Hyderabad: Australia coach Mickey Arthur has called on Shane Watson to make an impression in the remainder of the Test series as the beleaguered tourists search for ways to keep the next two matches alive and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Following Australia's innings defeat before lunch on day four in Hyderabad - their tenth-heaviest of all time - Arthur has also said that Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith are serious contenders for the third Test in Mohali next week.
Regarding the poor form of Watson, who has managed just 77 runs in four innings, Arthur said matter-of-factly: "The truth be told, we really need Shane Watson firing now. Michael Clarke needs a lot of support in the batting. I don't think it's a technique thing at all. Every time Shane has gone to the wicket, he has looked brilliant. But he's been getting out for 20s. I just pray every time he goes to the wicket there's a big score because I think once he gets that one big score, that will unlock the shackles. We can't be a one-trick pony and we need other guys to stand up. We really do."
Watson has not scored a Test century for 37 innings dating back to the tour of India in 2010, when he began the series with a century at Mohali, the venue for the next match starting next Thursday.
In Hyderabad, Australia were bowled out twice for less than the 370 runs that Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay put on for the second wicket to drive India into a match-winning lead. It was an even poorer batting display than in Chennai where all 20 Australian wickets fell to spin. The defeat in Hyderabad has ruthlessly exposed Australia's brittle batting lineup, and skipper Michael Clarke on Tuesday confirmed that he would move up from the No. 5 spot.
While acknowledging the touring party as the best Australia could have selected, Arthur admitted that Khawaja and Smith would have to be considered for Mohali. "Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith have got to come into the reckoning at some stage. When we have more of the same it will probably give us the same result. We are certainly going to have to have a look at what is our best top-six combination. We'd be silly if we didn't think about them. Whether they both play, whether one plays, whether none plays I'm not 100% sure but they've got to come very much into our thinking."
The poorest of Australia's batsmen on tour has been their No. 3, Philip Hughes, with 25 runs in four innings, including consecutive scores of 0. It is foreseeable that Khawaja comes into the Australian XI in place of Hughes, but whether he bats at No. 3 or 5 is not certain.