Middle-order shuffle for Sydney Test match
The absence of Shane Watson from the Australian line up for the New Year's Test in Sydney, means a significant re-shuffling of the batting order.
Wade will bat at six at Sydney against Sri Lanka
Skipper Michael Clarke has stated that wicket-keeper Matthew Wade, will move up one place in the order to bat at number six. In view of his record during his short eight Test career, in which he has already scored a hundred, along with two other half-centuries, Wade would appear more than capable of filling the pivotal role.
If the captain himself is declared unfit due to the ongoing hamstring problem that is troubling him, then Usman Khawaja is standing by to take his place.
However, it appears more likely that all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will replace the injured Watson, rather than Khawaja, as Clarke stated after the Boxing Day Melbourne Test that if Watson were injured, that Maxwell would most likely bat at No.7, with Wade moving up the order to six, and Clarke himself and Michael Hussey, who retires from international cricket at the end of the match, batting at Nos.4 and 5 respectively.
It has been something of a tradition for Australian wicketkeepers to bat at No.7 and even the greatest of all keeper-batsman, Adam Gilchrist, surprisingly only occupied the No.6 slot on 14 occasions in his Test career. It is no surprise that Gilchrist had great success in that position, scoring 645 Test runs at 49.61 including two centuries. Although in fairness, Gilchrist often had the benefit of coming in when there were already plenty of runs on the board.
Wade at the tender age of 25, has a first class batting record that stands comparison with Gilchrist's at the same stage of his career, having struck 3055 runs at 40.19 in 92 first class innings, while Gilchrist after 92 first-class innings had had made 3080 runs at 41.06.
The young gloveman has become a central part of the Australian team in all formats of the game, and in the past 12 months he has played in 46 of the 49 international games that his country has taken part in. A workload that may mean that he is rested from some of the ODIs or Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka or West Indies, especially in view of the schedule still to come later this year, which includes a four-Test tour of India and back to back Ashes series.