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Cowan makes intentions clear

By Kim Hagdorn
12 February 2013 05:46PM EST

BESIEGED batsman Ed Cowan has taken a first major step to retaining his Test opening berth with a solid first outing on Australia’s anticipated tour of India.

Cowan put together a personally iimportant half-century on the first morning of a two-day trial game against an Indian President’s team in Chennai.

Shortly after lunch Cowan was out for 58 from 109 balls with eight boundaries and a six.

Australia was 2-111 with acting captain Matthew Wade on 12 and Steve Smith two.

Makeshift opener and recalled middle-order candidate Usman Khawaja made 32 before he was out just before the break.

Australian captain Michael Clarke and his ambitious deputy Shane Watson have made selection speculation abundantly clear that the Test batting line-up is far from settled.

Watson heads back to the brink of the Test outfit with belligerent intentions to resume an opening berth, leaving Cowan the most vulnerable batting specialist after his inconsistent outings against world number one nation South Africa and then Sri Lanka.

Dave Warner is expected to resume as one opener after he recovers from a broken thumb and Phil Hughes has slotted well into number three.

Watson stormed back into international ranks for the first time since an impressive 83 batting number four in the Melbourne Boxing Day Test when the big right-hander pulled up with another calf strain.

Watson hammered 122 and then 77 in successive outings as an opener in one-day games against the West Indies on his return to the national side.

He continues to make unwavering comment about wanting to open at Test level where Watson averages 44 starting an innings.

Cowan, 30, managed 228 runs in three Tests against South Africa’s powerhouse pace attack, with a first up top-score 136 in Brisbane when the Aussies hammered 5-565.

The left-hander then raked together 136 against the far less intimidating Sri Lanka seamers at an average of only 27 with scores of 4 and 56 in Hobart, 36 in Melbourne and 4 and 36 at Sydney.

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