Watson wickets make him favourite for Cup
UNDER-fire Australian all-rounder Shane Watson may have cemented his place in the World Cup squad, adding two wickets in two balls on day three of the fourth Test against India in Sydney to his 81 in the first innings.
The burly Queenslander has had plenty of critics in recent weeks, but his efforts at the SCG should ensure his name is read out when Australian selectors officially announce the 15-man squad at Bondi Beach on Sunday.
After the match had meandered in the first two sessions yesterday - India went to tea at 2-234, losing just the wicket of Rohit Sharma for 53 - Watson trapped Ajinkya Rahane leg before for 13, and then had Suresh Raina caught behind first ball to have the tourists suddenly in trouble at 5-292.
Those two wickets in two balls followed the dismissal of Lokesh Rahul for 110, caught and bowled by Mitchell Starc in the second over after the resumption from tea. Rahul made the hosts pay for two missed opportunities, the first when he was on 42.
Sent back by his captain Virat Kohli after setting off for a quick single, Rahul fell over mid-pitch but was saved by a wayward throw to keeper Brad Haddin by sub fielder Pat Cummins.
Just 16 runs later Rahul skied an attempted pull shot which was grassed by Aussie captain Steve Smith.
Questions were raised whether Channel Nine's Spidercam, or the sun, had hampered Smith's attempt to take the catch.
Cricket Australia and the Nine Network later issued a statement confirming Smith had been distracted by one of the wires, but making it clear the ball had not made contact with the camera or any of the wires.
While Watson put his hand up for a World Cup spot, the same could not be said for leading spinner Nathan Lyon.
Lyon picked up the wicket of Sharma, bowled while attempting a sweep shot.
But the off-spinner ended the day with the figures of 1-91 from his 32 overs, taking his tally in the series to 20 wickets at an average of 33.
It seems he will be overlooked for the World Cup by Aussie selectors, however, with left-arm orthodox spinner Xavier Doherty expected to be preferred. The Tasmanian has taken 54 wickets from 57 ODI matches at an average of 39.18.
Lyon has taken 11 wickets in his eight ODI matches at an average of 30.
He will no doubt be called on to bowl plenty more overs in this match, with India set to resume at 5-342 this morning.
Kohil has continued his extraordinary run of form, ending the day unbeaten on 140 as the visitors recovered after Watson's heroics.
New keeper Wriddiman Saha was the other not out batsman on 14.