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Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 19:14 UK

Watson makes case for Ashes spot

Tour Match: Northamptonshire v Australia (day one close):
Australia 231-3
Match scorecard

Shane Watson
Watson has failed to feature for Australia in the Ashes series

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson hit a belligerent 84 runs off 96 balls as he pushed to be included in the side for the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Watson, who has so far failed to feature in the Ashes series, looked in decent form as Australia ended a rain-hit first day at Northampton on 231-3.

But the form of Phillip Hughes will continue to worry Australia as the opener was dismissed for just 10 runs.

Skipper Mike Hussey hit an unbeaten 75 and Marcus North was on 32 at stumps.

Hussey opted to bat first after winning the toss, but Hughes once again showed a vulnerability to bounce outside his off stump.

The opener has struggled for form since Steve Harmison twice dismissed him with short-pitched deliveries during the Australia versus England Lions contest.


And the 20-year-old looped a catch to gully off the splice of his bat from a short of a length ball from David Wigley.

Watson, who had said earlier in the week that his inclusion in the Australian side for the third Test would add an extra dimension to the team, was playing in his first match since he injured a thigh during the ICC World Twenty20.

And an innings that featured a series of pull strokes and comprised 15 four and one six underlined his case for selection, although he would be unlikely to play as an opener.

Watson put on 99 with Hussey before he edged behind trying to steer a delivery from slow left-armer Graeme White, who with the dismissal claimed his only first-class wicket of the summer to date.

The other wicket to fall on the first day of the tour match was that of Simon Katich, who had opened the innings with Hughes but fell for 25, edging behind off David Willey.

Sporadic rain caused a series of interruptions, but Australia ended on a high note when Hussey and North put on an unbroken 84 before bad light stopped play and play closed for the day.

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see also
Sledging edict 'blunts Aussies'
23 Jul 09 |  Australia
Lee doubtful for Edgbaston Test
23 Jul 09 |  Australia
Flintoff inspires England victory
20 Jul 09 |  England
Lucas haul secures Northants win
22 Jul 09 |  Counties
Australia visit excites Northants
21 Jul 09 |  Northants

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