Mark Waugh has forecast changes to Australia’s top six for their next Test, admitting the numbers paint a damning picture for under-fire No.5 Matthew Wade.
Wade was unluckily caught down the legside for a duck on Monday in the fourth Test at the Gabba, capping a series that’s yielded just 173 runs at an average of 21.62.
It’s his lowest series average since the former wicketkeeper’s recall as a specialist batsman during the 2019 Ashes.
Wade was promoted to open for the first time in his career for the first two Tests but, now back at No.5 after replacing Travis Head, missed a golden chance to nail down his spot with a soft dismissal in the first innings at the Gabba.
He hasn’t passed 50 in 14 innings since notching a century against England at the Oval and now averages less than 30 in Test cricket.
Australia is due to tour South Africa for a three-Test series next month but retired Australian batsman and former selector Waugh doesn’t expect Wade to be picked.
“Batting’s all about numbers … he’s left the door open for the selectors to move him on,” Waugh said on Fox Sports.
“He’s a gutsy player, played some good innings for Australia, but this series he’s let himself down with some poor dismissals.
“I think he’s in trouble, moving forward, hasn’t got the weight of runs.”
Head, squad member Moises Henriques and Ben McDermott, who has the backing of Shane Warne, are nipping at Wade’s heels for a middle-order opportunity.
Cameron Green’s 236 runs were the most by an Australian No.6 in a maiden Test series since Michael Clarke (288 at 48) announced himself in 2004, ensuring the allrounder will retain his place against the Proteas.
But there will likely be more change at the top, Will Pucovski in line to add to his single Test cap after a shoulder injury saw Marcus Harris earn a recall at the 22-year-old’s expense in Brisbane.
Harris (38) was fluent on Monday morning with eight boundaries in a series-best opening stand of 89 with David Warner.
But he was exposed when he lost sight of a short ball and was caught behind, Waugh saying it was a technical flaw that still needed work.