Ashes: Injuries Force Australia to Delay Naming 11
By John Pye | AP | Published: 12th December 2013 12:32 PM |
Michael Clarke has delayed naming his starting XI for the third Ashes test to give paceman Ryan Harris time to prove his fitness and to await medical scans on James Faulkner's injured hand.
Australia can regain the Ashes with a win in the third test starting Friday at the WACA, where conditions are ideal for Harris and pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson.
"Ryan bowled today so we're going to have to wait and see how he pulls up," Clarke said. "I'm confident he'll be fine."
Harris bowled at full pace in the nets on Thursday and didn't appear to be troubled by the knee soreness. Faulkner, who has been 12th man for the first two tests, was hit on the right hand during a net session and taken for scans.
Harris has struggled with injuries throughout his career, limiting him to 18 tests, but he has become a key member of Australia's pace attack and was the leading bowler on a losing team in the last Ashes series.
With only three days between the second test in Adelaide and the third match in Perth, Australia already had pace bowlers Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby in case of injuries.
Clarke has announced his lineup the day before each of the first two tests but was more cautious in Perth.
"I'm going to wait until the toss and see how everybody pulls up after training and it gives us another opportunity to have a look at the wicket," he said.
If all players are fit, Australia is likely to retain the same XI that produced lopsided wins in the first two tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.
Clarke will be playing his 100th test and is hoping to celebrate the milestone by taking an unassailable lead in the five-test Ashes series.
"That's why it's most special for me. The fact that we have a chance to win the Ashes," he said. "It's fantastic that I've been able to play 99 test matches for my country."
Johnson has taken 17 wickets in the first two tests and is expected to trouble the English batsmen again on a pitch renowned for its pace and bounce.
Despite all the ingredients at the WACA making conditions ripe for Johnson to unsettle England with his hostile short-pitch bowling, Clarke is likely to bat first again if he wins the toss.
"Unless the wicket is extremely green, personally I find it hard to send a team in," Clarke said.