Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney January 1, 2007

Dalrymple in line for Test debut

Jamie Dalrymple: a Test candidate © Getty Images
Middlesex's offspinning allrounder, Jamie Dalrymple, is in line for an Ashes debut at Sydney tomorrow, as England seek to avert their first Ashes whitewash for 86 years. Dalrymple, who has impressed in his 14 ODI appearances to date, was drafted into the Test squad as a replacement for Ashley Giles, who flew home during the third Test at Perth after a family illness.

The SCG is a venue that traditionally favours the spinners, and with England's tail in need of some bolstering after their limp displays in the first four Tests, Dalrymple is an ideal candidate for promotion. He averages 36.02 in first-class cricket with a highest score of 244, and England's captain, Andrew Flintoff, indicated that he was firmly in the selectors' thoughts.

"Jamie is a good allround package and he's shown that in the one-dayers," said Flintoff. "He's performed well with the ball and got important runs. He's obviously a fine bowler and a capable batsman too. He's started his one-day international career well and when people do that they want to get into the Test side and develop their games. Jamie is no different - I'm sure he's got the attributes to do that."

If Dalrymple does play alongside Monty Panesar, it will be the first time that England have fielded two spinners in Australia since Eddie Hemmings partnered Phil Tufnell, also at Sydney, in 1990-91. "Historically this wicket has turned and two spinners have played on occasions," Flintoff added, "so he is someone who will come into the equation when we come to pick a side for the Test match."

Flintoff, who is on the verge of an unwelcome place in the history books, was adamant that - regardless of the result in this final match - England will emerge stronger and wiser for their experiences in this most chastising of winters.

"I'm sure everyone has learnt something about themselves that they can take on into their careers, into next summer and into 2009 when we next play Australia," said Flintoff. "Most of the lads in this side are still young enough to be involved, provided they are performing. They'll have learnt a hell of a lot on this trip and will take that into future Ashes series and future series."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo