Jovial mood: Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc laugh during a store appearance at Sydney's Queen Victoria Building on Saturday. Photo: James Brickwood
Shane Watson is adamant he can be relied on to shoulder more of the bowling workload on a flat Adelaide deck, with Australia's four front-line bowlers likely to need plenty of back-up for the second Test.
Watson didn't bowl in the first innings at the Gabba and bowled just two overs in the second, while Steve Smith delivered only four overs of his leg-spin in Australia's emphatic win.
As Cricket Australia ponders how best to manage the workload of its quick bowlers with just three days separating the second and third Tests, Watson said he was fit enough to make a greater contribution with the ball.
''There's no doubt there's a plan for me to bowl a few more overs,'' he told Fairfax Media. ''We certainly got lucky to be able to bowl England out in about 50 overs in both innings. It doesn't mean it will happen again on a flat wicket in Adelaide. It could mean I need to bowl a few more overs, and I should be ready to go. I'll be able to bowl the overs Michael Clarke needs me to throughout the next Test and the rest of the series.''
A hamstring injury prevented Watson, 32, from playing in the Sheffield Shield game before the opening Test, and all Australian players were rested from domestic duty leading into the Adelaide game. ''We've got a really good balance with our bowlers at this point in time. If we're able to go up two-nil after Adelaide, it puts us in a very good position.''
While Clarke's exchange with English paceman James Anderson reignited the sledging debate, Watson said there would always be exchanges between the traditional rivals. ''There's always a lot of banter and that's the great thing about playing against the English,'' he said at a promotional visit to the Asics store in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney on Saturday, along with Dave Warner, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc.
''It means so much to them to win the Ashes and it means so much to us as well after not winning the Ashes for the last three series,'' he said.
''In the end it's always played in a hard, fair spirit. There's no doubt everyone knows where the lines are, and we're doing everything we possibly can not to cross those lines. We're certainly going to continue to play very hard cricket.''
But he said he felt for English batsman Jonathan Trott, who left the tour to deal with a stress-related illness. ''You never want any professional sportsman to be in that position where they feel they need to have a break to be able to get on top of things,'' Watson said. ''There's no doubt that for every professional sportsman - and I know I've been through it at certain times of my career through injury and form - it gets pretty tough at times.
''In England I was very lucky to have my family with me. It probably makes it a bit harder for the English guys who don't have their family out with them.''
Watson, who expected Ian Bell to move up to the vacant No.3 spot, felt his own batting form was sound despite failing to convert a start in Brisbane. ''I've been hitting the ball well for the past six months,'' he said.
''Obviously I've worked very hard on the lbw issue, and I feel I'm very close to getting on top of it. It's more so time in the middle - I didn't have the perfect preparation. Ahead of the first Test it would have been beneficial to play a Shield game to get into the mindset of playing in a Test match. I'll certainly be better for it going into the second Test.''