27 Jun 2013

New Australian coach backs Watson to open batting in Ashes

6:39 am on 27 June 2013

Shane Watson will open the batting for Australia in the Ashes after the allrounder was given the full support of new coach Darren Lehmann.

Watson opened the batting for the Australians in their opening tour match against Somerset in Taunton, and that's how it will stay for the big English summer ahead.

An extraordinary late flurry of wickets in which Australia's quicks took six wickets for no runs in the space of 29 balls saw the tourists fight back from a worrying position to bowl Somerset out for 320 on day one, with the tourists finishing two without loss at stumps.

The 32-year-old Watson hasn't opened in a test match since November 2011 in South Africa, despite it being his preferred position but Lehmann has given Watson an assurance he'll lead off for Australia in the first test against England at Trent Bridge in two weeks.

Ed Cowan and recalled veteran Chris Rogers will now fight it out for the right to partner Watson in the first Test.