Watson to bat at number four, says new slot suits role

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:29pm IST

Australia's Shane Watson hits a boundary off a ball from South Africa's Dale Steyn at the WACA in Perth during the fourth day's play of the third cricket test match December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Australia's Shane Watson hits a boundary off a ball from South Africa's Dale Steyn at the WACA in Perth during the fourth day's play of the third cricket test match December 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

REUTERS - Shane Watson will bat at number four position in the Australian test batting order, the all-rounder said on Wednesday, insisting the move will allow him to make greater impact with the ball.

A floater in Australia's top and middle order since his 2005 test debut, Watson will occupy the position left vacant by the retirement of Ricky Ponting in the Hobart test against Sri Lanka starting on Friday.

"Both (captain) Michael (Clarke) and (coach) Mickey (Arthur) think it's a good place for me to bat," Watson told reporters ahead of the series opener against Sri Lanka.

"I really am seeing it as a big positive. One, for my batting side of things, but also for my bowling, to hopefully be able to really contribute that little bit more with the ball because I feel like I have got a bit more to contribute with the ball.

"Batting at four means that Michael can use me that bit more and hopefully I can provide some impact," said the 31-year-old with 60 wickets from 36 tests.

Watson, who batted at number three in the last series against South Africa, has had more success as an opener but felt batting down the order would allow him to score freely.

"I don't think I'm really going to have to change anything at all," he said. "Hopefully the bowlers are going to be a little bit more tired, the ball's going to be a little bit older and the wicket's going to be more worn as well.

"The challenge for me is to be able to continue that mindset, like I was when I was opening and having success."

Sri Lankan attack is built primarily around their spinners and Watson appeared prepared for that.

"I do know I'm going to be facing spin a lot more coming in and batting number four," he said.

"That's something that I've been conscious of really working on, having a better game-plan to be able to go in facing spin straight up.

"Normally, when you're opening you've got a chance to get into your innings before the spin comes on."

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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