North escapes Oz selectors’ axe for second Test

Melbourne: Batsman Marcus North, who failed to score more than 10 runs for the 16th time in his 30-innings career in Mohali, seems to have escaped the selectors’ axe as the team is still trying to overcome first Test defeat.

North retains the confidence of selectors because of a century in the practice match before the Test.

“No player is safe in international cricket, you’ve got to perform, but what we do know is that he (North) was in excellent form in the tour game, he’s scored hundreds at international level, he’s scored hundreds against England, he is a very classy player.

“He’d be disappointed he failed (in the first Test), like any other player,” chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said on Wednesday.

Selectors believe North is the best placed of any No. 6 candidate to score a match-winning innings in the next game, a newspaper reports.

The addition of Callum Ferguson in the one-day side means the South Australian has returned to full fitness, and if any batsman is going to pressure North it would be him, having already been identified by Hilditch as a Test player in waiting, the paper said.

North was out for a duck in the first innings in Mohali and scored 10 in the second.

Asked if Saturday’s second Test in Bangalore was the time to experiment with a new batting line-up, Hilditch said: “We don’t ... experiment as selectors. We’ve mapped out what we think is our best side and we know who the players (are) close to selection.”

Hilditch also dismissed concerns over spinner Nathan Hauritz, who was overlooked as a bowling option in the final stages of the first Test because he was conceding too many runs, in favour of North.