Hayden’s poor form a concern for Australia

December 27th, 2008 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 27 (IANS) As Matthew Hayden failed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which was supposed to be his favourite hunting ground, questions are being raised: who will replace the Australian opener for the final Test in Sydney?Hayden could score only eight on the first day of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa at the MCG, the very stage where he has stood imposingly for a long time. But if Australia loses and he doesn’t find some luck in the second innings as well then there is little hope that the selectors will give him a chance in Sydney.

As a batsman, Hayden has the second best performance at the MCG. He has six 100s here and an average of 76.57, the second best to Don Bradman, who has nine 100s and an average of 128.54.

Captain Ricky Ponting admitted Hayden’s form is a concern.

“I’ve watched him pretty closely this week and even the way he started this morning, he’s not looking particularly sharp,” Ponting was quoted as saying by The Australian.

Chris Rogers, Phil Hughes or Michael Klinger are waiting in the wings and former Test opener Michael Slater believes rising star Hughes should be Hayden’s apt successor.

“Phil Hughes is the number one pick for me. I’m hoping they don’t choose otherwise for a little while, though I think the outcome of the game will determine it,” Slater said.

“If Australia is not competing or losing, it will mean that Matty might lose his place because it tends to work like that. But I feel that Phil Hughes, in particular, is the guy whose name is in lights. He keeps churning it out, keeps going from strength to strength,” he said.

But skipper Ponting hoped that Hayden will turn things around in the second innings.

“He hasn’t got the runs that he would have hoped for and that we would have hoped for, he’ll get another opportunity in the second innings and hopefully he can grab on to that one with both hands,” he said.

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