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Peter English at New Road
July 3, 2009
Steve Harmison does not expect to be lining up in Cardiff on Wednesday despite heaping doubt on the opener Phillip Hughes and picking up six Australian wickets in Worcester. Harmison removed Hughes for the second time in the match with a lifting delivery at his body and also snuffed Ricky Ponting's hopes of a long warm-up when he was caught driving for 15.
However, he believes he won't fit into England's plans for the first Test and predicts the selectors will go with two spinners. "I've made it difficult for [Hughes], I made it difficult for everybody," he said after taking 2 for 36. "I made it difficult for the selectors, to pick me for Cardiff. I don't think they will pick me, it seems they are going to play two spinners. To pick me, I just don't fit in."
He is prepared to head back to Durham and keep pounding away in the hope of being recalled for the second match. "If I don't get in for Lord's I try to get in whenever they need me," he said. "They know I'm fit, they know I'm back and cause Australia problems. They know what I'm about, it's up to them if they want to pick me. If they don't pick me, they are winning the series."
England now start the Ashes having seen a serious flaw in the short-ball play of Hughes, the 20-year-old opener with three Tests' experience. Harmison worked Hughes out over the wicket on the opening day and on Friday forced him to glove to second slip in an ugly manner from around the wicket.
"I have put loads of doubt in him [Hughes], I imagine I've put doubt in a lot of the batsmen's minds," he said. "But it don't count for anything come next Wednesday.
"I imagine you'll see Phillip Hughes testing himself against the bowling machine, trying to put things right that haven't gone for him this game. He's not a mug, he's a good player. England have to not get carried away and bowl too many short balls at him. There's a difference between me bowling short balls and other people bowling short balls because the lengths do vary."
Harmison said the Australians were not as confident as in previous series and he believes England will be too strong over the next two months. "This side is good enough to win the Ashes," he said. "On paper what happened here doesn't count for anything, it's what happens in the next 30-odd days of Ashes cricket. Who really wants it the most and who can handle the pressure the most. That will be the side that wins the Ashes."
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