Australia relish tough choices after debutant delights
Brisbane: Australia captain Michael Clarke was looking forward to wrestling with some tough selection decisions for the second Test against New Zealand after a side with three debutants won the first by nine wickets on Sunday.
Less than a month after they posted their fourth lowest Test score with a 47 against South Africa, Clarke was delighted with the way his team got underway in their home season, which also features a four-Test series against India.
"Nice start to the summer," Clarke said at the on-pitch presentation at the Gabba.
"It was really important for us to get off to a good start here to hopefully set the summer up. There`s going to be challenges along the way but I couldn`t be happier with the start."
James Pattinson, one of the players who received his baggy green cap before the start of the trans-Tasman contest, was named Man of the Match after destroying the New Zealand top order on Sunday and taking 5-27 in the second innings.
Clarke lauded the 21-year-old`s effort but also paid tribute to his other bowlers, including Nathan Lyon, who took seven wickets his sixth Test match at a ground which has traditionally offered little to finger spinners.
Teenager Pat Cummins, who took 6-79 on his debut in South Africa last month, could be fit for Friday`s start of the second Test in Hobart after recovering from a heel injury.
With all rounder Shane Watson also possibly available after suffering a hamstring injury in South Africa, Clarke is expecting some tough decisions when the selection panel meet later on Sunday.
"I think it`s a good problem to have, you know, with guys in nick and if we can get guys back from injury, it`s going to be a tough day of selection to pick the best eleven for our next match," he said.
"That`s what we need, that`s when Australian cricket`s at its best when we`ve got 20 to 25 players to choose from."
It was not all good news for Australia over the weekend, however, with Ben Cutting joining fellow pacemen Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Cummins in the treatment room.
Cutting missed out on his debut when he was named 12th man for the Gabba Test and succumbed to a side strain while bowling for Queensland on Friday.
The 24-year-old will be sidelined for at least a month and uncapped all rounder Dan Christian has been put on standby for the second Test.
Clarke, who dismissed concerns about the form of opener Phillip Hughes, also played a key role in the victory with his 139 in the second innings, a third century in his last four Tests.
"Hopefully another one coming in Hobart" he said. "It`s like that when you`re playing cricket, you have good times and you have bad times. When things are going well you need to make the most of it."