Slater to bat in the middle order for New South Wales
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2002, 0:16 [IST]
Lehmann to return home early for some match practice
Sydney: Former Test opener Michael Slater will bat in the middle-order if he plays for New South Wales (NSW) in the Sheffield Shield match against South Australia (SA) in Adelaide starting on Friday, coach Steve Rixon said on Tuesday. Slater was named in the NSW squad for the match after missing out on the opening four-day game against Queensland in Brisbane last week. With incumbent openers Matthew Phelps and Corey Richards sharing a 44-run partnership in Brisbane, Rixon said Slater would not bat any higher than five if he made the 11 on Friday. "Michael, if he plays, will bat middle order," Rixon said. "We are not going to upset our top order batters. They are the form players." All-rounder Grant Lambert appears likely to make way for Slater, whose prospects of playing depend on the Adelaide Oval pitch, according to Rixon and NSW captain Simon Katich. Darren Lehmann has left the Australian Test team early in Sharjah to play for South Australia. He arrives on Wednesday and a big innings from the SA captain would put more pressure on under-fire senior Test batsman Mark Waugh. The match is South Australia's sole four-day fixture before the first Ashes Test against England starting November 7 in Brisbane, and is Lehmann's only chance to impress selectors.