One-day form keeps Ashes hopes alive November 3, 2006

Bracken in the mix for Gabba Test

Cricinfo staff



Ricky Ponting says Nathan Bracken has not been labelled a one-day specialist © Getty Images

Nathan Bracken has bowled himself back into contention for the first Ashes Test with a solid performance in the Champions Trophy. Bracken has seven wickets in the tournament - second only to Glenn McGrath for Australia - and has thrown his name into the mix for the third Ashes fast-bowling place, which many believed was down to Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark.

Bracken took 2 for 36 in the semi-final against New Zealand including the vital wicket of Stephen Fleming and earned praise from Ricky Ponting. "I'm sure his name will come up," Ponting told The Age. "We all know the ball is going to swing a bit in Brisbane, and he took his best Test figures in that game up there last year. He's bowling well. He certainly hasn't been pigeon-holed as a one-day player."

The former fast bowler Geoff Lawson said Bracken had shown enough at the Champions Trophy to suggest Johnson was not the only left-armer who could offer Australia variety. "Johnson is supposedly an express quick, but he's been bowling at around 135kph. He's not quick," Lawson said in The Courier-Mail. "Bracken was bowling at 125-130kph and getting it to swing considerably. I thought Bracken bowled very well and should definitely be in the mix for the Test."

The first Ashes Test will start on November 23 at the Gabba, the only ground where Bracken has played two Tests. Last year at Brisbane, Bracken claimed 4 for 48 including the key wickets of Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. In 2003-04 he dismissed Virender Sehwag in each innings of the Gabba Test.

Ian Chappell has also pushed for the selectors to consider Bracken.

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