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Page last updated at 22:37 GMT, Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Ashes: Shane Watson demands Australian pride in Sydney

Fourth Ashes Test (day three, stumps):
Australia 98 & 169-6 v England 513
Venue: Melbourne Dates: 26-30 December Start: 2330 GMT (25-29 Dec)
Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

Tim Bresnan celebrates the wicket of Shane Watson
Bresnan celebrates the wicket of Watson

Australia opener Shane Watson has urged his team to "restore some pride" in the final Test at Sydney after their dismal display over three days in Melbourne.

The hosts are 169-6, still 246 runs behind England, who are set to retain the Ashes with one match to spare.

"We really have to go out there in Sydney and try to keep some of the supporters on side," Watson told the BBC's Test Match Special.

Ryan Harris will miss the final Test with a stress fracture of the tibia.

The 31-year-old fast bowler developed the problem during England's first innings and is expected to require surgery.

Australia coach Tim Nielsen confirmed on his Twitter account that Harris will be sidelined for eight weeks, which will also rule him out of the one-day series and the World Cup.

Watson admitted he and his team-mates were feeling "shattered" after they followed their series-levelling effort in Perth with a meek surrender in Melbourne.

With Harris unlikely to bat in the second innings, England will probably only need three wickets on Wednesday morning to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

"We haven't played well over these last three days at all so it's very disappointing to be in the place we are now," Watson added.

"We know what it takes to be at our best but our consistency isn't great and we aren't able to back up good performances from Perth.

"The Australian fans have come out and supported us - and we haven't really given them anything to support."

Australia's woeful Ashes displays have raised questions over Ricky Ponting's future as Test captain.

The skipper has also struggled with the bat, looking distinctly out of touch on his way to 20 in Australia's second innings on Tuesday.

But Watson backed his captain to rediscover his best form and insisted the team are still behind their leader.

TOM FORDYCE'S BLOG

"He's a very, very tough man mentally - as he has shown throughout his whole career," he said.

"Everyone will always be right behind Ricky. He has been a brilliant leader for us. He's such an amazing player.

"With a few things going his way, he'll be able to turn things around.

"There's no doubt no one will ever question his ability to be able to lead the group."

Australia began their second innings 415 runs behind England but were given a promising start by Watson, who reached 50 for the fourth time in the series.

But his dismissal for 54 sparked a collapse as Australia tumbled from 99-1 to 134-5, with Tim Bresnan claiming three wickets in a superb display of reverse-swing bowling.

"They bowled very, very well, especially Bresnan and Chris Tremlett with the reversing ball," conceded Watston. "But the wicket is very abrasive, which helps for reverse swing.

"I was just trying to bat as long as I possibly could but unfortunately I wasn't able to kick on again."



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see also
England close in on Ashes victory
28 Dec 10 |  England
Justin Langer column
28 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Jonathan Agnew column
28 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Star Bresnan hails 'best feeling'
28 Dec 10 |  England
Fourth Ashes Test in photos
28 Dec 10 |  England
Ponting regrets umpire argument
28 Dec 10 |  Australia
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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