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‘Not the time to give our bench a go’

With Australia looking to win the next two Tests and draw this Ashes,Clarke said that this wasn’t the time for testing his bench strength.

Written by Agencies | Chester-le-street |
August 9, 2013 3:57:37 am

Australia captain Michael Clarke said on Thursday that although England may have retained the urn with a draw in the third Test,there is still plenty to play for in this series.

With Australia looking to win the next two Tests and draw this Ashes,Clarke said that this wasn’t the time for testing his bench strength. “I don’t think anyone is here to ‘give them a go’. That’s not in any Test cricket and certainly not an Ashes series,especially the position we’re sitting in now,” Clarke said when he was asked if fast bowler Jackson Bird will be given a go. “It’s about picking your best 11.”

The Aussie skipper was also upbeat on Thursday about Ryan Harris’s prospects of featuring in the fourth Ashes Test starting Friday despite the paceman’s poor fitness record.

Harris took seven wickets in Australia’s crushing 347-run second Test defeat at Lord’s,including a first innings haul of five for 72,and four more at Old Trafford. However,only once in a 14-Test career blighted by injuries has the 33-year-old played in three successive Tests — and he broke down in the third of those matches,the 2010/11 Boxing Day clash against England,when he suffered an ankle injury.

Some positives

Clarke,though,said the fact Australia had little bowling to do on a rain-marred final day at Old Trafford would help Harris. “In my mind I’m confident Ryano will be fine,” Clarke said Thursday.

“Us not bowling on that last day because of the rain is definitely going to help our bowlers. “If he is (fit) I think he should definitely be selected. He’s a fantastic bowler,his record (58 Test wickets at 22.56) shows that,and I think we’ve seen throughout this series how important he is to our team.”

At Old Trafford,Australia promoted David Warner up the order to open in the second innings in place of Shane Watson. Clarke said he was happy to have flexibility in the batting order. “We’ve got options,” he said,talking about his openers,Warner,Chris Rogers,Ed Cowan and Watson. “We have got so many openers,which is a good problem to have.”

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