India back on top despite 'dream' return for captain Shane Watson


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The Independent Online

Shane Watson’s return to the Australian team lasted just 17 runs, but he still talked about captaining the Test side as a “dream come true”.

Watson had been dropped for the third Test against India for disciplinary reasons and he admitted it had been an “up and down week” after being one of four players suspended for failing to do a homework task set by the coach Mickey Arthur, then witnessing the birth of his first son.  “It’s really a dream come true to be asked to captain your country,” said Watson, who was named captain for the Chennai Test in place of the injured Michael Clarke.

“It has been a very up and down week emotionally. To be stood down from a Test match hit me very hard and it’s been a great process over the week to get back into the team and contribute.

“To have the opportunity to see the birth of my boy – I can never thank Mickey and Michael enough, especially for giving the opportunity to go home. It’s amazing how if you get through the tough times some nice things come along.”

Australia suffered a mid-session slump on the opening day of the fourth Test, before Steve Smith and Peter Siddle provided some resistance to help the touring side reach 231 for 8 by the close. Ravichandran Ashwin took four wickets, as Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja claimed two each for the home side as they look to complete a series whitewash.

Watson and opener Ed Cowan saw Australia through to 94 for 2 at lunch, but things quickly went downhill in the afternoon session.

Smith could only stand and watch at the non-striker’s end as Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson fell cheaply, but Smith’s  53-run partnership with Siddle – unbeaten on 47 at the close – helped Australia regain some composure.

Smith, who made 46, said: “Hopefully we can grind out another 50 or so tomorrow and I think that will be quite competitive.”