Hobart: Allrounder Shane Watson has welcomed his shift to No. 4 spot in Australia's Test batting order, saying it will allow him to make greater contributions with bat and ball. Watson will drop from No. 3 to No. 4 for the first Test against Sri Lanka at Hobart's Bellerive Oval starting Friday in a reshuffle prompted by the retirement of Ricky Ponting and the recall of opener Phil Hughes. Hughes will bat at No. 3.
Watson said on Wednesday that a move down the order is a chance to score more freely. "Batting slightly lower, the ball is slightly older - the wicket's had a little bit more sun on it," he said. "I might have a little bit more freedom to be able to score, to be able to hit through the lines."
Watson said the move was also a positive for his bowling, saying his previous duties at No. 3 would have been in captain Michael Clarke's mind when he was asked to bowl just nine of the 111.5 overs against South Africa in Australia's heavy third-Test loss at Perth this month.
"Batting at four gives Michael [Clarke] a few more options to be able to bowl [me] toward the latter stages of an opposition's batting innings and not have to worry about me being as fresh as I can going into our batting innings, [as] if I'm opening or batting three," Watson explained.
"It [the move to No.4] just means that he's able to have the freedom to be able to use me when he wants a lot more."