Clarke hopes Watson will be fit for 3rd ODI against South Africa

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2011, 13:46 PM IST

Sydney: Australia skipper Captain Michael Clarke is hopeful that all-rounder Shane Watson will be fit to bowl in the ODI series-decider against South Africa on Friday.

Having missed the previous two matches on tour with a hip injury, vice-captain Watson played in Port Elizabeth on Sunday only to be forced from the field due to back spasms, which prevented him finishing his fourth over.

The Australians missed Watson’s bowling and presence at the top of the order - he returned to score 15 from 10 balls batting at No.6, a leading daily reports.

South Africa returned to form with a convincing 80-run win against Australia in the second one-day international in Port Elizabeth.

Clarke said the fact his deputy was able to return and bat was a good sign and he had recovered quickly from back spasms in the past.

“I’m hoping he’ll be fine to bowl on Friday, I don’t know though, we’ll have to wait and see,” said Clarke, who also indicated Shaun Marsh (shoulder), would be ready to return for the must-win match.

Watson’s issues again highlighted the concerns over his workload as an opener and frontline bowler and raise the old question of whether he should drop to the middle order.

NSW were instructed not to bowl Watson in their recent Champions League Twenty20 campaign in India.

ANI