Watson to open the batting

Ricky Ponting has confirmed Shane Watson will open the batting for Australia tomorrow against the West Indies.

Watson has usually batted in the lower order for Australia and has struggled on occasions because he lacks the time to build an innings. He was pushed up to open in Malaysia with some success, and after opening in two warm-up matches this week, the selectors have dedided he will partner Adam Gilchrist.

Speaking to AAP, Ponting said of the decision: “I’ve always felt that he has had a very good technique against the new ball and I think we’ve seen that in the games that he’s played. He’s got a good solid technique but he is big and strong enough to impose himself on the bowling at times and we’ve seen that in every practice match that he has played. He has slotted in nicely up there.”

As well as Watson’s solid performances so far at the top, Ponting also cited Simon Katich’s slow scoring (a strike rate of 66 in the past year) as one of the reasons for the change. “I’m not sure what his strike rate is, but that would probably have something to do with the reason we’ve gone the way that we have.”

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