Clark, Watson press their Test claims
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:County Ground, Northampton
Scorecard:Northamptonshire v Australians
Player:PJ Hughes, SR Clark, SR Watson, MG Johnson, PM Siddle
Event:Australia in British Isles 2009

DateLine: 26th July 2009


Mitchell Johnson's nightmare with the leather continued as Stuart Clark and Shane Watson did do any harm to their prospects. Johnson continued his profligate ways from Cardiff and Lord's with figures of none for 42 from seven overs against an inexperienced Northamptonshire batting line-up. The Australian selectors though can relax with the case of Phillip Hughes as he showed regaining some of his old form that he displayed during the tour of South Africa.


Clark impressed in his opening spell, offering the control Australia so sorely lacked in the first two Ashes Tests as he finished with 2 for 45 from 14 overs, and appeared to have lost none of the metronomic precision for which he was renowned for. Shane Watson too took up this opportunity to press his case to be included in final eleven as he performed a good job with both bat and ball. Watson took two wickets in his five overs conceding twenty runs.


Hussey retired with his overnight score of 75 and the rest of the batting line-up failed to cash on a good batting track. North added just seven more runs to his personal score while Manou failed to open his account. McDonald found the boundary ropes almost regularly and with the score reading 308, the stand-in Australian skipper declared the innings. Northamptonshire in reply did not make it easy for the Australian bowlers as they fought hard. Clark seized the early wickets of Ben Howgego and Rob White but it was to be noticed that there was no support at the other end.


Alex Wakely and Riki Wessels held the Australians at bay scoring half centuries, but late in the innings Siddle who was erratic till then found his radar and pace to claim two quick wickets. Shane Watson too made his chance count as he grabbed couple of wickets to prompt the Northamptonshire camp to declare the innings.


Australia when they got out to bat for the second time opened with Hughes and McDonald. The diminutive southpaw survived two close calls and then slowly found his way to some form. The bowlers initially opted for the shorter length but as the bowlers erred Hughes began to play some dazzling shots. McDonald meanwhile did not face much trouble as he scored a well-paced half century.


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