Hayden takes to water

Australia 348-3 dec and 335-4 dec Somerset 267 and 240 Australia win by 176 runs
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The Independent Online

Matthew Hayden was reduced to a crawl yesterday. While his colleagues were manufacturing a comfortable win over Somerset – the margin matched Damian Martyn's second-innings score – the injured opener Hayden was undertaking a course of hydro-therapy on his dodgy right knee by going for a swim in a local pool.

The Australian management are confident that Hayden will be back in the swim in time for the second test at Lord's starting on Thursday. So, they reckon, will Michael Slater, Hayden's opening partner.

Slater's left forearm was swaddled in ice-filled bandages during the remains of what the acting captain Ricky Ponting described as a practice match to try to coax out the bruising caused when Shoaib Akhtar, one of Somerset's two temporary signings, caught him on the left wrist in Australia's first innings.

They are even confident that the fast bowler Brett Lee will be fit enough to give the selectors a headache come Thursday. The question is: Should they pick him or the in-form Damien Fleming, who finished with match figures of 8 for 97 and picked up the man-of-the-match award for his efforts?

Lee had a couple of work-outs at each end of yesterday's play and there was no sign of any reaction to the side injury which has limited him to just 26 overs since the end of the NatWest one-day tournament. But even if he is fit, the selectors may well overlook him on form, because the three first-class wickets he has taken have come at almost 50 runs apiece. Fleming, in comparison, has taken 14 at around 16.

The star with the ball yesterday, though, was Simon Katich. Durham's former overseas player claimed a career best 3 for 21 as he helped to skittle out Somerset by mid-afternoon, mopping up the tail just as the last man Shoaib was threatening to earn his £2,500 fee. The Pakistani fast bowler had hit Katich for a six and a four before being stumped.

Earlier there was some good news for Somerset. Ian Blackwell confirmed to anyone who still doubted that he can bat better than a bit with a belligerent but near-correct half century and Matthew Wood, still only 20, scored a fine fifty himself, his third such score in his first five first class innings. There is genuine promise and real class to Wood. What a pity Somerset felt there were no more youngsters ready for a chance to measure their progress against such testing opposition.

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