Australian coach Darren Lehmann is reportedly considering playing reserve wicket-keeper Matthew Wade as a specialist batsman in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford if he manages to make a good score in the tour game against county side Sussex, beginning on Friday.
According to Telegraph.com.au, this move comes after Australia's 347-run second Test loss to England at Lord's to go 2-0 down in the five-Test series, with every Australian batsman playing in both Tests currently averaging under 30 for the series without making a single century.
The report further said that given that Ashes debutant Ashton Agar is the only Australian cricketer to have made a top score of 98, Lehmann is increasingly favouring the idea of playing Wade in the third Test as he has made two centuries in 12 Tests, as many as Shane Watson has made in 43 Tests.
Stating that he is keeping every option open given that the team has had two losses so far in the series, Lehmann said that he will have to discuss with chairman of selectors John Inverarity and Rod Marsh about the idea of Wade coming into the squad.
According to the report, even though the likelihood of Wade coming into the squad does not threaten Brad Haddin's place as wicketkeeper and vice-captain for the next Test at least, however, Haddin has made only two single-figure scores in the series, with his meagre performance compounded by some dismal keeping.
Meanwhile, Lehmann further said that he is continuing to work with Shane Watson to correct a technical flaw which has seen him leg before wicket during his past three innings, lunging forward and playing around his front pad, adding that even though Watson has made a marked improvement, he still needed to make big scores like the rest.
Admitting that Australia's poor batting show was pressurising the team's bowlers, Lehmann also said that the batsman needed to make major contributions and not only rely upon the bowlers every time.
Lehmann further said that Australia might play two specialist spinners at Old Trafford, although the fact appears unlikely as Ashton Agar failed to take a wicket on a pitch where the England spinners dominated and is carrying hip and spinning finger injuries, while Steve Smith claimed four wickets with his occasional leg-breaks
Wade played for a Marylebone Cricket Club invitational XI last Tuesday against Singapore, scoring 85 in a one-day match against a weak attack, the report added.