Watson declares himself fit for Hamilton Test, Ponting for more assessment

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Hamilton (New Zealand), Mar. 26 (ANI): Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has declared himself fit for second Test against New Zealand to be played here from Saturday, even as his captain, Ricky Ponting, has said that he requires more time to truly assess the former's fitness.

If Watson comes in, Phillip Hughes, who scored 20 and 86 not out in the first Test in Wellington, will be axed.

"In the last four or five days it has come together really well. I'll be right to go at full speed," Fox Sports quoted Watson, as saying.

"Initially it was a cork that set it off in the fourth game playing a pull shot. Shane Bond hit me right on the point of the hip," he added.

"Once the cork disappeared then the little strain I had went pretty quickly as well," he said.

In his past nine Tests since his 2009 Ashes recall, the 28-year-old has scored 849 runs at 56.60 and claimed 13 wickets at 29.61 with his medium-pacers.

In this month's one-day series against New Zealand, Watson hit 45, 47, 15, 32 and 53 and hardly played a false shot.

Watson also said he was fine to bowl his normal load of about 20 overs of medium-pace in the Test.

Earlier, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian captain Ricky Ponting had said that he wanted further proof of Watson's fitness before any decision could be made on his return for Saturday's second Test against New Zealand.

"Watson got through training well yesterday. He did a lot of batting at the start and then bowled off his long run, which is really encouraging," Ponting said at Hamilton's Seddon Park on Friday."I want to see how he pulls up today and see what he gets done at training today first before we make any announcement on the team," Ponting added.

He said pitch conditions were also important on the green-looking deck, which may take spin late in the match.

The skipper also left open the possibility of promoting young leg-spinner Steve Smith for his debut.

But he added the team already had part-time slow bowlers Michael Clarke, Marcus North and Simon Katich to support frontline spinner Nathan Hauritz.

"I notice New Zealand have got two spinners in their squad, so we'll have a look at the wicket today," Ponting said.

Meanwhile New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori says 19-year-old batsman Kane Williamson is unlikely to make his Test debut on Saturday, as the Kiwis prepare to gamble on a long tail against Australia's quicks. (ANI)

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