Warner may replace Watson as opener for remaining Ashes Tests

Sydney: Australian batsman David Warner may reportedly replace all-rounder Shane Watson at the top of the order for the rest of the Ashes if the Australian cricket chiefs come to a positive conclusion.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia is keen to build on their dominant performance at Old Trafford even though rain ruined their chances of victory in the third Test, conceding the Ashes to England, who lead 2-0 with two more matches to play.

The report further said that a key factor of their belief that a strong finish to the campaign will work in their favour in the return series in Australia, is organizing their batting order, which had been shuffled around in search of a strong, stable solution as it was misfiring until Old Trafford.

Giving a thumbs-up to the suggestion, Australian coach Darren Lehmann said that they will consider keeping Warner, who was moved at the top of the order back to his former home at opener in the second innings in Manchester, with fellow left-hander Chris Rogers, adding that they will make the decision once they see the wicket in Durham.

Lehmann also said that he believed that the momentum of the series had shifted with Australia outplaying England despite the draw, with the report adding that a strong factor is Australia`s desire to temper the influence of Graeme Swann`s off-spin, for which they need one less left-hander in the middle order.

Although Watson, himself restored as an opener when Lehmann took the job in late June, has so far not surpassed himself as he averaged only 24.33 and has yet not reached a half-century in the series, the report however, said that he remains highly valued, with his pressure-building bowling giving captain Michael Clarke an extra option.

Stating that they swapped around in the order for Warner to have a go and for Watson to tackle Swann, Lehmann also said that it is an added advantage for a team when it plays an extra bowler in the top six to remove the pressure from the four other bowlers, who needs to keep bowling through long innings.

Stating that Watson understood his reason for opening with Warner in the second innings and was more than happy to move to No.4, Clarke said that his former vice captain has made it clear that he will bat wherever needed, adding that he also believes that Watson is the second best all-rounder in the world behind Jacques Kallis.