Clarke fit to play in Ashes opener, Bollinger out

Updated: 24 November 2010 17:14 IST

Vice-captain Michael Clarke has recovered sufficiently from a back injury to play for Australia in the Ashes opener against England at Gabba.

Clarke fit to play in Ashes opener, Bollinger out

Brisbane:

Vice-captain Michael Clarke has recovered sufficiently from a back injury to play for Australia in the Ashes opener against England starting Thursday at the Gabba.

"Just finished training and the back got through," Clarke wrote on his Twitter feed Wednesday. "Wake up ok tomorrow and I'm in."

The middle-order batsman injured his back playing for New South Wales in Sheffield Shield cricket earlier this month and only returned to training on Tuesday.

But Clarke, who has not missed playing a Test match despite a history of chronic back trouble, satisfied team management that he was fit enough to play out the five days of the first Test in Brisbane.

Welcoming his deputy's all-clear, captain Ricky Ponting said that left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger had been left out and would be released along with Clarke's standby Usman Khawaja to play for NSW in Perth this weekend.

"Michael Clarke has got through his work particularly well over the last couple of days," Ponting said.

"He had a long solid bat in the nets again today (Wednesday), against the bowlers and the coach, so he's come through pretty well."

Ponting said Clarke had undergone rigorous drills to prove that his mobility had returned.

"Clarke has done all his fielding today, so I don't think there is any risk at all with him," he said.

"It's a big game for us to go into the start of a series and we're going in without any cloud hanging over anybody.

"That was why he was asked to do as much batting as he could yesterday and why he had done as much batting today.

"We couldn't afford to leave any stone unturned as far as his preparation was concerned or even testing him out doing different things, so he's done all the work he's been asked."

Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle will spearhead Australia's bowling attack in the first Test.

"Dougie (Bollinger) will be the unlucky quick to miss out," Ponting said.

"It's probably his lack of bowling over the last few weeks that has been as much to do with it.

"When this bowling attack was together last time it had good success in South Africa and at different times in England in the last series.

"So we feel that Hilfenhaus and Siddle are very much advanced in their preparation for this series and Johnson has got a lot of cricket under his belt as well.

"We feel this attack has enough to take us 20 wickets at the Gabba."

Australia - Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Mike Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle.



Topics : Cricket England Australia
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