Lehmann tipped to stick with a winning formula

CRICKET: Despite its crushing 281-run win over South Africa in the first Test last week, Australia has been looking ahead, not back, to its second challenge which starts in Port Elizabeth tonight.

"I am very pleased with the manner in which we won, but that is in the past," coach Darren Lehmann said earlier this week.

"But we have to always look ahead and do the work we have to so that we can be competitive again.

"South Africa is a pretty professional unit and I am sure they would have quickly worked out what went wrong and try to change it.

"We just worry about us, about doing our things well."

It seems that Lehmann will not be troubled about whom to leave out of the winning side to accommodate Shane Watson.

The all-rounder, who is nursing an injured calf, did not participate fully in the team's first practice at St George's Park and it is likely he may not be in contention after all.

While he batted in the nets, he was not involved in field drills, spending most of his time walking around the boundary.

Alex Doolan, on debut, and Shaun Marsh, making a return to the side, seized their opportunities in the first Test and Watson would have to be fit enough to bowl as well to unseat either of them.

South Africa, meanwhile, faces a few selection dilemmas.

The Proteas were well below par in all departments at Centurion and now have to contend with the withdrawal of Ryan McLaren.

The all-rounder was hit on the head by Mitchell Johnson and is suffering a concussion. His replacement will hinge on whether South Africa want to play a seventh batsman to shore up their order or if they want the added fire power needed to take 20 wickets.

Dean Elgar, handy with the bat, is shaping as the preferred choice, although the lively left-arm seam option offered by Wayne Parnell is also tempting.

"There has been debate around playing an extra batter," Andrew Hudson, the Proteas' convener of selectors, said.

"Australia went in batting-heavy, relying on their three seamers and their spinner, which they did successfully.

"We need to consider putting in a batter at seven. Then we can go in with the three quicks and Robbie Peterson."

Late yesterday there was still a green covering on the wicket with groundsman Adrian Carter waiting to speak with the South African team before cutting it.

However much grass is taken off it, don't expect the same pace and bounce that bowlers got at Centurion.

"This pitch has been slow for 114 years. I can't get it quicker," Carter said.

- APN SPORTS BUREAU


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