Watson to skipper Australians against Lions

Australia

Australia captain Michael Clarke will not play in the two-day tour match against the England Lions this weekend, and the XI will instead be captained by all-rounder Shane Watson.

Australia captain Michael Clarke will not play in the two-day tour match against the England Lions this weekend, and the XI will instead be captained by all-rounder Shane Watson.

Clarke, who suffers from a chronic lower back problem, has often not played in the tour games, rather saving himself for the Ashes Tests, while Watson has recovered from a groin niggle picked up in the fourth Test.

Also left our of the side to play in Northampton were Peter Siddle, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers and Jackson Bird, while Ed Cowan, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner and Ashton Agar were given another chance to impress.

Coach Darren Lehmann admitted he was shuffling the batting around again, after the dire effort in Durham in the second innings, but he said he would do what he needed in order to find his best batsmen for The Oval.

He said: "It's going to take a while but that's part and parcel… like I said to the lads the other night we've been in front three out of the four Test matches and we've let that slip.

"So we've got to get better at actually dominating a game from there. That's our biggest thing. We'll have a settled line-up when we start to have consistent performances.

"I suppose the thing for us is it gives batters some time in the middle. They can only bat for a day and we bowl for a day so it's a longer training session … but still a chance to impress selectors."

Australian XI: David Warner, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson (capt), Steve Smith, Matt Wade, Ed Cowan, James Faulkner, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon

England Lions: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Moeen Ali (Worcester), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Keith Barker (Warwickshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), James Harris (Middlesex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Luke Wells (Sussex)

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