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    Watson to lead Australia in tour match

    Shane Watson will lead Australia in two-day practice game against England Lions in Northampton starting on Friday. Regular skipper Michael Clarke has been given rest, along with Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, and Jackson Bird.

    Watson, 32, is said to have recovered from a groin and hip problem he suffered in the fourth Ashes Test. Watson is expected to bat in the tour game, while Australia are positive about him bowling in the fifth and final Ashes Test beginning at The Oval on August 21.

    Australia coach Darren Lehmann has already read the riot act to his players and said batsmen will have to earn the right to secure their position in the side. "It's going to take a while but that's part and parcel... like I said to the lads the other night we've been in front three out of the four Test matches and we've let that slip," Lehmann was quoted as saying.

    "So we've got to get better at actually dominating a game from there. That's our biggest thing. We'll have a settled line-up when we start to have consistent performances.

    "I suppose the thing for us is it gives batters some time in the middle. They can only bat for a day and we bowl for a day so it's a longer training session ... but still a chance to impress selectors."


    Australian XI: David Warner, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson (capt), Steve Smith, Matt Wade, Ed Cowan, James Faulkner, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon

    England Lions: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Moeen Ali (Worcester), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Keith Barker (Warwickshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), James Harris (Middlesex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Luke Wells (Sussex)