Sport Cricket Ryan Harris still under fitness cloud

Ryan Harris still under fitness cloud

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Australia have delayed naming a team for Friday’s third Ashes Test as paceman Ryan Harris battles an ongoing knee injury.

The 34-year-old bowled at full pace in the nets at the WACA on Thursday and skipper Michael Clarke said the veteran quick would be given every opportunity to prove his fitness.

Harris has a marvellous record of 79 wickets at 22.06 in 18 Tests.

However his history of injuries has meant he’s played only six of Australia’s 12 Tests in 2013.

Fellow pacemen Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile are on standby for Harris.

Pace-bowling allrounder James Faulkner, who was 12th man in the second Test in Adelaide, suffered a hand injury while batting in the nets on Thursday and was sent for scans.

Australia are pushing for a third consecutive win which would allow Clarke’s men to reclaim the Ashes in what would be a massive celebration for the 32-year-old skipper in his 100th Test.

“I don’t have a team at this stage,” Clarke told a news conference on Thursday.

“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.

“Ryan bowled today so we’re going to have to wait and see how he pulls up.

“I’m confident he’ll be fine.”

Clarke said Faulkner had suffered a nasty hit.

“Hopefully there’s no break there,” Clarke said.

Clarke’s captaincy has polarised fans in the past and there have been plenty of ups and downs including series defeats in India and England earlier in 2013.

The skipper said the team’s success remained his key focus going into his 100th Test.

“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.

“I’ll have my family coming which is extra special.

“With regards to being your 100th Test, it’s not a focus. There’s other reasons why this match is so special to me.”

Clarke admitted he was learning on the job as captain.

He said the off-field demands of the job had been enormous.

The WACA pitch is expected to provide strong assistance for the pace bowlers but Clarke said sending the struggling tourists in to bat was an unlikely option.

“Unless the wicket is extremely green, personally I find it hard to send a team in,” Clarke said.

Clarke said he expected England to recall paceman Tim Bresnan for his first Test of the series.

Likely Australia team: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.