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“I think his bowling’s going to be very handy, not just for taking wickets but also building pressure from one end”
Australia have retained the same team heading into the second Ashes Test, which gets underway on December 5, against England in Adelaide.
This is the first time Australia have kept the same team since their thrilling Test series against South Africa at the end of last year.
There was a lot of rumours and speculation surrounding the fact that all-rounder James Faulkner would replace Twenty20 captain George Bailey after his less than impressive performance on debut during the first Test in Brisbane.
However, instead of including another fast bowler in the squad, the national selectors felt that all-rounder Shane Watson would be sufficient enough in lending a helping hand to the Australian pace attack.
“It’s tough on James…but a nice position to be in to be honest, when the selectors hand you an unchanged team it’s positive for where the team’s at and how it performed in Brisbane,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said. “I think they looked at the wicket and thought about the extra bowling option with James Faulkner in the team, but having Watto bowl who’s back to 100% being fit and capable of bowling in both innings is a real positive for the team.
“Watto’s overs we’ve seen through his career are crucial to this team and on good flat wickets like this. I think his bowling’s going to be very handy, not just for taking wickets but also building pressure from one end.”
It was also confirmed that Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile have been put on stand-by for the third Test in Perth due to the fact that the teams only get three days off.
Speaking about his ankle, Clarke said: “The ankle feels fine, I think not training yesterday gave me an extra day to make sure I was 100% today. I feel completely fine, so looking forward to tomorrow.”
Australia’s pace attack of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson are set to face a challenging task as the drop-in pitch in Adelaide will be nowhere near as fast and bouncy as the Gabba’s was.
Despite their 381-run win two weeks ago, Clarke stated that Australia cannot start celebrating just yet as there is still a long way to go.
He added that their Test record for the year is nothing to be proud of either.
“If you look at our Test record this year it’s certainly not something to brag about in terms of wins,” Clarke said. “But in saying that I think we take a lot of confidence out of Brisbane. The guys are very excited about there we’re at as a group, the type of cricket we’re playing, and most importantly the confidence individually, guys are scoring runs and taking wickets.
“There’s a lot of positives that have come out of not just Brisbane but the last six to eight months, our results certainly haven’t indicated that, but hopefully we showed that in the first Test and the players understand we have to be at our best over long periods of time to get back to where we want to be.”
Australia Squad: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, James Faulkner (12th man)