayden has not missed a Test for Australia in eight years, a run of 86 consecutive appearances, and scored centuries in each of the first two matches.

“Speaking to him this morning he was probably feeling like he was just ahead of 50/50,” Nielsen told reporters at Perth airport.

“Until he runs around and plays some cricket for us in training it is hard to make a decision. Over the next 24 to 48 hours he will have the chance to have a training run and see how he pulls up.”

Nielsen said uncapped Western Australia opener Chris Rogers and discarded Test batsmen Simon Katich were the most likely candidates to replace Hayden if he was ruled out. “They are both in great form. Chris had a tremendous year last year, and Katto is having a fantastic year this year — it will get down again to the balance the selectors want,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen also said fast bowler Shaun Tait, who was included in the 12-man squad, was vying with spinner Brad Hogg for a spot in the starting lineup.

Hogg was picked ahead of Tait for the first two Tests but the extra bounce in the WACA pitch was likely to suit the paceman.

“It is pretty 50/50 — it really depends on the conditions. If we turn up and it is green and fast and bouncy then Taity will have his nose in front,” Nielsen said.

“If it looks like a good batting wicket, which might flatten out over the five days as we saw against South Africa a couple of years ago we need to make sure we have got a spinner in the line-up.

“We will pick the best team we can for the game coming up and the conditions that present to us.

“That is why it is nice to have four quicks and a spinner in form for us, so we feel we have a really balanced squad coming into this Test.”

Source:Cricket News

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