There are no guarantees for Shane Watson and the state of the Port Elizabeth pitch may decide whether he returns for the second Test against South Africa.
With his team celebrating a crushing 281-run first Test victory, Australia coach Darren Lehmann won’t make any hasty decision on Watson, who is racing against time to be fit for the next clash starting on Thursday.
The star allrounder ran and batted in the nets on Saturday, as he recovers from a calf injury sustained two weeks ago.
But even if Watson is available, he faces a big challenge for his spot from Alex Doolan who made 89 in the second innings in his Test debut at Centurion.
The other inclusion for the first Test, Shaun Marsh, should feel comfortable with his place in the team after top-scoring in the first dig with 148 and making 44 in the second.
The other members of the side were all part of the XI that went unchanged throughout the recent 5-0 thumping of England in the Ashes, and none are out of form.
“We’ll have to see if he (Watson) is fit and ready to play, and then we’ll make a decision,” Lehmann said.
“It’s always very hard to fit him in if you’re winning.
“Firstly we’ve got to get him fit, then we’ll see what happens from there. He’s pretty close (to full fitness).”
Lehmann acknowledged the Port Elizabeth pitch would likely determine Watson’s fate if he is fit.
“We have to see what the wicket’s like, whether we need that extra bowling option,” he said.
Paceman Ryan Harris “struggled a bit” in the words of Lehmann, but the coach suggested he would be right to play the second Test even with the short turnaround.
“Not playing for a while certainly hampered him a little bit,” Lehmann said.
“He certainly bowled better today, in his second spell, it was a bit more like the Ryan Harris we know.
“So I expect him to get better.”
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