Australia’s Watson Fails to Prove Fitness for Second Test

Australia vice-captain Shane Watson won’t play in the second cricket Test against South Africa starting tomorrow in Adelaide because he hasn’t fully recovered from a calf injury.

Captain Michael Clarke said lingering doubts about Watson’s fitness prompted Australia to name an unchanged team from that which drew the series opener in Brisbane. Swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus kept his place in the attack ahead of Mitchell Starc, who was named as the 12th man.

“He’s improved a lot over the last few days, but we feel like he’s probably a few days short of being 100 percent,” Clarke said of Watson at a televised news conference. “We’re doing everything in our power to give him every opportunity to be right for the third Test in Perth.”

South Africa, which would retain the No. 1 spot in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings by avoiding defeat in the best-of-three contest, made two changes by calling up spinner Imran Tahir and batsman Francois du Plessis.

Tahir replaces fast bowler Rory Kleinveldt and du Plessis comes in for JP Duminy, who ruptured his left Achilles tendon during a training drill in Brisbane.

Australia can overtake the Proteas atop the rankings with a series victory.

AUSTRALIA: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Rob Quiney, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc (12th man).

SOUTH AFRICA: Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Francois du Plessis, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Baynes at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

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