'Struggling' North's number six Test spot in doubt

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Sydney, Jan 6(ANI): Struggling Australian batsman Marcus North's Test position is in peril and there is no guarantee of a spot for him in next week's third Test against Pakistan in Hobart.

After North's scores of 10 and two in the Sydney Test, the selectors may seriously consider hanging on to opener Phillip Hughes, and reshuffle the order for stability in the team.

Three centuries in his first seven Tests had brought some much-needed stability to the No.6 position previously occupied by all-rounder Andrew Symonds, but North has never declared his position safe.

The left-handed batsman's situation got further in trouble after making only 186 runs at an average of 23.25 in his last 10 Test matches. He has failed six times in eight innings this summer and his promise to become Australia's middle-order batting rock is looking hollow.

All-rounder Shane Watson, a past occupant of the No.6 slot, knows how hard it can be to stem the fall of wickets in the middle order and backed North to recover from his dangling form.

"It's a challenging time for probably the first time in his Test career, but there is no doubt he is a class player and with the mental strength he has got there is no doubt he will come through," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Watson, as saying.

"It can be hard to come in when the ball is reversing like it was today and the ball is turning. I struggled there at No.6 with the ball reversing, especially coming in when there's a lot of pressure because the wickets are falling for you ... I have full faith that it's just a little blip on the radar for him because I have seen the things he's been able to do throughout his career," he added.

The ony factor that could work in North's favour is that there is no standout middle-order batsman beating down the selectors' door. (ANI)

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