Nielsen: Hayden needs runs
Australia coach Tim Nielsen admits time is running out for opener Matthew Hayden following his latest failure against South Africa.
Last Updated: 19/12/08 6:24pm
Australia coach Tim Nielsen admits time is running out for out-of-form opener Matthew Hayden following his latest failure with the bat against South Africa.
Hayden's place at the top of the order has come under increasing scrutiny in recent times. The Queenslander has scored just 46 runs in three Tests at an average of 11.5.
The 37-year-old's luck was out again on day three at the WACA as he was incorrectly given out caught and bowled by South Africa's Dale Steyn for just four.
Nielsen attempted to put a brave face on Hayden's current plight, but with key tours to South Africa and England on the near horizon the coach admitted his place could be in doubt.
"It was a shame he didn't get away today," Nielsen said. "He'd really like some runs, there's no doubt about that and we'd all like him to get some runs for obvious reasons.
"He's had six or seven Tests now and he's only got a couple of 50s which for Haydos is unheard of.
"In the end, yeah there is doubt created by the fact he hasn't had the success he'd like, there is doubt created by the fact he hasn't had a hundred in a few Tests, there is doubt created by the fact people are speculating about his future.
"He knows he wants to play better and keep getting better results than he is at the moment and I suppose at the end of this season we'll sit down and see where he's at.
"It'll make it more difficult if his scores aren't as consistent as he'd like them to be but at the moment we've just got to be patient and understand that the game is the game."
Australia reached stumps on day three in Perth in the driving seat, thanks largely to an unbroken 66-run stand between Brad Haddin (39 not out) and Jason Krejza (28no).
The pair rescued the home side from 162-7 to ensure they reached stumps with a commanding lead of 322.
And while Haddin and Krejza's late rally helped re-establish the hosts as favourites to win the Test, South Africa batsman AB de Villiers believes his side can still grab an improbable win.
"It's pretty even at the moment, we've had an awesome day," De Villiers said.
"I think momentum was behind us, we slipped a little bit towards the last half an hour but there wasn't a lot in the ball or the wicket in the last half an hour.
"We've got a few overs to go until the new ball and hopefully we can take three wickets in the morning."
"The wicket looks alright at the moment. It's very slow though and there's a lot of patches of grass around which gives you that pace too so it depends which patch it hits."
He added: "It's two-paced which makes it very difficult. It's not an easy wicket to bat on, it's also not an easy wicket to bowl on when the batter gets in so it's a bit of both worlds."