8 Dec 2014

Watson confident Aussie will field full strength side

6:23 am on 8 December 2014

All rounder Shane Watson is confident Australia will field a full strength side for the first cricket test against India starting tomorrow in Adelaide.

Australia captain Michael Clarke has been at Phil Hughes' bedside.

Australian captain Michael Clarke Photo: PHOTOSPORT

33-year-old Watson says they've made good progress as a squad following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, whose funeral was last Wednesday, and they're highly motivated after losing the last series they played in India.

Watson said he was initially apprehensive facing short-pitched balls in the nets, and his long session last week was a very big challenge.

Uncertainty pervades both sides in terms of their lineups, with fitness queries over captains Michael Clarke and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Clarke returned to training on Saturday as he races to recover from his third hamstring injury in three months, Dhoni has been sidelined with a broken thumb.

Team mates have backed both to lead tomorrow but vice-captain and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin will take over if Clarke fails to prove his fitness, with batsman Virat Kohli standing in for Dhoni.

India, who were whitewashed 4-0 in their last tour Down Under in 2011-12, have won only once from 10 test matches against Australia at Adelaide Oval, their sole victory coming in 2003.

They are likely to need to record their second win at the ground this week if they are to have any hope of a breakthrough test series win Down Under.