Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 3rd 2014 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, January 3, 2014
SYDNEY---Australia captain Michael Clarke says
he s never seen more grass on a Sydney Cricket
Ground pitch and predicts it will suit a pace bowling
attack as the home side attempts to complete a 5-
0 Ashes sweep over England.
The state of the wicket could see fast-bowling all-
rounder James Faulkner included for the test beginning
today, possibly to replace middle-order batsman
George Bailey. It would be Australia s first change to
the starting XI in the series.
If Australia doesn t make any changes, it would be
just the fourth team to do that in a five-test series.
Only England against Australia in 1884-85, South
Africa against England in 1905-06 and the West
Indies against Australia in 1991 were able to retain
the same starting line-up in a five-Test series.
Clarke admitted it would be "extremely romantic"
to maintain the same team for the fifth consecutive
test, but said it wouldn t alter coach Darren Lehmann s
policy to pick the best XI for every match.
"If conditions turn out to be similar to what they
have been in the past four test matches then I think
selectors will go that way," Clarke said Thursday. "But
we certainly need to pick our best team to win this
Bailey has struggled in his debut test series, averaging
27.20 runs with just one half-century, while Faulkner
has a first-class bowling average of 142 wickets at 23.
One of Bailey s few bright spots was scoring 28
runs in one over---equalling the test record---off Eng-
land s Jimmy Anderson before Australia declared at
Perth. Faulkner, who has been 12th man for three of
the first four tests, has one Test cap, at The Oval in
the last Ashes series that England won 3-0.
Clarke said the pitch could be the deciding factor
on the lineup.
"It might whiten up a little bit but that is as much
grass as I have seen on an SCG pitch," he said. "It
feels pretty hard at the moment. Looking at it today
I think it will certainly suit the fast bowlers."
The only other likely changes to the Australia team
would come from injuries.
All-rounder Shane Watson injured his groin while
bowling during the Melbourne test and fast bowler
Ryan Harris has had knee and foot soreness throughout
the series. But both bowled in the team s final net
session on Thursday.
"I don t have any idea of the team at this stage,"
Clarke said. "We re waiting to see how the guys pull
up tomorrow (Friday) morning."
England captain Alastair Cook, meanwhile, said
there might be up to three changes in its starting
lineup for Sydney, but recalling dumped wicketkeeper
Matt Prior would not be among them.
Cook said former reserve wicketkeeper Jonny
Bairstow "deserves another chance" in what would
be only his second test and suggested that Prior
needed some time back at first-class level in England
to score runs.
"It s very difficult to come in for one Test, and he
is a very talented player," Cook said of Bairstow.
"Matty s numbers stack up very well, and he s a fan-
tastic player---you don t do that if you re not. But as
he said himself, he didn t deserve to carry on as a
Leg spinner Scott Borthwick, paceman Boyd Rankin
and Gary Ballance could make their test debuts in
the match to replace Monty Panesar, who has soreness
in his calf, Tim Bresnan and Michael Carberry.
"We need to assess Monty after training," Cook
said. "We can see how he pulls through and decide
either afterwards or tomorrow. You have to wait and
see with these injuries."
for fifth Test
Rogers dives to
field a ball
during a drill as
the team trains
at the Sydney
the Ashes series
4-0 with the
final match of
"It's very difficult to
come in for one test, and
he is a very talented
player," Cook said of
numbers stack up very
well, and he's a fantastic
player---you don't do
that if you're not. But as
he said himself, he didn't
deserve to carry on as a
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