Aussies face issues over selection for third Test

Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill celebrates after taking the wicket of Jos Buttler at Lord's. Picture: Getty Images

Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill celebrates after taking the wicket of Jos Buttler at Lord's. Picture: Getty Images

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Australia reordered the balance of power in this summer’s Ashes with their crushing victory at Lord’s but, like their hosts, they have issues to settle before the next instalment in Birmingham.

England’s concerns are over selection as they work out which – if any – of those who lost by 405 runs at HQ should not make it to Edgbaston next week.

Australia dominated throughout in the second Investec Test, but need to make significant checks on Brad Haddin and Chris Rogers – and decide, too, whether debutant wicketkeeper Peter Nevill deserves to keep his place after taking seven catches and making 45 from No 7 in his only innings.

It will surely be a more straightforward call to retain all-rounder Mitch Marsh, who returned at the expense of Shane Watson with handy wickets and runs.

Veteran Haddin had to miss Lord’s for personal reasons, but was able to undertake his wicketkeeping drills during the match.

Coach Darren Lehmann has yet to discover his readiness for Australia’s three-day tour match at Derby, starting on Thursday, as well as that of Rogers.

The opener hit 173 in Australia’s mammoth 566-8 declared at Lord’s and was then within one run of a ninth half-century in 10 Test innings when he suffered a dizzy spell on the fourth morning and had to retire ill.

Australia were expecting a medical update yesterday after Rogers sat out the remainder of the match but rested at the ground rather than going to hospital.

Their selectors have a few days, meanwhile, to work out all options. “It’s always tough to have those decisions to make, one forced and one unforced,” Lehmann said of the changes that were made 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.”

Rogers had to miss two Tests in the Caribbean last month, after suffering concussion in net practice, and was hit on the helmet by a short ball from James Anderson on the second morning at Lord’s.

It was confirmed, though, that his latest problem was unconnected to those incidents – and there was optimism that he would be fit to face Derbyshire.

“He’s all right,” said Lehmann.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what the medical staff come up with.”

The solution as to who keeps wicket in the next Test is likely to come later. Lehmann added: “Selection’s always difficult, so Rodney [Marsh] and I will have to sit down and work out which way we go.

“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.”

One person highly likely to sit out the tour match, but sure to be back along with his fellow pace bowlers in Birmingham, is Mitchell Johnson.

The left-armer took his Test career tally to 299 wickets after another six at Lord’s, and Lehmann said: “He was brilliant, bowled fast.

“He’s had some difficult times in England in the past, but he’s a different Mitchell Johnson you see playing for Australia now.”

The tourists’ confidence has been restored, after their opening defeat in Cardiff, but Lehmann warns – as England did after their success in Wales – that the job is far from done yet.

“We will have to play with the same intensity we had in this game,” he added, as he considers how to turn 1-1 after two matches into outright victory in five.

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

“The media gave us a pretty torrid time in Cardiff, and fully deserved – we didn’t play well enough.

“It’ll probably be the same for England for a bit.”

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