Hodge a chance at number four

Speculation has arisen in the days before the second test between Australia and the West Indies about imminent changes in Australia’s batting order.

Michael Clarke moved up to fourth in the order after Damien Martyn’s shock dismissal from the Australian squad before the Super Series, and thus far in two tests in the new position has failed to make his mark. With Brad Hodge a likely debutant later in the week, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has suggested that shifting the uncapped Victorian into the important fourth position in the order and moving Clarke back down to five is a possibility.

Hodge has played 152 first class innings batting at number four, while Clarke had more success batting down at 5 and 6 earlier in his test career.

Australia are likely to make at least two changes to their team from the first test, with Andrew Symonds coming in for the injured Shane Watson, and Hodge for the omitted Katich. There is also a significant chance that Stuart MacGill will be included in the Australian team however, with the Bellrieve wicket expected to take turn.

It is unknown at this point who would miss out for MacGill, but the likely victim would be Nathan Bracken, despite his four wickets in the second innings at the Gabba. Former Australian selector Allan Border has also suggested that Australia pick five bowlers, omitting Symonds and bringing MacGill in to give Ricky Ponting more options with his attack.

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