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Watson ready to bowl in Perth
Ben Horne
18:11 AEST Tue Nov 27 2012

Australia won't be taking baby steps with Shane Watson in his return match in Perth and are expecting the injury-prone vice-captain to bowl in the decisive third Test.

Watson attempted to play in Adelaide as a batsman, but eventually succumbed to the calf strain that also ruled him out of the South Africa series-opener in Brisbane.

Australian coach Mickey Arthur said Watson would play as an allrounder and his omission from the second Test had allowed him plenty of time to build up attrition in the nets.

The extra option of having Watson in the attack could be crucial, given the punishment Australia's fast bowlers endured on day five in Adelaide.

"He'll be right to bowl in Perth, definitely," said Arthur.

"Our dilemma was do we play him (in Adelaide) as a batsman in which case we couldn't get the bowling loads into him so he would only be available in Perth as a batsman.

"But what it's done by getting him right, it's given him an extra couple of days to get his treatment and certainly to get his bowling workloads up."

Ben Hilfenhaus, but more particularly Peter Siddle, bowled themselves into the ground in hot conditions on the final day of the drawn second Test.

Arthur admits it's possible the pair - who bowled more than 117 overs between them - are at risk of missing Perth, but will be given as much rest as possible leading into the match.

Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings are part of an extended fast bowling squad.

"I can't see (Siddle and Hilfenhaus) bowling any balls at training. We've just got to see how they pull up," he said.

"We've given ourselves the cover, in case they don't pull up well we're in a position where we could go with a completely different attack."

Arthur said his players were "gutted" but had emphasised the need to immediately forget the deflating draw and focus on stealing South Africa's world No.1 ranking with a win at the WACA ground.


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